The Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP II and Ford Ranger Wildtrak X were two of the most exciting exhibits at the 2018 Commercial Vehicle Show so we tested both alongside each other, on and off the road, to discover which beast is best.
Both models are limited editions; the SVP II to just 250 models and the Wildtrak X to 1,000. The changes to the Ranger are fairly modest compared to the L200 SVP II, which has been developed by Mitsubishi’s newly-created Special Vehicle Projects division.
Wildtrak X vs SVP II: Design
The wide-ranging modifications to the L200 SVP II make it stand out more than the Wildtrak X when we were out and about. The extended wheel-arches, orange detailing on the bumper, alloys and handles, combined with the BF Goodrich AT tyres of the SVP II turned far more heads than the glossy black grille and Performance Blue colour scheme of the Wildtrak X.
Both models are based on the top trim levels, and so benefit from a high-level of spec. The SVP III features electrically-folding and heated door mirrors, bi-xenon headlights and front fog lights as standard, while the Ranger just has standard halogen lights, but there is a standard Mountain Top tonneau cover.
Wildtrak X vs SVP II: Interior
On the inside, it’s a similar story with the L200’s orange interior lights and orange stitching in the seats creating a more distinctive feel, while – apart from the leather seats – there’s very little variation between the interior of the Wildtrak X and the standard Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
Other standard features on the L200 SVP II include the very comfortable ‘six-pack’ leather seats with that model’s individual limited-edition number, keyless entry and start, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation. The Ranger boasts a slightly larger 8.0-inch display which also includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation. Other standard features across both models include a rear parking camera, climate control, cruise control and front parking sensors.
Wildtrak X vs SVP II: On the Road
Under the bonnet of the Wildtrak X is the venerable 3.2-litre, five-cylinder Duratorq engine, producing up to 197bhp (3,000rpm) and 470Nm (1,500 to 2,750rpm), while the L200 is powered by the newer and smaller 2.4-litre MIVEC engine, capable of 178bhp (3,500rpm) and 430Nm (2,500rpm). The Wildtrak X is only available with a 6-speed automatic, while there is a choice between a 6-speed manual or 5-speed auto on the SVP II.
Despite the heavier chassis, the Ford Ranger comfortably beats the Mitsubishi L200 to 62mph (10.6 seconds v 11.8 seconds), although this is also partly down to the slow gear changes on the older 5-speed automatic on the L200 – manual versions are much faster.
Apart from the noisier engine and increased road-noise, the Wildtrak X comes out on top for driving characteristics. The engine and transmission are more responsive, the steering feels more connected and there’s less body roll going into the bends. The L200, however, offers better manoeuvrability with a 5.9-metre turning circle and a more commanding view of the road ahead from the driver’s seat.
Wildtrak X vs SVP II: Off Road
Off the road, it’s a different story. The Mitsubishi L200 definitely came out on top on the difficult terrain thanks to longer axle articulation, greater approach angle and responsive 4WD system (Super Select 2 with locking centre diff as standard).
While the Ranger has the greater approach angle and wading depth, the L200 felt more capable thanks to the lighter chassis (over 250kg difference between the two), tighter turning circle, shorter wheelbase and BF Goodrich AT tyres.
Wildtrak X vs SVP II: Loading and Towing
Few people will be grafting in these vehicles, but just in case you are the L200 SVP II has the better payload (1,050kg v 1,002kg) and both have the same industry-leading towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes. The Ranger can accommodate larger items, with the load area measuring 1,549mm long (1,520mm on the L200) by 1,560mm wide (1,470mm) and 511mm high side walls (475mm) and 1,139mm (1,080mm) between the wheel arches.
The load area lining is standard on both models and the SVP II’s load area is illuminated in distinctive orange lighting, although its Mountain Top roll cover is only an option (standard on the Wildtrak X).
Wildtrak X vs SVP II: Cost of Ownership
The SVP II and Wildtrak X are similarly priced at £29,830 and £30,945 (both excluding VAT) respectively. The Mitsubishi boasts the longer warranty at five years, or 62,500, against Ford’s three-year, 60,000-mile offering, better reliability (see our Pickup Reliability Survey results) and better fuel economy (39.8mpg against 32.1mpg).
Service intervals are longer on the Ranger at 20,000 miles or once annually, against the L200’s 12,500 mile or annual service. The residual values of the Ranger top the L200’s, too.
Wildtrak X vs SVP II: Verdict
We’ve decided to give this one to the Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian SVP II. Its outlandish looks turned a lot of heads and created a mixed response at Professional Pickup and 4×4 HQ, but it certainly became more palatable with time. The attention to detail, like the orange lighting in the cab and load area, makes the Wildtrak X alterations look rather subtle.
While the Ranger is more practical and has better road manners, the L200 has a better spec, is cheaper to run, has a more limited production run, is better off-road and is cheaper to buy.