Return of an old friend

Return of an old friend

After a virtual disappearance from the local market (despite still being on sale) over the last few years, the new Mitsubishi Triton is here … and it’s impressive! GAVIN MYERS drives it at the launch

It’s difficult for any brand to re-enter its market segment after not having had a presence for so long. Mitsubishi Motors South Africa is aware that it will have to work hard to regain customers in the South African bakkie market with its new Triton. It’s off to a very good start, however…

The new Triton has been engineered to meet the increasingly diverse needs of this segment – offering interior quality and comfort, versatility and durability, sophistication and economy. That’s no easy feat … so, how has Mitsubishi managed it?

In all, more than 185 improvements have been made over the new model’s likeable predecessor.

The new Triton impresses both off and on road. The wait has been long, but worth it.To begin with, the new Triton will be available only in double-cab guise (more variants will be introduced in time), offering both 4×2 and 4×4 (electronically selectable, with diff-lock), as well as automatic (five speed) and manual (six-speed), drivetrains.

Only one engine is available – the company’s 2,4-litre MIVEC four-cylinder turbodiesel engine. The need to wait for this motor to become available to the South African market was the reason for the new Triton’s delayed local launch.

It’s a great motor, though; smooth, refined and punchy with its 133 kW/430 Nm output. In fact, refinement is something the new Triton does very well … it’s surprisingly quiet and exceptionally stable at highway speeds, while its ride – that old Achilles heel of the bakkie – is now up there with the best; even off the beaten track.

These improvements are thanks to a class-leading aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0,40 and suspension that has been improved by way of stiffer front springs and expanded stabilisers, finely tuned shock absorbers and the extension of the rear leaf springs. Another noticeable improvement is the quicker steering rack, tuned to just 3,8 turns lock-to-lock for a compact 5,9-m turning radius.

In fact, once behind the steering wheel, you’ll notice that the Triton’s interior environment has been moved considerably upmarket. The seats and all touchpoints are leather covered, while a piano-black centre console finish frames the touch-screen infotainment system and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The new Triton impresses both off and on road. The wait has been long, but worth it.The Triton is definitely not short of features… Notable as standard are: electric driver-seat adjustment, dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes with a full suite of electronic braking and stability aids, keyless entry, a rear-view camera, and – interestingly on a bakkie – a rear-window demister.

A major plus point of the new Triton double cab is its interior space, which has been improved all round. Cab length, for example, has been increased by 20 mm while the rear bench has been reclined by 25°. Overall, Mitsubishi claims that the cab is more than 30 cm longer than that of its rivals.

It seems then that the new Triton has all bases covered, but what about price? The range starts at R479 900 for the 2.4 Di-D 4×2 manual and ends at R559 900 for the 2.4 Di-D 4×4 auto. All models include a five-year/90 000 km service plan and three-year/100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty.

Look out for a more detailed analysis in a future issue of FOCUS!

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