Mit­subishi aims high with Tri­ton

Fremantle Gazette - - DRIVEWAY -

FORD is look­ing to stand out from the crowd with its new Ger­man-built Fo­cus small car, which went on sale this month.

The re­vised line-up will fea­ture three hatch vari­ants – Trend, ST-Line and Ti­ta­nium – but two other vari­ants will join the lineup next year.

Ford is tar­get­ing SUV buy­ers with the added prac­ti­cal­ity of a new wagon MIT­SUBISHI has adopted a safety-first ap­proach to its vi­tal new Tri­ton ute as it aims to close the gap to Toy­ota’s HiLux and Ford’s Ranger.

The new Tri­ton will have more driver safety aids than any ute on the mar­ket.

The list of avail­able tech in­cludes au­tonomous emer­gency braking, lane de­par­ture and blind spot warn­ing, au­to­matic high­beam dip­ping, rear cross traf­fic alert and a bird’seye view cam­era for park­ing,

It also in­tro­duces new tech to de­tect un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion and kill power if it senses a po­ten­tial crash.

Most of the safety equip­ment is re­served for the more fam­ily-fo­cused GLS grade but an $800 op­tional pack in­clud­ing AEB and lane de­par­ture warn­ing will be avail­able on workhorse de­riv­a­tives.

The ex­tra pro­tec­tion comes at a cost, as prices vari­ant in ST-Line trim and a new high-rid­ing Ac­tive, sim­i­lar to the Subaru XV.

“The Fo­cus Ac­tive is a strong ad­di­tion to the lineup and is a great match to the ac­tive lives of Aus­tralians,” said Ford Aus­tralia boss Kay Hart.

“The ST-Line hatch, STLine wagon and Ac­tive hatch (are) all de­signed to of­fer greater ver­sa­til­ity and adapt­abil­ity.”

Hatch vari­ants are priced from $25,990 be­fore rise by be­tween $500 and $3000 across the range.

That brings the range­top­ping XLS Pre­mium – pre­vi­ously called the Ex­ceed – to a rec­om­mended re­tail price of $51,990, edg­ing closer to the SR5 HiLux and Ranger XLT, which hover around the mid$50,000 mark.

Off­set­ting the price rise is an in­tro­duc­tory deal that in­cludes a tempt­ing seven-year, 150,000km war­ranty and four years of free road­side as­sis­tance.

The deal will be avail­able un­til June 30.

Mit­subishi has long sold the Tri­ton as a value propo­si­tion with sharp drive-away deals but chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Tony Principe said the tech­laden XLS Pre­mium can now com­pete on its own terms against the SR5 and XLT big guns.

“If you look at the mar­ket, we dom­i­nate the $35,000 to $40,000 range,” he said.

“We're prob­a­bly get­ting 50 per cent mar­ket share. We haven’t re­ally had on-road costs for the base Trend, $28,990 in ST-Line guise (the wagon adds $1000) and $34,490 for the top Ti­ta­nium.

The front-wheel drive Ac­tive – the hope­ful star of Ford’s new small car lineup – starts at $29,990.

The main aim of the Ac­tive is to draw buy­ers into the Fo­cus range rather than the wider SUV mar­ket. With 34mm of ex­tra ground clear­ance com­pared to the hatch and much prod­uct in that $40,000-plus range.”

Apart from the new look, the Tri­ton has been raised slightly for bet­ter clear­ance and off-road abil­ity.

The en­gine has been wagon, the Ac­tive will give po­ten­tial SUV buy­ers the sought-af­ter el­e­vated driv­ing po­si­tion.

Ford has beefed up the Ac­tive’s im­age with front and rear skid plate in­serts in con­trast­ing fin­ish, black wheel arches, twin chrome tailpipes and 17-inch al­loy wheels.

Pow­er­ing the Ac­tive, in com­mon with the rest of the Fo­cus range, will be a 1.5-litre three-cylin­der turbo (134kW/240Nm) tweaked to pro­vide bet­ter re­sponse off the mark, par­tic­u­larly when laden or tow­ing.

More ex­pen­sive mod­els are fit­ted with ter­rain re­sponse tech to ad­just throt­tle re­sponse and trac­tion matched to an eight-speed au­to­matic.

Two unique driv­ing modes – Slip­pery and Trail – aid the Ac­tive’s off-road ca­pa­bil­i­ties by in­creas­ing grip in slip­pery con­di­tions and al­low­ing for smoother driv­ing on soft sur­faces such as sand or dirt.

In­side, the Ac­tive scores the maker’s lat­est in­fo­tain­ment tech.

Its eight-inch dis­play gives ac­cess to Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto. con­trol to cope with dif­fer­ent sur­faces in­clud­ing mud, sand and rocks.

In­side, there is more pad­ding and softer-touch ma­te­ri­als, in keep­ing with its dual role as a workhorse and fam­ily ve­hi­cle.

A wire­less smart­phone charg­ing pad, steer­ing wheel mounted pad­dleshifters and voice ac­ti­vated nav­i­ga­tion are among other in­te­rior high­lights.

The Fo­cus range gets au­tonomous emer­gency braking and lane keep as­sist as stan­dard. Adap­tive cruise con­trol, blind spot warn­ing and rear cross traf­fic alert are bun­dled in a $1250 op­tion on all but the range-top­ping Ti­ta­nium hatch.

More thought has been given to rear pas­sen­gers. There are new USB con­nec­tions, a rear smart­phone tray and vents in­cor­po­rated into the roof pump air into the sec­ond row.

The ex­tra equip­ment, re­vised gear­ing and a more re­al­is­tic fuel con­sump­tion test stan­dard have led to an in­crease in fuel con­sump­tion from 7.6L/100km to 8.6L.

The other bad news is a drop in pay­load of roughly 60kg to 900kg.

With Tri­ton lead­ing the way, Mit­subishi is on track for a sales record this year.

In the com­bined ute and SUV mar­ket, it trails only Toy­ota and this suc­cess has moved it past Ford and Holden into the num­ber four spot.

The brand has all but aban­doned con­ven­tional cars; the last ex­am­ples of the long­stand­ing Lancer will roll out of deal­er­ships early in the new year, leav­ing the Mi­rage as the sole pas­sen­ger car.

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