MITSUBISHI Australia (MMAL) will see in the New Year with a thorough re-skinning of its best-selling model, the Triton mid-size ute.
As well as fresh sheetmetal the 2019 Triton comes with new driver assistance and safety tech including AEB, to bring it in line with the class-leaders – X-Class and Ranger – which are currently the only utes to offer it.
The Triton sits solidly in third place in the 2018 sales race for new 4x4 utes, trailing only the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger; while it’s ahead of other popular models such as the Holden Colorado, Nissan Navara and Isuzu D-Max. Globally, Australia is the second biggest market after Thailand for Triton sales.
As it is such an important model for MMAL, it’s no surprise the South Australian-based company can’t get the new model here fast enough. It will appear in Mitsubishi showrooms from late-December before its official launch date early in 2019.
The 2019 model has a bigger and bolder look than its predecessors, despite remaining a smaller vehicle than some of its competitors. That size isn’t a bad thing, as not everyone wants a bigger ute, and the shorter wheelbase gives the Triton a tighter turning circle and better maneuverability.
The bigger appearance comes from a bold, new front end with tough lines and high-mounted headlights, while, down the side of the ute, squarer wheel arches and a new styling line give it a stronger appearance. A deeper cargo tub also emphasises the bigger look. Mitsubishi calls the front-end look Dynamic Shield face, and it is in keeping with other recent vehicles in the Mitsubishi range.
Aside from the new look, the other big news is the addition of driver aid technologies including Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM/AEB), Blind Spot Warning and Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS). UMS guards against accidental hard acceleration in both forward and reverse gears during slow manoeuvres such as parking.
The electronic tech flows through to the four-wheel drive system, where a Terrain Response-like Off-Road mode offers specific Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand and Rock modes to maximise all-terrain and grip performance through the integrated control of engine power, auto transmission and electronic stability control settings.
The Triton remains the only ute in this class to offer a transfer case with the choice of 2WD (rear), full-time 4WD for on-road use, locked 4WD for off-road use, and locked low range 4WD for serious off-road terrain. A rear diff lock is offered on some variants, but it’s unclear yet as to which variants that will be when it lands in Australia.
The Super-Select II 4WD system will come on upper-spec 4x4 variants; while the lower grades will come standard with conventional part-time 4WD, which doesn’t give the driver the benefit of an on-road AWD setting.
Elsewhere in the driveline a new six-speed automatic transmission replaces the old five-speeder, while a six-speed manual is still offered. The 2.4-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine is carried over with some refinements including higher injection pressure, but there are no significant leaps in performance or economy. The turbocharged engine makes a modest 133kW at 3500rpm and 430Nm at 2500rpm, which has proven to be capable enough in the previous model, and we see no reason why this will change.
The ladder-frame chassis remains unchanged for the most part, aside from some strengthening, and it still employs the same independent coil-sprung front end and a leaf-sprung live rear axle. There is no word yet on load and towing capacities, but expect little if any increases there.
The Triton will continue to be available in 4x2 and 4x4 models, with a choice of single-, double- and extra-cabs, and at least three trim grades. More details on trim grades and specifications for Australian Tritons will be revealed closer to the local launch.
We’ll be driving the Thai-spec Triton on tracks near Bangkok in the country where it is made, and we’ll have a review of how it performs on Tuesday night. Stay tuned!