Launch of a new generation

On July 26th, Mitsubishi Motors announced the release of the all-new Triton one-tonne pickup truck in Bangkok, Thailand. Now available for purchase in Thailand, this redesigned model will be rolled out starting with the ASEAN and Oceania regions, before being brought to Japan by early 2024, following a 12-year absence from the market. 

Mitsubishi Motors has manufactured around 5.6 million pickup trucks over four and a half decades, launching its first in 1978. Recorded sales in 150 countries have made the vehicle an integral part in the carmaker’s global operations. Following an extensive development effort, the sixth generation Triton is now available with a complete makeover: from styling to chassis to engine – all based on Mitsubishi’s “Power for Adventure” concept. This is the first major update for the model in nine years.

It would seem the one trait that I liked about the Triton, its resistance to follow the madding crowd to super-size its outward dimensions has finally succumbed to peer group pressure, and market trend. Although it’s not a bad thing. What they’ve lost in the benefit of being slightly narrower for off-road excursions, they’ve won in terms of creature comfort and the improved functionality that comes from having more room.

Just like our American cousins, we too have shifted our focus from the simple necessities of practicality to a good splash of look at me desirability. Who knew that the once commercial ute—a beast of burden for tradies, couriers, mining companies and small business would morph into the must have nouveau accessory for driveway bragging rights and enviable street cred amongst the neighbours.

Yep, the all-new Triton has a significantly larger frame than its predecessor and features a new ladder design with greater strength for dependability. Its newly developed engine promises greater power output with less environmental impact. Furthermore, Mitsubishi has assured improved ride comfort and steering capability with the redesigned suspension system and equipped the Triton with an upgraded Super Select 4WD-II system plus multiple driving modes to optimise driving performance.

Mitsubishi’s recent update has given this all-new Triton a new look that is both bold and strong, thanks to its wider stance. Making it a desirable trophy for display at Chateau de your place. Interiors have been upgraded, as you’d expect, touting a modern and more elegant appearance, offering better practicality and functionality, with greater comfort and safety no matter whether your plan is professional or personal use.

Takao Kato, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Mitsubishi Motors, declared that they have crafted the all-new Triton for the new era. Specifically, this pickup truck is built with a robust ladder frame and body, tough chassis, efficient and driver-friendly engine, along with a 4WD system that provides outstanding road handling and stability. Aiming for a production output of over 200,000 vehicles in over 100 countries, the all-new Triton is profoundly significant to the company’s growth strategies as their first global strategic vehicle.

The Triton comes in three body types – the dual-cab for those seeking the comfort and versatility of a four-door SUV and the benefits of a ute. The basic work horse single-cab with one row of seats and a club-cab with handy cargo space behind the front seats and the room to recline for additional comfort. Its larger body also gains a newly developed 2.4L diesel turbo engine for added power and improved economy, a win-win scenario.

Mitsubishi Motors has completely re-engineered the ladder frame, suspension, and other main components to improve on and off-road performance significantly. The new ladder frame is 65% stronger than the previous model, which leads to a 40% increase in flex rigidity and 60% higher torsional or twist rigidity. These changes will no doubt have a positive impact on both ride and comfort, with additional benefits of robustness and durability. The new design also helps redirect energy during accidents for greater occupant protection. Impressively, the new 1180 MPa high-tensile steel material makes the new body design lighter than its predecessor.

But what of this new 4N16 diesel engine? Well, for starters is come in three levels of tune and performance to suit varying needs and applications. The high-output variant comes equipped with a brand-new turbo charger and combustion system, delivering a steady peak of 150 kW and 470 Nm of torque from just 1,500 rpm, allowing for an effortless driving experience with ample torque for towing duties or hauling a load in the tub. Additionally, two standard specifications are offered – the mid-range unit offering 135 kW and 430 Nm, with the base diesel generating 110 kW coupled with 330 Nm.

You can choose a six-speed automatic transmission, or a six-speed manual transmission that Mitsubishi indicate has shift-by-wire technology, helping minimise vibration from the engine.

Triton’s 4WD system featured in all-new Triton makes it easy for the driver to switch between modes via a dial selector. Super Select 4WD-II and Easy Select 4WD systems are equipped with a centre torque sensing Limited Slip Differential (LSD) to optimise traction and cornering performance; the LSD distributes driving force with a ratio of 40% to the front axle and 60% to the rear axle.

Vehicles featuring the Super Select 4WD-II system can choose from four options: 2H (rear-wheel drive), 4H (full-time four-wheel drive), 4HLc (locked centre differential) and 4LLc (locked centre differential with lower gears). This model has seven available driving modes, including Normal mode in each of the four-wheel-drive options. In 2H mode, Eco mode increases fuel efficiency; 4H has Gravel and Snow modes for traction; 4HLc provides Mud and Sand settings; and finally, 4LLc offers Rock mode for maximum road control. Meanwhile, Easy Select 4WD cars can select from three modes: 2H (rear-wheel drive), 4H (locked centre differential), and 4L (for low-gear driving).

The Super Select 4WD-II system includes AYC (Active Yaw Control). This technology is designed to bolster cornering performance by lightly applying the brake to the inner front wheel.

All models also come standard with active LSD (brake control type), which prevents a spinning wheel by applying the brakes and evenly distributing torque to the wheels with grip, improving safety and vehicle capability.

Other features like ASTC (Active Stability & Traction Control) enhance stability and traction on slippery or winding roads; HDC (Hill Descent Control) maintains a specified speed when descending hills for greater confidence; and HSA (Hill Start Assist) stops rollbacks at the start of an incline.

The newly developed suspension retains the double wishbone structure for the front end, with a stronger focus on dependability and longevity. By moving its upper mounting arm higher, it increases available travel by an extra 20mm to enhance roadholding and ride comfort. In the back, the rear suspension’s comfort is improved without sacrificing strength through the application of a more subtle leaf spring paired with stronger shock absorbers for greater compression and rebound control.

Whilst body size is larger, Mitsubishi has kept the turning circle to a minimum to assist in manoeuvrability. And the bonnet design was carefully considered to provide the driver with good forward visibility. An electric power steering system has been implemented in the high-output engine model, which Mitsubishi indicates provides better control at low speed with improved on road feel at crusing speeds for increased safety and confidence. Mitsubishi claims there’s less kickback from road surface irregularities, for a more relaxed towing experience and greater off-road control and comfort.

The all-new Triton marries agility and Mitsubishi Motors’ design to create a vanguard tough truck exterior. The front face with Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield concept expresses a sense of strength and protection. They designed its external aesthetics for complimenting the Triton’s tough pickup truck form and style. Across the front are three L-shaped LED daytime running lights, in league with the three-dimensional 3-light headlights below them, giving this Triton an unmistakable and unique visual presence. The solid sides of the body are set against sharply overhanging fender panels, adding to the rugged good looks.

At the back, newly designed tail lights compliment the Triton’s external strong sturdy visual design. But there’s also a functional side to the new setup, with a cabin shaped rear spoiler to reduce wind drag, bigger and easier-to-grip door handles, better water drainage, with wide side steps for easy access.

On the inside, the instrument panel has been designed with what Mitsubishi calls their Horizontal Axis concept. Sounds strange I know, but Mitsubishi indicates that the strong distinctive interior shapes aid drivers in understanding the vehicle’s posture while driving.

The new Triton also pays attention to practicality by including soft surfaces on all occupant contact points. From the images currently available, the overall design has interesting and visually pleasing contours and shapes complimented by the use of metal accents for an attractive and contemporary style.

For improved visibility, the display, instrumentation, and switch gear make use of a high level of contrast, and all selectors, dials, and switches have been designed to be easily operable even when wearing gloves.

The steering wheel, grips, and door handles have received Mitsubishi’s Touch technology for premium grip comfort and strength. Besides two large cup holders in the centre console, the commercial model’s console box has enough space for electronic tablets and files. Furthermore, it can hold four 600 mL plastic bottles. The glove compartment is roomy and easily accessed. Additionally, both the instrument panel and centre console are equipped with USB A and C sockets for charging devices plus a wireless charger on the lower part of the instrument panel.

The front seats have been designed to offer supportive lower back comfort, while the shoulder area provides greater mobility that lowers the likelihood of fatigue. Compared to its predecessor, the hip point has been raised 20 mm and an upright posture has been adopted to increase visibility from inside the vehicle. Additionally, access to the vehicle has been improved by setting a more vertical stance on the A-pillar that widens door openings with increased width on side steps, reducing the risk of slipping.

Yamabuki Orange Metallic and Blade Silver Metallic represent the new, vivid hues of the line-up. You also have a choice of basic colours like White Diamond, Solid White, Graphite Gray Metallic and Jet Black Mica.

The top-of-the-line trim comes with a body-painted front grille and black door mirrors, Dynamic Shield garnish, and plated components such as door handles and bumpers. The underside of the front end, sides and rear are dark titanium. There is also a styling bar on the black roof rails and over the fenders and cargo bed for a more visually captivating look. The interior has a sleek appearance that is complemented by metallic embellishments in black with orange accents adding a touch of class.

The 820 mm cargo bed is lower by 45 mm than the previous model. The upper surface area of the bumper corner has been enlarged and reinforced with a frame for added practicality of a foot space when loading or accessing the rear.

And a welcome upgrade is the new towing capacity, joining the rest of the segment pack leaders with 3.5 tonne.

The all-new Triton is packed with technology such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which allows it to monitor the speed, or braking of a car in front while staying at a previously set spacing. It also features an improved collection of driver safety elements, including Forward Collision Mitigation system (FCM), Blind Spot Warning (BSW) with Lane Change Assist (LCA), and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA).

Mitsubishi Connect means that with just one touch of a button, you can get in contact with a call centre if an accident happens or the vehicle breaks down, and it will automatically report airbag deployment. It also links with your smartphone so that you can check your Triton’s location easily by using its Finder function. You’ll also be able to view details such as fuel level, oil condition, and travel history.

In addition, with remote operations, users can turn on the air conditioning before arrival, as well as control the headlights and horn. Smartphone linking uses the cellular network to offer access to car information even from a distance, provided there is a cellular signal.

Mitsubishi will also provide a large range of accessories that will help enhance the look and functionality of your Triton, including a new sports bar, fender arch mouldings, side door garnishes, and grille emblems. For those looking for even more protection, they offer a bed liner for hard working Tritons.

We’re looking forward to seeing the new Triton here in WA to provide an up-close and hands-on comprehensive overview of its capabilities, functionalities and see just how well it stands up to the competition.

Drive Editor - Ray Cully
Drive Editor – Ray Cully

About our Motoring Editor: Ray has been passionate about all things automotive since he first started collecting Matchbox and Hot Wheels models when he was five. Since leaving his executive role at General Motors (GM), he’s been sharing his driving experiences with Australian audiences for nearly 20 years, commencing his automotive journalist career with a popular WA-based magazine and was writing his own column in The West Australian for 8 years.

Ray’s strong love of automotive engineering and clever design has seen his articles and photography featured in prominent national magazines in Australia and the UK. He loves sharing his passion with other drivers, including via a long running stint as Senior Instructor for Land Rover Experience, providing training and education for new vehicle owners.

Recently Ray has been presenting on TV shows including Ready for Adventure and the very popular Caravan and Camping WA, to showcase some of the great products, vehicles and companies that make getting out and exploring Western Australia that much more enjoyable.