It’s been almost 10 years since the last time a new generation of the Mitsubishi Triton was launched but this is not unusual for pick-up trucks. Like other commercial vehicles, such vehicles have longer product cycles than passenger cars and 7 – 10 years has been the norm. Of course, with the market becoming more competitive, it has been a challenge for distributors to keep the product relevant and appealing for such a long period, more so as the pick-up truck is also targeted at the more ‘trendy’ lifestyle customers.

Anyway, today sees the launch of an all-new Triton, the fifth generation since the model line was introduced in 1978 (the earlier generations had names such as L200 and Storm). Like its predecessor, its design has extra flair which makes it more stylish than utilitarian – an approach which has made it more appealing to those who buy it for personal daily use.

Prices shown above are for Peninsular Malaysia and include GST but not insurance premiums

'J-line' between cabin and rear deck (left) improves cabin space while also providing generous cargo volume. Xenon HID headlamps with day running lights (right) are a highlight of the new Triton

Developed as the ‘Ultimate Sport Utility Truck’, the new Triton can be recognised by an entirely new frontal design with distinctive headlights and a 3-dimensional look. Viewed in profile, its forward flowing design (with a low drag coefficient of 0.42 Cd) incorporates a ‘J-line’ between the cabin and rear deck. This design feature helps to maximize interior space while providing generous cargo volume.

A comparison of the dimensions of the new Triton (4×4 variant) shows that it is 15 mm shorter but has 15 mm more width so it’s virtually the same size as before. However, improved packaging in the double cab cabin has increased spaciousness with 20 mm more legroom and 10 mm more shoulder room.

The passenger car-like interior that was a strong point of the previous generation has been enhanced further with better materials and trim colour themes. And just as the previous generation was a trendsetter in the pick-up segment, its successor also brings to the segment first-in-class features such as pushstart ignition button, keyless entry/locking, paddle shifters, xenon HID headlamps with integrated Daytime Running Lights (on certain variants) , and tilt/telescopic steering. New features are a rotary dial to select 4×4 modes, touchscreen audio system with reverse camera, automatic headlamp and wiper operation, and Dual-Zone Climate Control.

Like other Mitsubishi models, the new Triton has RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body construction which uses high tensile steel that effectively absorbs and disperses crash energy from all directions while also significantly reducing overall weight. Impact bars are installed within the side doors for additional protection against side collisions.

Other safety features that are standard across the range include dual SRS airbags, a collapsible steering column and anti-intrusion brake pedal, which is made to fold away during an accident. ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) is also fitted as standard. EBD is particularly useful as it balances braking forces between the front and rear wheels whenever the load varies. This ensures that even when the vehicle is not loaded and the rear end is lighter, the possibility of wheel lock-up and skidding on slippery surfaces during braking will be reduced.

For the Malaysian market, the new Triton (imported in CBU form from Thailand) comes with an improved and proven 2.5-litre DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine with an intercooled Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) and high-pressure common-rail fuel delivery system. The engine produces 178 ps at 4000 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 2000 rpm (50 Nm more than before) and though this is not at the same level as other 2.5-litre pick-ups, the lighter weight of the new Triton (compared to the other models) compensates to give it the best weight-to-power ratio.

For the more business-oriented customers, there’s the Triton Quest which is powered by a 2.5- litre turbodiesel engine, also with a common-rail fuel system that delivers fuel efficiently. This proven engine has an output of 110 ps/200 Nm which goes only to the rear wheels (4×2 drivetrain).

An efficient 5-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode is available, as well as a 5-speed manual transmission. 4×4 variants have Mitsubishi’s Easy Select 4WD system which distributes power to the front and rear axles. The Easy Select 4WD system has been continuously improved over two decades and is a robust drivetrain able to handle high torque levels.

5-speed automatic transmission has SPORT mode for manual selection. 4x4 system is now managed by a rotary dial (left). On some variants, paddle shifters are provided (right), a first for pick-up trucks in Malaysia

Besides a 3-year (or 100, 000 km) factory warranty, the new Triton comes with 2 years of free scheduled maintenance which will reduce running costs. Additionally, the first 2,000 customers to book and register the new model will receive a free RM138 worth of fuel (terms and conditions apply).

Introducing the all-new Triton, Won-Chul Yang, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) said: “The Triton is the best-selling model for Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia. Since being launched in 2006, over 56,000 units have been sold nationwide. For the new model, we have set the sales target set at 900 units a month, which will translate into a 20% market share of the pick-up truck segment in Malaysia.”

To locate a showroom to view and test-drive the new Triton, visit www.mitsubishi-motors.com.my.

[Chips Yap]

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