If I had to describe my dream car, it would not be a pickup. I don’t have to ferry tools from one place to another, nor am I an avid mountain biker. But, if you do have to move large volumes of goods around, for business or pleasure, you could do a lot worse than considering keeping an L200 in your garage.
The L200 test drive had been planned for some time. The hope was that when we picked it up there would be some snow around as it’s been said to be a fun vehicle to drive in such conditions. As luck would have it, when collection day arrived, a flurry of snow blew in, and we had the chance to use it in 4-wheel-drive over the next few days.
The aesthetics of the test car are appealing: a nice dark metallic green paint job set the stylish double-cab body off nicely. The L200 can come with an optional hard-top over the flat bed at the back, but it looks better without it. Just behind the second row of seats is a chrome plated roll bar and a black leather cover served to keep any contents stored in the flat bed safe and dry. I hadn’t expected to like this car very much. Funny how a few days can change a man’s mind.
The interior of the new L200 is kitted out with what was once deemed to be luxury, but is now fairly standard trim. There are heated seats and a rear-view camera screen for reversing (this is necessary as it’s a long car and rear visibility is restricted) as well as cruise and other controls set into the steering wheel. It is, once inside, not a pickup truck, not a workhorse, but a comfortable yet rugged family car.
Pulling on to the road, the 2.5 litre turbo diesel engine lets you know it is not a slouch. When the car is in 2WD mode a quick dab on the accelerator will get you pulling hard up any hill climb. With the snow, better to slip the transmission into 4WD (done effortlessly, a twist of a small dial is all it takes) and then this beast transforms into a different kind of proposition all together – it feels truly gripped to the road, sure-footed, and able to conquer anything. This car is not just a great choice for Kyiv’s winter weather, it’s also a very good choice for overcoming Kyiv’s as-yet unresolved road condition issues. Better known as potholes.
If your lifestyle requires you to have a car that can conquer anything; if you’re the kind of family who needs to throw a mountain of water toys into a vehicle for a family day at the beach or carry five mountain bikes and five mountain bikers to some woody trails, this is the kind of car you need. Honest, unpretentious, go-anywhere, and stylish at the same time.
What’s On Rating
Stats for the Boys
Low-range gearbox and differential lock for the tough spots
Get up to 2 265 mm of length load bay depending on the cab chosen
Pulls strong through all gears with no turbo lag
Pros for the Girls
Single or double cab available – great for family trips or hauling the girls up to the mountains for a weekend away
Well-priced pick-up that offers the practicality of an SUV and the pragmatism of a pick-up
The simple rotary dial for the four-wheel drive system is placed handily behind the gear-knob and allows for easy switching between the different driving systems