The current Mitsubishi Triton is said to look pretty tame for what it represents; a rugged pick-up truck to tackle the off-road terrain.
While this might have been a subjective matter, Mitusbishi Motors Corporation took the feedback to heart and decided that the latest evolvement of the Triton would look the part to the hilt.
In that respect, Mitsubishi Motors has delivered, taking the styling cue from the Outlander Crossover and adapting it to fit the Triton’s beefier image.
While it now looks more the part of a pick-up truck, Mitsubishi Motors has also made the facelifted Triton more civilised in fittings and equipment.
This might appear to be a contrasting approach in product profile, few would deny that making the new Triton easier to drive would be just as welcome as its bolder frontage.
Let’s begin with the new ‘rock solid’ face; Mitsubishi Motors based the design concept on what it calls the ‘Dynamic Shield’ to express powerful performance and a reassuring sense of protection.
In adopting the ‘form following function’ design, the higher arrangement of the front lamp assemblies allow the new Triton to wade through flooded roads without damage to the lights or reducing their function.
Compared to the previous model, the foglamp assembly is more than 700mm above ground and the slim headlamp cluster is 100mm higher than that in the preceding Triton.
Mitsubishi Motors says the bi-functional LED (light emitting diode) projector headlamps are of the highest grade and the DRL (daytime running light) adopts a characteristic shape to stamp its signature image.
On the flanks, fender flares serve to impress on the vehicle’s muscular profile while the raised position of the fenders or wheel arches and bonnet is said to improve off-road capability.
To complement this higher ride profile, Mitsubishi Motors has adopted a bigger size tyre of 265/60 R18 for the double cab variant.
While there is only so much one could do with the rear cargo bed styling, the improvements come in the thicker rear bumper to improve stiffness and stability, large square taillamps to offer a tough image and a rear-view camera being integrated into the gate garnish.
For continuity, the shape of the bed is adapted to carry over current accessories such as canopy, full box, bed line and sports bar.
By the way, the new Triton signature theme is also extended to the rear LED taillamps that when lit is said to represent the width of the cargo bed.
The urbane touch comes when one steps into the new Triton, in particular the soft pad trim and stitch for areas that one touches.
This includes the floor console pad, centre arm-rest, door trim inserts and the ‘leather-lapped’ parking brake lever.
Improved utilities are in the front smartphone tray with USB terminal, chrome rimmed cupholders with ‘quality feel’ and rear smartphone tray with USB power socket.
With advanced safety being the key word these days, the new Triton comes with a slew of features – Forward Collision Mitigation (mainly to detect pedestrians), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (useful when reversing from a lot), Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist, and Ultrasonic miss-acceleration Mitigation System (for accidental front acceleration).
To serve the respective function, the new Triton comes with four cameras – front, rear and both sides of the vehicle – that just about cover all angles.
There is also an Automatic High Beam feature that switches to low beam when it detects an approaching vehicle during night driving.
Taking to the off-road, the Triton has four modes to adapt to the respective conditions – gravel, mud and snow, sand and rock.
Except for gravel, which is two-wheel drive, the other three are in four wheel drive with that for mud and snow being high-range 4H, sand being high-range ratios with locked transfer (4HLc) and the rock condition being low-range ratios with locked transfer (4LLc).
The new Triton is powered by a more refined 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine that delivers 181PS at 3,500rpm and 430Nm at 2,500rpm.
It is mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission with Sport mode, and a Hill Descent Control is now a standard feature for the Triton range.
We had a taste of what the new Triton had to offer under simulated conditions at the Impact Lakeside on the outskirts of Bangkok.
The flat dirt course was mainly for us to gauge the better ride comfort and small turning circle (11.8 metres) for a pick-up truck.
Although the rear leaf-spring suspension is retained so that the Triton could perform off-road duties to its fullest, it is tuned to provide appreciable ride comfort, which was duly noted and enjoyed.
The off-road obstacle course, which was done in 4HLLc, included a 45-degree uphill ramp that allowed us to experience the Hill Descent Control on the way down, 40-degree banked slope, twist track course to simulate uneven terrain and a suspension stroke section.
It was short and sweet but sufficient to tell us that the new Triton would readily meet the off-road challenges if put to the mill.
The fun part was being driven two laps at full charge around a dusty and twisty course by a Mitsubishi Motors development driver.
This experience impressed us on the new Triton’s ability to be driven fast on loose surfaces in capable hands of course.
The drive was done in 4HLc and development driver K. Koide obviously enjoyed working the steering quickly to correct directional changes at each corner as the Triton went into a short four-wheel drift before being powered out to the next bend.
We were told during the global launch that the new Triton comes with new "eye-catching" colours to complement its robust image – White Diamond, Graphite Gray, Passion Orange and Red Solid.