Mitsubishi Triton

Evolution when market demands revolution

FRASER STRONACH

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

IT LOOKED like we had managed to get the Triton stuck. The 4WD section of the drive route Mitsubishi Australia had organised for the preview of its 2016 Triton was at the spectacular Eagle View 4WD track near Adelaide. As the name suggests, this is steep, rugged country and this particularly gnarly section had managed to thwart the best efforts of the electronic traction control. All forward progress had stopped.

Thankfully we were driving the top-spec Exceed model, which comes standard with a rear diff lock, activated via a dashboard switch. Once the diff was locked, the Triton laboured for a second or two before extricating itself from the predicament.

This is Mitsubishi’s longawaited answer to a rash of recent all-new utes, including the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50, VW Amarok, Holden Colorado and Isuzu D-Max. Despite what Mitsubishi would like you to believe, the MQ Triton – officially dubbed MY16, though it’s already on sale – is not a clean-sheet design but a development of the MN model first released in 2009, and that was itself a remake of the 2006 ML.

Importantly, the MQ brings a new turbo-diesel engine, a new six-speed manual (replacing the previous five-speeder) and a revised five-speed automatic available across the range.

Previously, only the top-spec model received a five-speed ’box while the rest made do with an archaic four-speed.

The new diesel is slightly smaller than the current offering (2.4 v 2.5 litres) but has 2kW more at 133kW. The big benefit comes where it’s needed most, with peak torque up from 400Nm to 430Nm.

With the auto, the improvement is even more significant because the old engine was only rated to 350Nm when mated to a selfshifter.

It is noticeably quieter, smoother, more refined and more energetic than the outgoing diesel. It’s also more economical.

Not so good is the still somewhat indifferent auto, the only gearbox offered for the preview drive.

Another big point of difference with the new Triton is the cabin.

It’s only incrementally bigger than before, but the seats are far more comfortable, and the fit and finish is a world apart from the previous model. The steering wheel also gains reach adjustment.

The Triton feels small and nimble by class standards but lacks the dynamic polish of the Ranger and Amarok. As capable and likeable as it is, a clean-sheet design was required to draw level with the class best. And with the next-gen Hilux looming over the ute division, Mitsubishi needed a game-changer. self

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Kerb weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Mitsubishi Triton Exceed 2442cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, TD 133kW @ 3500rpm 430Nm @ 2500rpm 5-speed automatic 1965kg n/a 7.6L/100km $47,490 Now

PLUS & MINUS

Merely a tweaked older design; smaller interior than some rivals Nimble by class standards; full-time 4WD on up-spec models

Select one

THE top-spec Triton dualcabs come with Mitsubishi’s ‘Super Select’ four-wheeldrive system. It allows the driver to select one of four drive modes: 2WD (rear); full-time 4WD; 4WD with the centre diff locked; and lowrange 4WD with the centre diff locked. In essence, it combines conventional part-time 4WD with full-time 4WD and is a take on Jeep’s now discontinued ‘Selec-Trac’ system.