The facelifted version of Mitsubishi’s Triton double-cab bakkie has arrived in South Africa with bolder styling and a handful of new features, including a 6-speed automatic transmission. It certainly looks the part, but how does it perform? And, should you consider the new-look Triton over its rivals? Let’s take a closer look...
We Like: Handsome styling, willing performance, good ride quality, fuel consumption and off-road ability
We Don’t Like: Interior styling/finishes could be better, dated cabin look
- Price: R589 995 (May 2019)
- Engine: 2.4-litre turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed automatic
- Power/Torque: 133 kW / 430 Nm
- Fuel Economy: 8.3 L/100 km
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Where does it fit in?
The Triton looks better than ever with its new "Dynamic Shield" front-end.
This generation of the Mitsubishi Triton arrived rather late to our market (in 2017) and while sales have been steady, the Japanese bakkie should fare better considering that it’s a worthy and capable value offering that competes in a market where buyers tend to be loyal to established brands.
Now, the gloves appear to have come off – Mitsubishi has introduced a facelifted Triton, which is arguably one of the best-looking double cabs on sale in South Africa. While it’s futuristic "Dynamic Shield" styling boosts the Triton’s kerb appeal considerably, we were particularly keen to sample the newcomer's 6-speed automatic transmission. Does this latest Triton make a stronger case for itself and, moreover, should you reconsider it?
How does it fare in terms of…
Engine performance and fuel economy?
Performance is good overall and the new 6-speed automatic transmission is well-matched to the engine.
For this facelift, Mitsubishi has stuck with its tried-and-tested 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine (that offers 133 kW and 430 Nm of torque) in the Triton. While those peak outputs are generally lower than those of its rivals, the 4-cylinder engine offers ample pulling power, even it’s not quite as punchy as some of its larger-engined rivals. It’s relatively refined, but its engine note does become more audibly strained/noisier at higher revs.
The new 6-speed automatic transmission, which supersedes the 5-speed self-shifter in the pre-facelift Triton, is perhaps the most pleasant update. It’s well-matched to the engine and operates smoothly and, by-and-large, unobtrusively. We found the transmission's performance quite satisfactory; there really was little need to make manual shifts via the paddle shifters. They're useful for snappy downshifts or when you are offroad, however.
With an extra gear in the mix (and apart from improving the Triton’s on-road refinement), the transmission has enhanced the bakkie's efficiency. Mitsubishi claims a fuel consumption figure of 8.3 L/100km and we were mightily impressed to see figures of around 8.6 L/100km during our test.
Ride and handling?
The Triton offers a comfortable and forgiving ride on tar and in the dirt.
We took the Triton on a fishing excursion in the Western Cape, during which we had the opportunity to test it on tar and on gravel. A composed ride quality is something the Triton has always been renowned for and buyers will be happy to know that it still rides comfortably on various surfaces. It's smooth on the highway and only on really poor surfaces does the Triton become a bit jittery, but for the most part, it’s composed and well-sprung.
The steering wheel is relatively light in feel, which makes close-quarter turning easier, but like most double-cab bakkies, the size of the vehicle can be overwhelming in places such as confined parking lots. Thankfully, a reverse-view camera is fitted to assist in manoeuvring the Triton safely.
This latest Triton is hugely capable and has much to offer in terms of off-road ability.
The Triton remains a capable off-roader thanks to, inter alia, its effective Super Select II 4x4 system, which offers a handful of off-road modes (Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand and Rock) that can be selected via a rotary dial in the Mitsubishi's centre console. Low range with a locked centre differential and a separate rear differential lock ensure maximum capability in more difficult 4x4 driving situations.
We did some spirited sand driving in the Triton and, thanks to its good ground clearance (220 mm), the bakkie felt surefooted in the rough stuff. Mitsubishi has also included hill descent control, which automatically manages the vehicle's speed on downhills, thereby allowing the driver to leave the brake pedal alone and focus their attention on steering the bakkie. In terms of towing, the Triton has a maximum capacity of 3 100 kg (braked).
Interior execution and features?
While perhaps not as stylish as some of its rivals, the Triton's interior is reasonably well-equipped with standard features.
Overall, the Triton's cabin has a good perceived build quality, but the interior layout, in contrast with the bold exterior design, lacks some visual appeal. Harder plastics dominate (in keeping with the Triton’s workhorse credentials), but the cabin still offers reasonable comfort and convenience.
The integral infotainment system in the fascia and its surrounding control layout look dated compared with other systems on the bakkie market, but the former still provides useful functionality such as Bluetooth with voice control and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. Other notable interior features include cruise control, dual-zone climate control, electric folding side mirrors and a rake/reach-adjustable multifunction steering wheel.
The full-colour touchscreen infotainment system features Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and satellite navigation.
The driver’s seat is also electrically adjustable for added convenience. Meanwhile, the space for those seated in the back is average (in terms of available legroom, taller passengers might struggle), but the centre armrest does provide 2 cupholders. In terms of safety, a total of 7 airbags are standard as is ABS with EBD, brake assist, active stability and traction control and hill start assist. ISOFIX child seat anchors are also fitted.
Price and warranty
The Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 DI-D 4x4 automatic is priced from R589 995 and is sold with a 3-year/100 000 km warranty and a 5-year/90 000 km service plan.
For a double-cab bakkie under R600k, the Triton 4x4 automatic represents good value for money.
This latest-spec Triton is by far the best-looking version of the (if not a) Japanese bakkie that has ever been sold in the South African new vehicle market. If you are looking to buy a head-turning double cab, then this is certainly worthy of your attention. Its interior styling doesn’t quite match its flashy exterior, but the Triton comes equipped with a reasonable number of features and offers good levels of comfort and convenience.
The newcomer offers willing, if not stellar, performance, in combination with commendable fuel efficiency and an excellent ride quality. As before, the Triton strikes a good balance between being a comfortable adventure lifestyle vehicle and serving as a capable workhorse when it's called to do so.
With high-end derivatives of the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok, Mercedes X-Class, Nissan Navara etc. priced far north of R600k, the Triton is a tough-as-nails offering that represents good value at its price point. In its latest guise, it deserves to fare better against its rivals.
Alternatives (Click on names of specification details)
The Ford Ranger was recently facelifted and a new 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine is now on offer with 132 kW and 420 Nm and comes mated with a new 10-speed automatic transmission. Armed with a comprehensive list of standard features, the latest Ranger makes a strong case for itself with a price tag of R570 200.
The Toyota Hilux is a popular choice albeit with a higher asking price than the Triton (R637 500). The Hilux's 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine offers similar outputs of 130 kW and 450 Nm of torque and comes mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
In 4x4 LX automatic guise, the Isuzu D-Max costs R627 900 and its 3.0-litre turbodiesel produces 130 kW and 380 Nm of torque. The Isuzu is not as refined as the Triton, nor does it match its ride quality, but the D-Max is a reliable and tough workhorse that can double as a lifestyle vehicle.