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Exclusive: we drive a Volvo V90 police car

Volvo police carVolvo has form with police cars. Sure, your local bobby probably runs around in an Astra, while an unmarked BMW 5 Series is able to put the frights up any daring company car driver pounding up a motorway at 90mph. But the Swedish car firm has been making police cars since 1929 – and selling them to the British police since the 1960s.

Today, there are around 400 Volvo police cars on UK roads. The vast majority of these are V70 armed response vehicles or traffic cars. But, as the V70 is no longer produced, that could be about to change…

Volvo V90 police carVolvo V90 police car

Yes, say hello to the Volvo V90 police car. Here it is in Swedish livery, being tested on a frozen lake somewhere in the Northern Circle at a top secret military base. We say ‘tested’, that’s actually our man living out a childhood dream of driving a police car. On a frozen lake. Mostly sideways.

What’s the point of that?Volvo V90 police car

It’s not all in the name of fun and frolics. Honestly. Volvo’s test drivers spend at least 500 hours putting the latest police cars through their paces in hot and cold climates. The logic goes that if it can survive being driven hard in temperatures way below zero degrees, a pursuit through Bradford’s housing estates won’t phase it.

What’s under the bonnet?Volvo V90 police car

Under the bonnet of this V90 – and, indeed, all V90 police cars for now – is a standard four-cylinder D5 diesel engine. The twin-turbo unit produces 235hp and, before all the extra weight of the police equipment is added, propels the V90 to 62mph in 6.9 seconds.

What’s different, then?Volvo V90 police car

All Volvo V90 police cars are start off as standard cars, taken from the production line at the same point ordinary models are shipped off to dealers. But, rather than being loaded onto a transporter, police-cars-to-be are taken around the back of Volvo’s factory in Torslanda, near Gothenburg, and modified by the special vehicles division.

And what happens next?Volvo V90 police car

Here, a special team of converters spend around six days turning it into a cop car. A special boot frame is fitted to cope with all the gear carried by traffic officers (and prevent it flying forwards in the case of a rear-end shunt), while brakes are upgraded to help bring the heavyweight V90 to a stop. The suspension also gets upgraded, with a 300mm lift and firmer dampers. The wheels are replaced by XC90 alloys.

Is anything done in the UK?Volvo V90 police car

Once police cars arrive in the UK, they’re sent to one of a small number of specialist converters where the finishing touches are put in place. The correct radio is fitted, for example, while British ‘battenburg’ livery is applied to make it stand out.

Why are they so close to standard?Volvo V90 police car

Police cars are generally bought outright rather than leased, so police forces want to be able to get as much of their investment as possible back when it comes to resale time. As such, once you remove the kit fitted by Volvo’s special vehicles workshop, the V90 looks like pretty much any other model.

It looks rather luxurious insideVolvo V90 police car

Inside, it’s exactly as you’d expect a high-spec V90 to be. Leather seats are fitted (they wear better than cloth and are easy to wipe down), while the standard infotainment system is left in place (the aftermarket computer system that controls the blues and twos, as well as having its own sat-nav feature, is hinged to cover the standard system but can easily be lifted up).

Does it have holes in the roof?Volvo V90 police car

You used to be able to spot an ex-police car by holes in its roof where the lights were fitted. That’s not the case any more… everything is flush mounted, and cabling for the LED roof lights runs through the roof bars. All this helps when the police car has to be sold after retirement.

How long do forces keep police cars?Volvo V90 police car

Traditionally, forces would keep traffic cars for a maximum of three years and 100,000-150,000 miles. Now, budget cuts dictate that forces must keep hold of them for longer – as much as five years and several hundred thousand miles – so they need to be pretty robust.

How often are police cars serviced?Volvo V90 police car

Most police forces have their own workshop for routine servicing, which is carried out regularly, while some even invest in diagnostic equipment to enable more serious work to be carried out. Obviously, under routine police work the cars can be damaged fairly regularly – and for bodywork they’re usually returned to a local Volvo dealer.

What other challenges do forces face?Volvo V90 police car

Over the last eight or so years, all traffic cars have been diesel, with police forces keen to save money on fuel. As diesel becomes a naughty word and police need to be seen to be doing their bit, we could see a shift towards petrol or hybrid police cars. Indeed, with a plug-in hybrid T8 V90 on its way, it’d be fair to assume these might be pressed into police duty.

What about driverless tech?Volvo V90 police car

Volvo is big on autonomous technology, and safety systems such the firm’s City Safety automatic emergency braking could prove to be problematic. If a car will do everything in its power to prevent a collision, how do police carry out tactical stops that involve making contact with other vehicles? Fortunately, for now, the technology can be turned off…

And in the future?Volvo V90 police car

Who knows? Police cars are a tiny part of what Volvo does, so it won’t hold back on developing its driverless features for those rare occasions when traffic officers need to take control. Will we see driverless police cars? “Cars will outskill even police drivers,” Volvo’s special vehicles chief, Ulf Rydne, told us.

Will we see Volvo V90 police cars on UK roads?Volvo V90 police car

There are a few hoops Volvo has to jump through before we’ll see V90 police cars on the roads. It needs to be added to the Home Office framework, which means it’s approved for UK police forces. But as Swedish police have already tested the V90 and given it a 9.2/10 rating – higher than any other car ever – it’s unlikely that it won’t be approved in the UK. We ought to see V90 police cars patrolling our motorways by the end of 2017.

Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road TestWant bigger biceps without paying for gym membership? Ford has the car for you. Its new ST-Line models offer pumped-up looks without high fuel and insurance bills. More mouth and less trouser, if you will.

ST-Line is available on the Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and Kuga and replaces the old Zetec S trim level. As well as racier styling inside and out, you get bespoke alloy wheels and 10mm lower suspension. We tried the Focus 1.5 TDCi diesel in suitably sporty Race Red. Has any of that fast Ford magic rubbed off on this otherwise humble hatch?

Prices and dealsFord Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

The current Mk3 Ford Focus has been around since 2011, albeit with a facelift in 2014. As one of Britain’s best-sellers and a perennial fleet favourite, it’s not a car you should pay anything close to full price for. Discounts of 25% or more aren’t uncommon if you shop around – and that includes ST-Line versions.

At the time of writing, ‘reverse auction’ website AutoeBid was offering the Focus 1.5 TDCi ST-Line hatchback – similar to the car in our photos – for £15,229. That’s more than 28% below the list price of £21,295.

What are its rivals?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

The Focus competes in the heartland of what car-industry types call the ‘C-segment’. As such, its rivals include some very familiar names: the Volkswagen Golf, Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra and Mazda 3 to list but a few.

Like the Focus, and the Peugeot pictured, many competitors also come as estate cars. Most also offer a ‘semi-sporting’ trim level to rival ST-Line. Peugeot has its GT Line models, for example.

What engine does it use?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

You can buy an ST-Line Focus with one of five different engines. The petrol line-up starts with the hugely popular 125hp 1.0-litre Ecoboost, then the 1.5 Ecoboost in 150hp or 182hp outputs. If you prefer diesel, there’s the 120hp 1.5 TDCi tested here, plus a 150hp 2.0 TDCi.

The most powerful petrol and diesel engines are only available with a manual gearbox – all others can be specified with an auto.

How fast?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

It might boast deeper bumpers and a sizeable rear spoiler, but a 120hp diesel engine doth not a hot hatch make. The 1.5 TDCi hits 62mph in 10.5 seconds and has a top speed of 120mph. Compare that to 8.1 seconds and 135mph for the ‘proper’ ST diesel – or 6.5 seconds and 154mph for the ST petrol.

Nonetheless, ‘our’ Focus doesn’t feel slow. With maximum torque from 1,750rpm, there’s enough mid-range muscle for brisk overtaking. Its smooth, but not particularly quiet.

Is it comfortable?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

ST-Line cars sit 10mm closer to the ground on slightly stiffer suspension. Without driving one back-to-back with a regular Focus, we struggled to tell the difference. Suffice to say, the ST-Line still offers a good compromise between responsiveness and refinement.

Inside, sports seats look the part, but won’t hug your hips like a pair of ST-spec Recaros. Look closely and you’ll also spot an ST gearknob, aluminium-faced pedals and a smattering of red go-faster stripes. Fancy.

Will I enjoy driving it?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

The Focus has always been a family car for people who actually like driving. And while the latest model isn’t a dynamic benchmark like the 1998 original, it’s still an engaging and entertaining steer. Proof you don’t need a hot hatch to have fun, in other words.

Drop the kids off, find a quiet B-road and take time to appreciate the Ford’s taut chassis, direct steering and confidence-inspiring brakes. It feels poised and precise – without sacrificing long-distance comfort.

Fuel economy and running costsFord Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

Here’s the good bit. Behind all that Race Red, ST-branded attitude is an engine that emits a tax-free 99g/km of CO2, plus official fuel economy of 74.3mpg. Interestingly, the figures for the estate version are exactly the same, although you’ll pay an £1,100 premium for the bigger boot.

It’s worth remembering that ST-Line trim costs £1,250 more than the default Focus Zetec, however. That’s the price of style.

What’s the interior like?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

Those ST-Line additions give the Ford’s interior a useful lift, but there’s no escaping the slightly cheap plastics and fussy design. The general ambiance is no better than an equivalent Hyundai or Kia – and some way behind the rival Volkswagen Golf.

You won’t have any problems getting comfortable, though. The driving position offers a wide range of adjustment and all controls are within easy reach. The chunky, three-spoke steering wheel gets a thumbs-up from us, too.

Is it practical?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

Unlike previous models, the Mk3 Focus hatchback only comes with five doors, so access to the rear seats isn’t an issue. There’s ample room for children (with standard Isofix mountings for child car seats), but taller adults may lament the lack of legroom.

The Focus hatch certainly isn’t as practical a crossover, such as the Nissan Qashqai. Boot space is 316 litres, or 1,215 litres with the rear seats folded. Compare that to 370/1,210 litres in the Astra and 380/1,270 litres in the Golf. Opt for the Focus Estate, however, and capacity swells to 476/1,502 litres.

Tell me about the techFord Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

Before its mid-life facelift, the Focus dashboard was a veritable button-fest, not unlike an old mobile phone. Now there’s a neat colour touchscreen, which is located high on the dashboard, easily within the driver’s line of sight. It’s straightforward to use, with bold, bright graphics and intuitive sub-menus.

It’s certainly worth paying £300 for Ford’s Sync2 navigation system. We’d also fork out £225 for rear parking sensors, although the £250 rear-view camera seems like overkill. Bluetooth phone connectivity is standard across the Focus range.

What about safety?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

The Focus scored a full five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. Standard safety equipment includes six airbags and electronic stability control.

We think Active City Stop (an automatic emergency braking system) is well worth an extra £200. Alternatively, you could simply upgrade to the £550 Driver Assistance Pack, which includes Active City Stop, plus lane-assist, automatic headlights and wipers, traffic-sign recognition and a driver alertness monitor.

Which version should I go for?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

What we’re really asking here is ‘Should I go for ST-Line?’. And, without wanting to sit on the proverbial fence, the answer really depends on your priorities. For the same money (starting from £20,595), you could have a Focus in Titanium-spec, which comes with front foglights, Active City Stop, rear parking sensors and automatic lights/wipers – all extra-cost options on the ST-Line. However, you’d do without the sporty bodykit and lower suspension.

Then again, the Focus Zetec offers all the features you really need for around £1,700 less. You pays your money…

What’s the used alternative?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

The obvious used equivalent to a new Focus ST-Line is the outgoing Focus Zetec S. This model has been around since late 2011, so there are cars in the classifieds to suit most budgets. The Zetec S came with a bodykit, 17-inch alloy wheels and suspension that was 28% stiffer than the standard car. Some also had part-leather seats.

Us? We’d be tempted to put any money saved upfront towards the (hefty) fuel bills for a full-fat Focus ST.

Should I buy one?Ford Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

Everybody loves a fast Ford. And while the Focus ST-Line isn’t technically, um, fast, it looks the part. For many, that will be reason enough to buy one.

Importantly, ST-Line trim doesn’t detract from the Focus’s traditional strengths: agile handling, decent comfort and practicality, and an attractive price-tag (especially after discount). If you’re in the market for a C-segment car, it should definitely be on your shortlist.

Pub factFord Focus ST-Line: Two-Minute Road Test

Ford first used its iconic RS badge in 1968, but the ST name didn’t appear until 1997. The Mondeo ST24 (pictured) had a 170hp 2.5-litre V6 and a bulbous bodykit. It lasted for just two years, before being replaced by the 200hp Mondeo ST200 in 1999.

ST versions of the Fiesta and Focus followed soon after, with the high-point of the saga being the latest Fiesta ST: one of the greatest hot hatches ever made.

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

PSA Peugeot Citroen has revealed the exact methods it uses to calculate real-world fuel economy figures across its range.

The company announced real-world figures for 30 cars across its range earlier in the year, and has said it plans to reveal 20 more by the end of the year.

It’s part of a move to appear more transparent, with PSA being one of a number of manufacturers blaming the official NEDC fuel economy test for generating unachievable MPG figures.

Why is the official NEDC test to blame for unachievable fuel economy figures?

The New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) fuel economy test is used to calculate official MPG and CO2 figures for all new cars on sale in Europe.

The test is split into two sections: urban and extra-urban cycles. The first test, the urban cycle, covers a stop/start journey of 2.5 miles at an average speed of 12mph, intended to be representative of driving through a congested town or city. The car starts off cold and touches a maximum top speed of 31mph.

After this test, the now warmed-up car is put through the extra-urban cycle. This covers a distance of 4.3 miles at an average speed of 39mph.

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

The CO2 and fuel economy results for each cycle are then combined to provide the official CO2 and fuel economy figures quoted by manufacturers.

However, the official test has been criticised by consumers and car manufacturers alike. Carried out on a rolling road, it’s not influenced by real-life conditions such as other traffic, weather conditions and driving styles.

Developed before hybrid and electric vehicles were commonplace, it also produces extremely unrealistic fuel economy and CO2 figures for cars such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. As the test takes place when the plug-in hybrid Outlander is freshly charged, it covers most of it under electric power, hence the Outlander’s official 156.9mpg. When the Outlander’s short electric-only range runs out, its real-life fuel economy will be much lower than this figure.

So what’s Peugeot Citroen doing about it?

PSA Peugeot Citroen has announced that, along with the official NEDC tests (a European requirement), it will conduct real-world fuel economy tests across its range, and publish its findings.

To carry out the tests, the car manufacturer is working with environmental organisation Transport & Environment. It tests cars in real-world conditions, stipulating that ambient temperatures must be ‘normal’ (not too hot or too cold), while a set route should be followed.

During the test, 22.8km (14.2 miles and 24.7% of the total distance) must take place in urban areas; 39.6km (24.6 miles and 42.9% of the total distance) on rural roads; and 29.9km (18.6 miles and 32.4% of the total distance) on motorways.

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

Tyres must be inflated to ‘normal’ pressures and the driver should ideally not be a trained driver. The car should be driven exactly as a customer would, with all speed limits adhered to and typical acceleration for the type of car.

The test also requires at least one passenger being carried in the car, with the climate control being set to 21°C.

Transport & Environment’s clean vehicles director, Greg Archer, said: “The real-world test developed with PSA Group provides full transparency towards customers and more representative information to drivers than the new laboratory test, helping them choose the most fuel-efficient cars. This scientific approach is robust, reproducible and reliable in measuring real carbon emissions.

“We urge the European Commission and all carmakers to use this test for regulatory and advertising purposes,” he added.

What are the results of PSA’s real world tests?

So far, 30 Peugeot Citroen models have completed the test, with most averaging around 20mpg below the official NEDC figure. Here’s an example of models tested, with another 20 set to be announced before the end of 2016.

Car Real MPG NEDC MPG Difference
Peugeot 108 1.2 PureTech 82 46.30 65.69 19.39
Peugeot 308 1.6 BlueHDi 120 57.65 88.28 30.63
Peugeot 508 2.0 BlueHDi 180 44.84 70.62 25.78
Citroen C3 Picasso BlueHDi 100 49.56 74.34 24.78
Citroen C4 Cactus PureTech 110 46.31 65.69 19.38
DS4 PureTech 110 52.31 74.34 22.03
Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V long-term review: update

Honda HR-VTwo interesting missives relating to the Honda arrived in February. The first was that Automotive Management magazine had voted the HR-V its 2016 New Car of the Year. The accolade commended the “coupe-like looks, impressive practicality, efficient engines and keen pricing”.

I am not surprised. The ever-popular crossover sector of the new car market seems to have no limit to its growth, and Honda’s canny entry – sitting below its cavernous CR-V – hits the nail on the head for those looking for something a bit more compact.

The big deal, as I have already found out, is the impressive interior volume, which means there’s little loss of space compared with many outwardly larger rivals.

I also spoke to another journalist who is running an identical HR-V for a number of months. She commented on her disappointment with the fuel economy. That surprised me because that same day, driving 60 miles to Farnborough airport, the trip computer told me I had achieved 70mpg through the steady but slow roadworks that blighted the journey.

But I hadn’t carried out a proper tank-to-tank measurement for some time so I checked that a day later. Sure enough, it was still firmly in the 55-60mpg range over a full tank, although that was a few mpg less than the computer claimed. But I’ll forgive it, as the difference was less than 5%.

Highly rated by owners

Honda HR-V

The second notification was from Honda, directing me to the review site ‘Reevoo’. Here, more than 350 owners of HR-Vs had posted their opinions of ownership and it made for fascinating reading. What they love are the ‘Magic’ rear seats that flip up or down to vary cargo space as you choose, along with the space, high driving position and easy driving nature.

Apart from the seats, these characteristics are what you’d expect in most crossovers and SUVs, but it does seem that Honda has gone a bit further than most in raising the bar.

Perhaps too far in some areas. Many of these owners reflect my view that the satellite-navigation-cum-media-centre is wilfully overcomplicated. Also, they note that there’s not enough oddment stowage space within reach of the driver, the tailgate doesn’t open high enough, and a fair few bemoan the fact that there is no spare wheel (which, of course, helps boost boot space).

I can understand these viewpoints, but despite the moans the HR-V gets some very strong overall ratings on Reevoo, something I find hard to argue with. Still, I do wish that I could get my Samsung phone fully linked in so I could make use of the ‘Aha app integration’. I am very curious to know just what this does.

Time for a trip to a Honda dealer, I reckon. Because, like HR-V owners, I find the handbook is simply too large and impenetrable.

2015 Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX manual

Price: £24,495 (October 2015)

Price with options: £25,470 (metallic paint £525)

Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel

Power: 120hp

Torque: 221lb ft

0-62mph: 10.5 secs

Top speed: 119mph

Fuel economy: 68.9mpg

CO2: 104g/km

Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V long-term review: update

Honda HR-V

It’s the end of January and there’s still no snow in the south-east of England. That will probably please a lot of crossover owners, because, despite the styling, their cars will be no better than a regular family hatchback when it comes to dealing with the white stuff.

The HR-V is not even offered with four-wheel drive in the UK, which is a reflection of where Honda sees the real demand. It’s far more about style and space than off-road prowess, although a decent set of winter tyres will surely still see this compact crossover navigate itself out of most slippery situations.

I left the HR-V at Stansted airport for a few days last week, using my usual meet-and-greet service. It seems to be the same as valet parking, except you have to walk a few yards more to get into the terminal – and it’s more wallet-friendly.

The Honda, of course, disappears off to a distant car park, to be retrieved a few hours before my flight lands. This time I kept a note of the mileage and I reckon it hadn’t travelled further than one side of the drop-off-zone to the other. Yet it’s always worth doing a walk around to check for damage, as once you’ve left the airport, you are on your own.

Honda HR-V

I have this theory that, in winter, diesel fuel is less calorific than in the summer months. The fuel companies add an anti-waxing agent to prevent diesel from thickening up in low temperatures, and in my experience this goes hand-in-hand with worsening economy. That’s certainly the case with our personal 2.0-litre Kia Sportage, but with the Honda the difference seems to be marginal.

I guess that fact that the economy is now more commonly mid-fifties than high-fifties isn’t really much of a reason to worry. It means the HR-V diesel still an amazingly economical vehicle, and with fuel currently at 97.9p for a gallon, it’s makes for very cheap motoring.

Specification: 2015 Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX manual

Price (October 2015): £24,495

Price with options: £25,470 (metallic paint £525)

Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel

Power: 120hp

Torque: 221lb ft

0-62mph: 10.5 secs

Top speed: 119mph

Fuel economy: 68.9mpg

Mitsubishi L200

Mitsubishi L200: Two-Minute Road Test

Mitsubishi L200

Mitsubishi L200: What is it?

This is the fifth generation of Mitsubishi’s rough-n-ready L200. It’s a double-cab pick-up with five seats and a lengthy loadbed. Prices start at £23,700, although that drops to less than £20,000 excluding VAT for business users. Oddly, the old, fourth-generation L200 remains on sale as a budget alternative. It’s priced from £19,800 (£16,500 excluding VAT) for the double-cab version.

Mitsubishi L200: What are its rivals?

The L200’s rivals include (clockwise from top) the Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok and Ssangyong Korando Sports. The Nissan and VW offer sophistication on par with many passenger cars, although neither is cheap to buy. The Toyota is showing its age now, but viewers of Top Gear will know all about its reputation for being indestructible. And the budget-priced Ssangyong is rather agricultural to drive.

04_Mitsubishi_L200

Mitsubishi L200: Which engines does it use?

Only one a 2.4-litre diesel that produces 153hp in the entry-level L200 4Life and 180hp in all other models. We sampled the 180hp engine in the top-spec Barbarian, which lopes to 62mph in 10.4 seconds and tops out at 111mph. As you’d expect, there’s plenty of torque for towing. Peak pulling power of 317lb ft arrives at a lowly 2,500rpm.

Mitsubishi L200: What’s it like to drive?

We could use the cliché and tell you the L200 is ‘car-like’ to drive. However, that wouldn’t be entirely true. Yes, it’s decently refined and the steering feels accurate and well-weighted. But there’s still a fair amount of body-roll when cornering and the ride is decidedly bouncy – thank the old-school leaf-spring rear suspension. That’s not to say the Mitsubishi is at all unpleasant. Just don’t expect this truck to drive exactly like a car.

06_Mitsubishi_L200

Mitsubishi L200: Fuel economy and running costs

Economy is one of the L200’s key strengths. The 153hp engine returns 44.1mpg, while the 180hp version manages 42.8mpg. Opt for the five-speed automatic gearbox and the latter figure is 39.2mpg, which is still class-leading for a large, double-cab pick-up. Mitsubishi offers a decent five-year/62,500-mile warranty, too.

Mitsubishi L200: Is it practical?

And talking of key strengths, practicality is really what the L200 is all about. Its loadbed capacity is on par with rivals and maximum payload is 1,050kg – more than enough for a few bags of cement. Hook up a braked trailer and you can tow 3,100kg; caravans, horseboxes or boats shouldn’t pose a problem. If you plan to use the L200 as a family car, there is a wide range of aftermarket truck-tops available to cover and secure the loadbed.

07_Mitsubishi_L200

Mitsubishi L200: What about safety?

The L200 hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP. However, it comes with a good range of safety kit, including seven airbags and electronic stability control to prevent skidding. The latter system incorporates Trailer Stability Assist, to prevent a towed trailer from destabilising the truck.

Mitsubishi L200: Which version should I go for?

You need a amount of bravado to drive a truck with ‘Barbarian’ written down the side. For that reason alone, we’d steer clear of the top-spec L200. Its tacky ‘plastic chrome’ adornments only serve to seal the deal. The 4Life feels a little basic, so we’d go for the second-tier Titan. It comes with air conditioning, xenon headlamps, 17-inch alloys, tinted glass and a DAB radio.

08_Mitsubishi_L200

Mitsubishi L200: Should I buy one?

This is certainly one of the strongest contenders in its class. For many buyers, its low running costs will make it their top choice. If you’re buying an L200 instead of a car, you may be disappointed – its rugged roots are still evident. But judged as a pick-up, it is definitely worth consideration. Few vehicles offer so much all-round capability for the cash.

Mitsubishi L200: Pub fact

During the 1980s, the L200 was sold in America as the Mighty Max. We can’t help wishing that Mitsubishi would reintroduce the name for the UK. A ‘Mighty Max Barbarian’ – now there’s a thought…