Mitsubishi’s new “Dynamic Shield” styling theme gives this bakkie more visual aggression.
Mitsubishi’s new “Dynamic Shield” styling theme gives this bakkie more visual aggression.
Image: Supplied

Less than six months after its world debut, the refreshed Mitsubishi Triton bakkie range has arrived in SA sporting bold new looks and updated technology at keen pricing.

In significant restyle that goes beyond the usual minor nip-and-tuck applied to vehicles in the middle of their life cycles, the Triton acquires Mitsubishi’s new “Dynamic Shield” frontal styling which can also be seen on the brand’s recently-launched Eclipse Cross SUV.

Higher-positioned new headlamps and a new grille lend the one-tonner a futuristic and robust look with a distinctly more imposing presence. The restyled tail lamps and newly sculpted body curves with extended wheel arches complete a distinctive cosmetic tweak that will serve the current Triton until its replacement is due in 2021. Three new colours are added to the palette including orange for the first time.

A number of under-the-skin enhancements include a change from five speeds to six in the automatic versions, with the extra gear serving to improve both driving refinement and fuel economy. The manual versions retain six speeds as before, and a 2.4l turbo diesel with outputs of 133kW and 430Nm remains the sole engine in the line-up.

Already known as a very accomplished off-road vehicle, the Triton has been given improved turf-tackling ability with its ground clearance raised from 205mm to 220mm, giving it a 28° approach angle, a 23° departure angle and 25° ramp-over angle.

Latest touchscreen infotainment is part of the interior upgrade.
Latest touchscreen infotainment is part of the interior upgrade.
Image: Supplied

In the 4x4 Triton the latest version of the Super Select II 4WD system now has an added Off-road Mode in the automatic derivative. This has gravel, mud/snow, sand and rock settings which adapt the engine power, transmission and braking to maximise traction for each particular surface.

The vehicle can be switched from rear-wheel drive to 4H mode which distributes torque in a 40:60 ratio between the front and rear wheels for safer driving on gravel and wet roads. A low range transfer case and a selectable rear diff lock enable the 4x4 Triton to take on extreme off-road conditions.

The Japanese bakkie proved its adventurous mettle at an off-road course that Mitsubishi Motors laid on in the Magaliesburg at the Triton’s media launch last week. The 4x4 auto was fairly effortless in tackling the muddy roller-coaster of a course; its elevated ride height kept the belly safe from scrapes while the all-wheel-drive traction and the burly power of the turbodiesel engine made short work of steep climbs.

Guiding the vehicle safely down extreme slopes, without the need for the driver to touch the brakes, is a new hill descent control (HDC) system. It’s a very effective and also refined HDC, without making clunky noises like earlier systems of its ilk.

The launch drive also took in tar roads, on which the Triton displayed strong performance with finesse. The engine makes impressive outputs despite having a smaller cubic capacity than rivals like the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max; it cruises effortlessly and turbo lag is relatively minor. It’s also a fairly soft-spoken four-cylinder engine with minimal agricultural clatter.

It makes a good workhorse with a three-ton towing capacity, and fuel consumption is claimed at 7.6l/100km.

Where bakkies like the Nissan Navara and Mercedes X-Class are adopting smoother-riding coil spring rear suspensions, the Triton still makes do with old-school leaf springs. However the suspension has been refined as part of the update and, while it delivers a bakkie-typical ride, it’s not uncomfortably bouncy.

The 2019 Triton also comes with interior luxury and comfort upgrades. Soft-touch materials create a more stylish interior look, and the bakkie acquires Mitsubishi’s latest touch-screen infotainment. Standard modcons include dual-zone climate control, leather seats, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and Bluetooth with voice control, among others.

The family-sized Triton has one of the roomiest double cabs in the segment, and the range-wide safety comprises seven airbags and ABS brakes.

The Triton is a niche player in SA’s bakkie market with just four derivatives on offer, all highly specced vehicles competing in the top echelon of the double-cab segment.

They are competitively-priced, with the range-topping Triton 2.4 4x4 auto retailing for about R25,000 less than its nearest rival. At R589,995 it undercuts competitors such as the Isuzu D-Max 300 LX 4x4 (R615,500), Ford Ranger 3.2 4x4 auto (R625,500), Nissan Navara 2.3 LE 4x4 auto (R626,500) and Toyota Hilux 2.8 Raider 4x4 auto (R637,500).

Mitsubishi Triton 2019 Pricing

Triton 2.4L DI-DC M/T 4x2 — R509,995

Triton 2.4L DI-DC A/T 4x2 — R529,995

Triton 2.4L DI-DC M/T 4x4 — R569,995

Triton 2.4L DI-DC A/T 4x4 — R589,995

Prices include three-year/100,000km warranty, five-year/90,000km service plan and five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance.

Service intervals are every 10,000km.