Barbarian. n. An uncivilised person, rough and raw.

It is unclear what Mitsubishi’s L200 pickup did to deserve this unwarranted name, but never has a more inappropriate tag been attached to a vehicle.

Far from what you might expect, Mitsubishi’s latest entrant in the fiercely-competitive pickup sector, the Series 6, is anything but a rough and ready workhorse, delivering increased levels of comfort, refinement, efficiency and safety.

In the top-of-the-range Barbarian X specification driven here, it is more like a luxury saloon than a heavyweight hauler.

The quiet ride, nimble handling, indulgent interior touches and advanced technology can make you momentarily forget the sheer capability of this accomplished vehicle.

Its payload is higher than its predecessor at 1,075kg and now it can not only tow 3.5 tonnes, but also carry up to 625kg of payload at the same time.

With reduced body roll and larger tyres, the L200 has a surprisingly agile feel for such a big vehicle.

Power comes from a smaller 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, now with auto stop and go and AdBlue – a fluid made up of a mix of urea and deionized water which is squirted into the exhaust system to cut nitrous oxide emissions. The AdBlue tank is a whopping 21 litres, so it should only need to be filled during normal service intervals.

The test car was fitted with the new six-speed automatic transmission and the four-wheel-drive system has four new off-road 4x4 modes.

Externally, the Series 6 has a bold new, mightily aggressive front end, squared-off wheel arches, chunky bodywork flares and a new rear end with fresh metalwork and rear bumper.

Inside, the cabin has been given a real lift. The front seats have improved side bolstering and there are new seat materials and door inserts. Both front seats are also heated, a feature that so impressed my sister-in-law that it proved difficult to get her out of the car. The chunkier steering wheel was also heated on the test car.

The dashboard now has silver garnish on either side of the centre stack and there are new knee pads on the centre console for improved comfort in corners and when driving off-road.

Instrumentation is clear and includes a colour LCD display. There is improved storage room for smaller items, including front and rear smartphone trays, as well as new USB ports in the rear on Barbarian models.

The top-of-the-range Barbarian X version also comes with bespoke seat upholstery with matching door inserts and armrests, as well as special door entry-guards, LED ‘mood’ lighting and LED interior lights.

Safety features also rival those of upmarket cars, with everything from blind spot warning system, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision mitigation system and lane departure warning, to traction control and trailer stability assist.

Four cameras located in the front, rear and in the door-mirrors monitor the area around the vehicle and generate a bird’s eye view to highlight hidden obstacles, particularly handy when reversing.

Mitsubishi has a long history of building tough, reliable pickup trucks, stretching back more than 40 years, with more than 4.7 million sold worldwide.

And the L200, which is priced from £21,515, excluding VAT, remains a key model for Mitsubishi in the UK, accounting for about a third of its overall sales.

It is not hard to see why, with an increased payload and gross train weight, the Series 6 is an even more versatile pickup, yet more car-like to drive and run.

Auto facts

Model: Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian X Double Cab Diesel Auto

Price: £32,200 exc VAT

Insurance group: 37E

Fuel consumption (combined): 29.1mpg

Top speed: 106mph

Length: 530.5cm/208.3in

Width: 181.5cm/71.3in

Towing capacity: 3,500kg braked

Fuel tank capacity: 16.5 gallons/75 litres

CO2 emissions: 206g/km

Warranty: Five years/ 62,500 miles