Does it have what it takes to grab top spot?
The Mitsubishi Triton has long been the affordable step sister to the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger. It is the third best-selling ute in the country, which is a huge achievement. Triton owners have been tagged as pragmatic buyers who don’t want to justify indulging in one of the more expensive rivals, as such, Mitsubishi have recently updated and upgraded the Triton once again to breathe new life into the brand; an attempt to make it an appealing purchase of the heart rather than just a sensible monetary-based head purchase.
The updated front end of the Triton reflects uniformity across the Mitsubishi range, donning the same polarising ‘dynamic shield’ styling as the Outlander and Pajero Sport. The new Triton sticks with the previous 2.4-litre turbo-diesel engine with peak power of 133kW at 3500rpm. However the five-speed automatic gearbox was cut in favour of a six-speed unit, joining the line-up alongside the retained six-speed manual. While it’s not surprising the Pajero Sport’s eight-speed was held back, it is a little disappointing not to see it. The 2019 Triton gets more new hardware with bigger front discs for enhanced braking performance as well as larger rear shock absorbers to improve both on and off-road performance and ride comfort.
Mitsubishi’s clever Super Select 4WD system has been retained, meaning it can be driven in fuel-saving RWD only, but importantly can also be driven as a full-time AWD in 4H, unlike many other utes on the market. It also has 4HLc for when you hit the dirt and 4LLc for more extreme technical terrain. Accompanying the Super Select system, Mitsubishi has also given the Triton an Off-Road Mode for the first time. This is similar to the system found in the Pajero Sport, which adjusts transmission shifts, throttle mapping, and the ESC, depending on which mode is selected: Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand and Rock (only when in 4LLc). The Triton also gets hill descent control to help tackle those tricky declines.
In terms of safety, Mitsubishi has provided the Triton an array of active safety features, such as: Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS), which is a low-speed variant of RCTA primarily intended to prevent accidental acceleration such as in tight carparks. However, whether all of these features are destined just for the top models or across the entire range is yet to be confirmed.
With the adjustments and updated tech, will the 2019 Triton be a possible alternative to the HiLux and Ranger, or is it forever resigned to being third-best? No pricing has been announced yet, although a price rise is anticipated due to the advancements in technology inside. They are expected to hit our shores late December 2018 with the first ones going on sale in January 2019. We look forward to getting our hands on one and putting it to the test; keep an eye out for that one.