TRITON BACK IN BAKKIE WAR
THERE’S no such thing as being fashionably late in the motor industry, but there is at least one good thing that came out of the delayed introduction of Mitsubishi’s all-new Triton.
Waiting this long, for the rand to finally allow the pricing sums to work out, has allowed Mitsubishi to introduce its new bakkie with Mitsubishi’s sophisticated new 2.4-litre Mivec turbodiesel engine, rather than the previous-generation 2.5-litre unit that was earmarked for our market.
So now it’s finally here, in double cab guise at least - with club cab and single cab derivatives set to follow later in the year - and it’s priced slightly below its key rivals with four high-spec 2.4 diesel models (giving you usual the 4x2/4x4, manual/auto choice) for between R479 900 and R559 900.
The so-called ‘J’ design side profile allowed designers to retain a relatively short wheelbase while still procuring generous rear legroom and a best-in-class seating angle, but this time they’ve done this without making the vehicle look like a banana.
Mitsubishi admits that many previous owners were somewhat put off by the previous model’s design and the new one should prove a lot more palatable, if a little innocuous even, if we’re looking at it from the front.
But the big drawcard will be the new 2.4-litre engine, which is good for 133kW at 3500rpm and 430Nm at 2500rpm, putting it right up there with the 2.8-litre Hilux (130kW and 420 to 450Nm) and 2-litre VW Amarok (132kW and 420Nm). Featuring an all-aluminium block, the unit weighs 30kg less than the old 2.5 and has an unusually low compression ratio of 15.5:1. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox.
At the Triton’s local launch in Gauteng on Monday, I got to play with the new Triton on a wide var- iety of roads and non-roads, otherwise known as trails, and the new engine really stood out for its overall sophistication. It’s quiet and smooth-revving for an oil burner and delivers oodles of torque from low down.
As one would expect at this level of the bakkie game, it’s available with a capable and comprehensive four-wheel drive system, with four modes selectable via rotary switch, including the obligatory low-range for trail creeping. Yet while its respective approach and departure angles of 28 and 22 degrees are competitive, its 215mm ground clearance is a bit lower than that of rivals. Still, the launch vehicles got through some rather unforgiving offroad courses near Heidelberg without incident, well if you ignore a few scraped running boards that is.
It’s not just capable in the bundus - on open tar stretches the Triton impressed with its quietness. Although as with any bakkie the ride can be a bit uncomfortable over harsh surfaces, it proved rather decent on the highway sections. Continued on page 2