What is it?
Mitsubishi’s L200 Barbarian SVP is the first limited edition model to be created by their new Special Vehicle Projects programme, and was based on a totally unique L200 that was developed between Mitsubishi and Top Gear magazine. ‘Project Swarm’ as it was named was created in the style of a ‘Pre-Runner’ off-road vehicle for ‘pre-run’ stages of off-road desert racers.
Buying an SVP doesn’t mean you just get a fancy badge, oh no, it’s stacked with special additions from a premium leather interior, aggressive over-sized wheel arch extensions to a limited edition vehicle number & SVP logo stitched into headrest.
On the road
The L200 has always been a favourite of mine, as you can read here. From long monotonous motorway journeys, to tight and twisty Welsh B roads, the L200 never fails to put a smile on my ugly mush! To be be honest, you can read my previous article and get the gist of what the SVP is like to drive.
The L200 double cab is quite a long vehicle therefore there’s no pitching on undulating roads. It obviously handles better with a load in the back, but all pick-ups do.
Mechanically the SVP is the same as a standard L200, it has the same 178bhp 4-cylinder diesel under the bonnet and packs 430Nm of torque, which isn’t shabby. Be aware though, the SVP is shod with BFG All-Terrains and at times can be a bit skittish on damp roads, although the traction control does a great job of keeping things under control.
During our week together the UK felt the remnants of hurricane Ophelia, and I was genuinely surprised how good the L200 was in crosswinds. The L200’s sleek body seemed to cut its way through the turbulent wind like a hot knife through butter, especially high up on the M62.
One thing worth mentioning is the 6-speed automatic ‘box with paddles as it really suits the L200, both on and off-road.
Road noise? Yeah there’s some, but let’s not forget that the L200 is still a working vehicle and it’s never obtrusive. We drove to deepest Wales and around the Derbyshire, I forget how many miles we did in total, but every one of them was in comfort.
The L200 has always been a capable 4x4, and like any ‘off-roader’, tyres make’th, and with the addition of BFG’s formidable All-Terrain, it’s even better.
If there’s one criticism to be made, it was by a friend of mine who uses 4x4s for towing. He said that it’s a shame that you can only engage the L200 in low ratio with the centre diff locked, this means that when he’s reversing trailers into ridiculous positions on tarmac, he has to use high ratio, which isn’t always helpful.
Overall though the L200 drove where ever I pointed it, I wouldn’t say I challenged it by driving along some gnarly green lanes, but not once did it hesitate.
Not forgetting its purpose in life as a working truck, the L200 still has a plastic dash and trim, but there’s also an elegance to it. Is elegance the right word? Not sure, but it’s comfortable and packed with extras including sat-nav, climate control, blue LED ambient lighting and lane departure warning.
Although Muddy Madam moaned on occasions that she felt she was ‘rolling’ off her passenger seat, I didn’t have any such feelings. For me, the seats, which incidentally are covered in a premium leather were spot on, both for supportiveness and comfort.
On reflection, the L200 is probably the pick-up that I’ve driven the most over the years. It's been my firm favourite, and the SVP didn’t disappoint.
At £30,633 (+ VAT), for the 6-speed manual, the SVP is around £4,000 more than the standard Barbarian, however, you get a lot of truck for the money and plenty of kit that you have to pay extra for with other pick-ups.