Published on September 20th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mitsubishi Triton Media Drive Report
Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia doesn’t have very many cars in their range. But in some cases, having a limited range can be a blessing; and for Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia this is definitely the case as it has allowed them to focus on their core product: the Mitsubishi Triton. Now in it’s second generation in our market, in reality the Triton hails from a long line of pickup trucks that stretches back to the 1970s. Mitsubishi is now keen to capitalize on this link as it shows their expertise and how the product has developed with each generation.
With the last generation came a large shift in powertrain offerings, as Mitsubishi began to offer the 178 PS, 350 Nm VGT powerplant in place of their larger 3.2 litre diesel motors. This VGT motor brought the Triton into the modern age, with it’s quick spooling and respectable power outputs, as well as proven strength and reliability over the last few years.
Of course, the problem with introducing a more advanced powertrain with a facelift model is that it limits what can be done to set the next generation apart. This new Triton adopts the same VGT powertrain as before, although it now has 400 Nm of torque in place of 350 Nm. Mitsubishi’s technical consultants said this was owed largely in part to the new gearboxes that come with this generaton, as they can take a higher torque rating without risk of breaking.
From the outside, it’s not easy to tell old and new apart on a cursory glance. The overall styling is the same, with the more obvious differences being headlight and tail lamp design. While the exterior dimensions haven’t changed much, the interior has benefited from an increase in space in length, height, and width- a result of careful studies in packaging. These are all subtle touches that you feel more than you see, but are just as appreciable.
What has been changed from a technical standpoint is the front end chassis strength, which has been improved in order to take more punishment and reduce torsional flex. The rear end also gets longer, more robust leaf springs to improve load carrying capacity as well as comfort. Again, these are things that you don’t see so much as feel.
The Triton is that it’s always been a highly capable workhorse, and has more than proven itself in a variety of scenarios. What is a larger concern for Mitsubishi is how this car will be received by the new wave of urban consumers who pick a pickup truck as a lifestyle choice instead of for utilitarian purposes- so it’s appropriate that our route for the drive took us mostly along the beaten path, with an interlude for some off-road action.
The majority of the miles covered were on highways and trunk roads- the kind of thing you might travel along when taking a roadtrip or heading back for balik kampung. The Triton performs as reasonably as one would expect in terms of handling, although the ride comfort is commendable for a pickup truck. Other offerings on the market tend to be a little wallowy and soft, or stiff and jumpy- and the Triton manages to find a good balance between the two.
Looking around the interior, there has definitely been effort put into making the Triton a more appealing lifestyle product. The dashboard feels more streamlined, with a good mix of materials to provide contrast. The entertainment system, while still not as integrated as you’d expect, is pretty useable. On the higher spec models there’s dual-zone climate control- something we only missed when stepping into the lower spec Tritons.
The paddle shifters have been a subject of mild controversy (or amusement, depending on where you stand), but the simple fact is this: if you have never used a paddle shifter system before, this feature probably won’t be important to you. If you have, and can effectively use a paddle shifter system, you can appreciate the convenience for shifting and overtaking slower moving traffic on highways and trunk roads. Arguably one could move the shift lever manually, but the convenience is appreciated. Even when crawling along ruts offroad, having the paddle shifters on hand allows swift and easy shifting to ensure you’re always in an appropriate gear.
So this new Triton is one step closer to the civilized passenger car that urbanites want. It hasn’t lost any of the robust traits that made it a reliable workhorse, and it has gained plenty in the department of comfort. But while this new generation has improved in various areas, there is one problem that is becoming apparent- a lack of secure storage space for cargo.
In an SUV, there is a safe, secure cargo area for putting things like luggage- basically valuables at risk of getting nicked while stopped in traffic. With the Triton there is no such option unless you opt for a locking bed cover, and in most cases storing the luggage in the cabin means that the Triton can really only seat 3 people for extended road trips. But if this really presents a problem for you, then perhaps the up and coming Pajero Sport may be more your thing.