The company has been left in the shadows with the ASX crossover being their only inkling of light. Now though, the long awaited Triton is here and I spent the day putting it through its paces to find out if it can stand up to the segment leaders, the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.
The new Triton looks unmistakably similar to the model it replaces. That said though, the designers have added a fresh overall appeal. I for one like the prominent front end which features a chrome grille and large headlights with daytime running LEDs.
From the nose back, the Triton features some distinctive character lines which run the length of the car. The rear load bed might look longer than what it is, however, it measures 1.52 metres long and 1.47 metres wide which is slightly smaller than those found on some of its rivals.
The design is neat, however, I feel that it is lacking a muscular presence. Beefier wheel archers or bigger wheels could have added a more burly look. That said, the Triton has never been one to take centre stage, instead, it stays at the back, getting the job done.
No fuss interior
Like the exterior the interior also plays the subtle card. The designers have decided to simplify things with the addition of a touchscreen infotainment system, a USB port and a dual-zone climate control cluster. The steering wheel on the other hand is really nice. It features many buttons and some chrome-like detailing as well as a leather stitching.
As for comfort, well this is where the Triton really impressed me. The problem with the previous model was that its seating position was too high. Now though, the designers have rectified this by lowering the seat without sacrificing on comfort. The steering wheel column is also reach and height adjustable for further ease of operation.
Thanks to the design of the rear load bay and the ‘J’ line of the cab, rear passengers have much more space in terms of leg and head room than on other bakkies. It was however the lack of noise that had everyone talking.
Mitsubishi has packed the interior with extra noise cancelling materials which means that very little exterior noise filters into the cabin. Sure there is still some hard plastics throughout, but they don’t come across as cheap or brittle and because Mitsubishi has used different tones of grey, it looks and feels a bit more upmarket.
Under the bonnet
Whereas the pervious Triton made use of a 2.5-litre turbodiesel motor, this new model features an all-new, all-aluminium block 2.4-litre DI-D which develops 133kW and 430Nm. For comparison, the equivalent Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 develops 130kW and 420Nm, meaning the Triton has a slight advantage.
How it delivers that power is also noteworthy. Be it the six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox, the Triton doesn’t struggle to get a move on. Even pulling away in second gear didn’t pose an issue. I also averaged about 10 litres/100km which consisted of a drive from Lanseria out to Heidelburg via the city, back roads and gravel roads.
Most of the day was spent playing at a rather challenging off-road course. The Triton has a four-wheel drive system known as Super-Select II. First seen in the latest iteration of the Pajero, the Super-Select II system offers the driver a choice of four distinct driving modes from a console-mounted selector.
With Super-Select II, the driver is given the option of a high-speed 4x4 driving mode where the power delivery between the front and rear wheels is distributed in such a way to make gravel and wet road travelling safer.
There is no doubt that the new Triton is facing some tough competition both locally and with regards to the global markets. I would have liked to see more electronic gadgets inside like some other players in the segment have, auto lights and different driving modes to name a few.
It is clear that bakkies are fast becoming luxury items and it is important for manufactures to keep up with the market demand. That said, the Triton has a history of outstanding reliability and with regards to the overall ride quality of this new model, it’s fair to say that it has the competition waxed.
Triton 2.4 DI-D 4x2 - R479 900
Triton 2.4 DI-D 4x2 AT - R499 900
Triton 2.4 DI-D 4x4 - R539 900
Triton 2.4 DI-D 4x4 AT - R559 900
All models are introduced with a five-year/90 000km service plan and three-year/100 000km manufacturer’s warranty.