The first new-generation Mitsubishi Triton ute in eight years is coming to Australia in mid-2015, promising to deliver more utility, safety, efficiency and improved comfort levels.
Launched in Thailand today, from where Australian models will be sourced, the new fifth-generation Triton will compete in Australia's light commercial vehicle segment, doing battle with perennial favourites such as the top-selling Toyota HiLux and second-placed Ford Ranger.
The Triton is currently the third-best selling light commercial ute in Australia.
Boasting "muscular, sleek and dynamic styling" the new 2015 Triton now features obligatory LED running lights and is being pitched as more user-friendly than its predecessor. Comfort and noise levels are on par with many passenger cars, claims the Japanese company.
Improved refinement levels come via the adoption of an all-aluminium 2.4-litre turbo-diesel engine which, for the Thai market, pumps out 133kW/430Nm, as well as improved insulation materials and a new aerodynamic exterior.
Gear shifting is taken care of by a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.
The new 2.4-litre oiler is dubbed 4N15 and uses common rail direct fuel injection to deliver diesel into the cylinders. It is 20 per cent more fuel efficient than the previous range-topping 2.5-litre turbo-diesel (130kW/400Nm) according to Mitsubishi, which will be retained in some markets, albeit with "improvements". Ditto for the carryover 2.4-litre petrol engine (94kW/194Nm).
No fuel consumption figures have been announced, but in future a parallel hybrid version of the Triton will offer customers a low emission choice.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia will retain the popular three body style Triton range, including single cab, club and double cab body types, with rear and four-wheel drive available.
As well as a newly-designed cabin with a tidy-looking touch-screen display, Triton has more interior room than before, particularly the double cab models: they get an increase of 20mm in legroom and 10mm more shoulder room. Based on the Thai press material, the cargo bed's length and width are unchanged but there is more load space thanks to an increase in depth.
The Triton will retain its class-leading turning circle of 11.8 metres kerb to kerb, and the 'Easy Select' 4WD system on applicable variants will also carry over, offering three modes: 2H, 4H and 4L.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia Executive Director of Marketing, Tony Principe, declared the new Triton will continue the success of the current model as a dual role work and family vehicle.
"New Triton makes a significant leap forward in all areas, particularly in terms of passenger comfort, manoeuvrability and efficiency, and still delivers on the toughness, reliability and off-road performance that have made Triton such a success in Australia," he said
Although details are likely change for Australian market models, there are few new features that truly push the envelope in terms of technology or safety. In the face of renewed competition from the facelifted Ford Ranger, launching at around the same time in mid-2015, this could be a tough challenge for the Mitsubishi ute.
The new Ranger is expected to benefit from a range of advanced technologies announced in the Everest SUV, which could include automatic emergency braking and a curve control system designed to keep the vehicle in control if it approaches a corner too quickly.
Nevertheless, Mitubishi Motors Australia may be holding a few aces up its sleeve in terms of technology, the company's Head of Corporate Communications, Shayna Welsh, telling motoring.com.au the new Triton "will be a five-star [ANCAP]" vehicle, the highest safety rating possible.
The current dual cab Triton measures 5210mm in length, whereas the new version is slightly longer at 5280mm. However the wheelbase of 3000mm is identical to the previous model.
Ground clearance varies between 195mm and 205mm depending on the model. Dual cab models have approach and departure angles of 30 and 22 degrees. Rampover angle is 24 degrees.
As Mitsubishi Motors Australia's highest-selling vehicle, the Triton is crucial to the success of the brand – here and overseas. The Triton will eventually be sold in a total of 150 countries world-wide, including regions such as Europe, Oceania, Africa and Middle East. So far in 2014 more than one million Tritons have found homes.
Mitsubishi says it will confirm the specification and pricing of the new Triton ute closer to its local launch in mid-2015. For the record, the current Triton retails for between $20,990 and $48,240.
Words by Feann Torr, www.motoring.com.au
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