Meet Mit­subishi’s mon­ster ute

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

into a three-hour run, in­clud­ing time for off-road play. Hunt­away drives well. Sure, the tyres el­e­vate road din, but con­ver­sa­tion with Thomas and Camp­bell Grant, the young mar­ket­ing man­ager who with prod­uct plan­ner Reece Cong­don was tasked with ‘‘sell­ing’’ the project to the dealer net­work (they’re all on board), is pos­si­ble.

There’s some wheel shimmy at open road speed, but the ride is set­tled and though the 80mm in­crease in over­all height makes it feel more Ken­worth-like now, the han­dling isn’t too mon­ster-truck.

The en­hanced clearance and com­pli­ance and the tyres’ mas­sive bite makes tack­ling rut­ted, rain-

At least it picks a new touch­screen au­dio with Ap­ple Carplay/ An­droid Auto and Blue­tooth and gets cli­mate con­trol air, but a com­plete re­fresh, along with in­clu­sion of the lat­est Dy­namic Shield frontage, is de­manded of next year’s mid-life facelift.

What sells Hunt­away is more than just its ex­tro­vert look; there’s gen­uine ro­bust­ness. Run­ning his hand over the front guard and re­flect­ing on how chal­leng­ing it was to get the shap­ing per­fect, Martin en­forces ‘‘every­thing we put on is as tough as the steel we took off.’’

War­ranty cover for three years, rather than the usual 10 (but still to 160,000km), re­flects more about ex­pec­ta­tion of where and how it will be used.

The orig­i­nal Hunt­away, by the by, is em­ployed as a reg­u­lar farm hack on a North­land farm and has proven re­sis­tant to that rigour.

Will it sell? Some al­ready have. Will it make money? Dan – Daniel Cook, Hunt­away’s cham­pion and MMNZ chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer – doubts it. ‘‘We should cover our costs.’’ No re­grets. ‘‘It’s still quite a cheap mar­ket­ing ex­er­cise,’’ since brand im­pact was seis­mic.

‘‘It was prob­a­bly the sin­gle big­gest thing, out­side of our PHEV prod­uct in­tro­duc­tion, over the last 20 years.’’

The Tri­ton Hunt­away II is a fol­low-on from last year’s (you guessed it) Hunt­away. Yes, you can buy one.

MMNZ tech­ni­cal ser­vices ad­viser Nathan Thomas, left, and prod­uct plan­ner Camp­bell Grant with the Hunt­away at Todd Park, dur­ing the wheel and sus­pen­sion fit­ment phase.

Cus­toms Body Shop: from left, Corey Olsen, Matt Hutchin­son, Michelle Martin, Ben Martin and Brad Walker.

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