In its 40th Anniversary year, Mitsubishi has unveiled a refreshed Triton, which following its release in Thailand this past November, will be rolled out to 150 other countries in the coming months. Australia is close to the head of the queue for the new-look model, with local deliveries expected in January.
The Triton has regularly been Australia’s third best-selling ute behind the HiLux and Ranger, and while Australia is an important market for the model (the second-best globally behind Thailand), Mitsubishi have broader plans for the Triton, as reflected in the bolder, American-like styling
While the body changes are the most obvious, there have been a number of changes made under the skin, too, with claims of improved ride, durability, reliability and occupant comfort, some of which are the result of Australian testing.
More importantly for the Triton’s off-road credentials, the four-wheel drive systems are said to be enhanced for improved off-road performance, with a new multi-mode off-road selector added, along with improvements to the suspension and braking.
Fresh Face, or Fugly?
On first viewing, the Triton’s new front end is the most obvious change. And also the most polarising.
The broad and blunt front end is clearly aimed at giving the Triton more presence in a ute/pickup market where large American pickups make an impact with their bold, macho styling. Whether it’s succeeded in that goal is debatable, but there’s no doubt the new Triton is a world away in appearance from the current model.
The front end contains the latest version of Mitsubishi’s ‘Dynamic Shield’ grille and lighting design most recently seen on the latest Pajero Sport. The bonnet line sits higher than the current Triton, which allows the headlights to sit higher, too. This, Mitsubishi says, makes them less susceptible to damage, while the higher bonnet line makes it easier to identify the front corners of the vehicle when parking in tight spaces or squeezing through tight trails off-road.
In profile view there are changes, too, although the upper-body crease and distinctive curve to the rear of the cabin area (on dual cabs) remains. Wheelarches are now bolder and squared off (another American styling influence), while the sidesteps are chunkier and there’s a softer curve to the rear door window line.
At the rear (on ute models), the tail lights of the current Triton that projected forward have been replaced with a boxier design. The rear bumper is boxier and more solid-looking, too, while the tailgate is largely carryover from the current model but features a chrome surround to the handle that incorporates the reversing camera.
The full range of body styles has yet to be revealed, but expect single, club and dual cab utes to be offered, along with cab-chassis equivalents.
Inside, there’s more of a premium look and feel to the design, with satin chrome surrounds for elements like the centre console, air vents, door handles and steering wheel, as well as a patterned metal treatment for the gear shifter surround and contrast stitching on the seats and other leather/cloth/vinyl trim areas. Presumably, not all these features will appear on all Triton model grades, with the plusher touches to be reserved for the higher-end variants.
Familiar Engines and Trannys
Being a mid-cycle upgrade, there’s nothing of major significance on the mechanical front, with drivetrain offerings carrying over from the current Triton. That means a choice of 2.4-litre petrol or 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel.
. Engine outputs and economy levels for the locally-available Triton are still yet to be confirmed, but initial information suggests 94kW/194Nm for the petrol and 133kW/430Nm for the turbo diesel: unchanged from the current version, but an engine stop-start system will be added to improve economy.
Transmissions are carried over, too, with the 5-speed and 6-speed manuals available on selected model grades and body styles. The one new addition here is a 6-speed automatic, replacing the 5-speed auto and featuring a “speed biased” sixth gear that’s been optimised to reduce engine noise at higher speeds for improved in-cabin comfort.
While the Triton’s braking package is also largely unchanged, variants fitted with 18-inch wheels will now feature larger ventilated discs with twin-piston calipers for what Mitsubishi says is improved braking performance and feel.
Improved Off Road
On the suspension front, the upgraded Triton continues to use a double-wishbone front and leaf spring rear arrangement, but changes to the rear springs and the addition of larger rear shocks claims to deliver better directional stability on rough surfaces, while also improving ride comfort on tarmac.
Australian-delivered models will receive specific suspension tuning, which is said to be the result of an extensive, two-year-long testing programme here that included demanding off-road conditions.
The four-wheel drive systems are the familiar Easy Select and Super-Select II systems, with the former offering 2H, 4H and 4L, with the ability to shift from 2H to 4H on-the-fly at speeds up to 100km/h. To this, the Super-Select II system adds high- and low-speed centre diff locking - 4HLc and 4LLc, respectively.
A rear diff lock is likely to continue as standard on some grades and optional on others. Thai market models offer a choice of hybrid or mechanical limited slip diffs, but whether these features will be available here as either options or standard fitment has not been confirmed.
On four-wheel drive models with either the 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto, there’s a new “off-road mode” selector that allows the choice of ‘Gravel’, ‘Mud/Snow’, ‘Sand’ and ‘Rock’ settings. Rock is limited to 4LLc on the Super-Select II, but all settings adjust throttle response, auto transmission shifting and braking, as well as the traction and active stability control, when fitted.
Another new feature, and a Triton first, is Hill Descent Control that allows “steering only” driver input on declines at speeds of up to 20km/h.
The new Triton will arrive with an upgraded active safety package that Mitsubishi believes is more comprehensive than that offered by its rivals.
New safety tech includes: Forward Collision Mitigation that can identify both vehicles and pedestrians; Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; front and rear (utes) parking sensors; Multi Around Monitor that uses four cameras to provide a bird’s eye view around the vehicle; and Ultrasonic Mis-acceleration Mitigation that works in both forward and reverse gears and uses similar ultrasound sensors to the FCM to counter sudden application of the accelerator in driveway or parking situations.
More tech, but on the convenience front, comes with the addition of a Rear Air Calculator to dual cab models that better distributes fresh/cool air to rear seat passengers, while a USB charging socket at the rear of the centre console has also been added for the benefit of rear seat occupants.
Extras . . . for Extra
While the existing GLX, GLX+, GLS and Exceed grades are expected to carryover for the upgrade, the addition of elements like the off-road mode, more safety features and overall improvement in refinement and cabin comfort – either on the higher-spec grades or across the range - point to Mitsubishi’s aim to take the Triton upmarket. That will most likely result in a higher starting price when it arrives here.
No numbers had been revealed as JUST 4x4s went to press, although they’re likely to be announced before this issue hits the stands. A starting price of around $25,000 for the most basic single cab-chassis model is likely, extending to over $50,000 for a fully-equipped Exceed dual cab auto ute. Watch this space for more information as the Triton upgrade is rolled out.