Those unfamiliar with Wellington and its hinterland might shake their heads at the idea of a working ute launch in the nation’s capital.
However, within 35km of the city centre there are beaches, paddocks, gravel roads and ribbons of evilly cambered tarmacadam to be sampled, as well as grassy hill farms and some of the worst examples of the road builders’ art you’ve ever seen. Perfect. We’re having a fine time driving Mitsubishi’s new Triton ute, which is unmistakably a Triton, with its tapered load deck and silhouette.
For all that, it’s new from the ground up, and to illustrate that, Mitsubishi said you couldn’t drop the new body over the old chassis, or vice versa, despite the identical wheelbase and track measurements.
The Triton’s shape and style is more visually pleasing than before, with a chromed smile of a grille to replace the previous rather gormless grin, with shapely halogen lamps at each end (plus LED running lights in the GLS double cab) and a black accessory light panel in the chin.
The clamshell closure line of the bonnet cleverly continues through the body’s crease lines which link the top of the headlights with the same point on the rear clusters by coursing through the front and rear quarter panels and the doors.
To our eyes, this makes the new Triton the best looking and most cohesive yet and much more masculine than the softlycontoured immediate predecessor.
One of the design elements that offended most with the ‘‘old’’ Triton was the curvy rear door closure line which has now been eliminated by way of a straighter shape at the trailing edge and matching sharper window angles.
This appears to have liberated more interior space, because the rear cabin seems much more capacious than we remember.
Up front it’s better too, with comfort improved by bolstered, dished front seats with a large number of adjustments helped by the reach and tilt adjustable steering wheel, and plenty of side support.
Redesigned door and dash furniture appears to use hard plastic where it’s needed with softer textures elsewhere, along with metallised finishes to show some contrast with many shades of grey that otherwise dominate.
The main heating and ventilation controls are familiar and the sound system appears easy to work through.
Connectivity can be voice activated and worked through steering wheel controls, with a power connector and a USB port well-placed on the dash end of the centre console.
Mitsubishi said the additional interior space we noticed has been achieved in all the three available body styles – single, double and club cab body, and adds that the strategic placement of sound insulation, absorption and vibration damping materials contributes to significantly improved cabin quietness.
Powered by a new all- aluminium 2.4-litre MIVEC turbo diesel engine with variable geometry turbo, paired to a new 6-speed manual transmission or optional 5- speed automatic, the new generation