Ask any of the myriad plumbers, builders, garden service operators and other services down on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast about their battered and weathered Mitsubishi Colt bakkies and the response is they would not trade it for anything.
This is both and good and bad thing for Mitsubishi, now having launched the fifth generation of the series and the latest bearing the Triton name.
Thos that have Mitsubishi bakkies are fiercely loyal and hugely satisfied – there just are not enough of them and the company is banking the new Triton will change that quite significantly with the attractive pricing an incentive for new buyers.
“The new tough-looking Triton is significantly more competitive and meets the diverse needs of bakkie customers around the world,” says Nic Campbell, General Manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa.
“Mitsubishi Motors is celebrating its 40th year of building bakkies this year. The new Triton features a host of enhancements and refinements making it even more durable and reliable for commercial users and giving leisure users the comfort and ride they desire.”
The Colt bakkie was originally launched and marketed under the Mercedes-Benz umbrella and became Triton when Mitsubishi Motors South Africa stood as independent importer. As with any change of this magnitute in the auto industry there is always a hiatus period where a new reputation has to created along with firming up a national dealer footprint.
This did put Mitsubishi a tad out of kilter with the rapid changes in the light commercial market and the fact more buyers – both corporate and private – were choosing the luxury specification ‘car-like’ offerings from the likes of Toyota and Ford as daily transport as well as their leisure time ride.
The new Triton effects a catch up with a wholly modern looking vehicle bearing all the ‘must-have’ safety and luxury features of its counterparts on the market.
On occasion of the world premiere, Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko said: “The new Triton is one of our most important global strategic models. Its success will accelerate the momentum of the company’s sustainable growth.”
“The new model brings enhancements to the durability, reliability and comfort developed over the 40 years since the introduction of the series. I am fully confident the new Triton will meet the diverse needs and wishes of our customers around the world.”
The new face incorporates the new-generation ‘Dynamic Shield’ front design concept. The high hood line and beefier-looking headlights located higher up give the new model a more powerful and imposing frontal appearance.
Almost ‘deathy-by-chrome’, the striking front makes it highly visible on the road and just eccentric enough to appeal to anyone who does not want to get lost in the visual ‘sameness’ that characterises so many automotive design styles.
From the side, newly sculpted body curves with contrasting sharp lines, extended wheel flares and bright accents embody the strength of a full-size Mitsubishi Motors bakkie and add a modern twist.
At the rear, the lighting and bumper parts become part of the design, framing the front and rear designs and adding visual width.
The new Triton also comes in fashionable colours notably Sunflare Orange, Diamond White Metallic and Graphite Grey Metallic.
The restyled inside of the new Triton offers a high-quality look created by soft pad materials and stitching on the floor console, armrests and parking brake.
Especially notable are the front seats that offer superb thigh and back support. On the launch drive I travelled with a colleague much taller than me and he also commented on the seat comfort – the driver seat electrically adjustable and the steering offering reach and rake movement.
There is a multi-function leather covered steering wheel with audio and cruise control, Bluetooth with hands-free voice contro,. touch-screen radio/CD and MP3 player, infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (Optional), dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, power windows, USB and accessory sockets, leather seats and chromatic rear-view mirror.
On the mechanical side, the main focus is on the all-new 6-speed automatic transmission making its debut in the new Triton.
This transmission has Intelligent Shift Control, delivering the optimum balance of engine power, fuel economy and interior quietness with smooth acceleration at low engine revolutions.
Replacing the previous 5-speed automatic, the new 6-speed automatic transmission allows smoother, more powerful acceleration and improved refinement.
“One of the outstanding features of the new 6-speed Automatic Transmission is its quiet and smooth operation in all modes. The manual versions retain the proven 6-speed manual transmission,” adds Campbell.
For the more adventurous off-road fans, this automatic option works well with the new Hill Descent Control we put to the test on the launch drive route. Switched on and with the gear selector moved to ‘1’ either via the paddle-shifter or gear lever, the Triton will walk gently down near vertical descents, adjusting continuously to keep a safe pace.
Accelerate slightly and it will instantly remember and hold that speed, brake and will slow to the speed when the driver removes his foot from the pedal.
The new Triton 4WD models are fitted with Mitsubishi’s latest Super-Select II 4WD, which offers a turning radius of 5,9 m, ground clearance of 220 mm a 28º approach angle, 23º departure angle and 25º ramp breakover angle.
The Super Select II 4WD system is used with an Off-road Mode available on the automatic transmission derivatives. The Off-road mode has Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand and Rock (in 4LLc only) settings for improved traction on different road surfaces.
When engaged, Off-road Mode integrally controls engine power, transmission and braking to regulate the amount of wheel slip, thereby maximising all-terrain performance and self-extraction performance in mud or snow.
The 4H drive mode distributes torque in a 40:60 ratio between the front and rear wheels via a Torsen limited-slip device for safer on-road driving in slippery conditions such as gravel and wet roads. 4HLc (4WD High range with CD locked) distributes torque equally between the front and rear wheels for improved traction on sand, dirt and snow. 4LLc (4WD Low range with CD locked) provides greater torque for extreme off-road conditions.
“The new Triton is engineered to be tough and looks the part,” says Campbell. “We are confident the upgraded version will build on the popularity of the original Triton and the 40 years of development of this iconic pick-up.”
The Triton retains the 2,4-litre MIVEC common-rail turbo-diesel engine producing 133 kW at 3 500 r/min and 430 Nm at 2 500 r/min with claimed fuel consumption of 7,5 l/100 km in the combined cycle (7,6 l/100 km for the new 6-speed automatic).
The new Triton retains the current model’s ladder-type frame chassis and high impact-safety cabin structure while featuring safety and driver assistance systems, including RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) Body Construction, 7 crash bags, side-impact protection bars, collapsible steering column, ISOFIX child seat anchors, ASTC (Active Stability and Traction Control), ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), BAS (Brake Assist System), HSA (Hill Start Assist System), DRL (Daytime Running Lights), speed-sensing auto door lock, rear view camera and more.
The tail gate has a piston to control opening so it cannot drop open, potentially damaging the hinges.
RANGE AND PRICING
Triton 2.4L DI-DC M/T 4×2 – R509 995
Triton 2.4L DI-DC A/T 4×2 – R529 995
Triton 2.4L DI-DC M/T 4×4 – R569 995
Triton 2.4L DI-DC A/T 4×4 – R589 995
The new Triton is covered by Mitsubishi’s Manufacturer’s Warranty of 3 years or 100 000 km and a 5-year / 90 000 km Service Plan and a 5-year / unlimited mileage Roadside Assistance. Service intervals are every 10 000 km.