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Triton tested

By Dylan Afuang

BY INTRODUCING locally the Triton — which boasts new hardware and modern features — Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) strengthens its presence in the popular pickup truck sector.

Unveiled worldwide last year, the Triton succeeds the Mitsubishi’s pickup truck line that once bore the names L200 and, of more recall to the local market, the Strada.

Seven variants of the Triton are available, with three four-wheel drive (4WD) and four two-wheel drive (2WD) models, with available with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions and four doors.

These trims are the Triton GL 2WD MT (P1.134 million), GLX 2WD MT (P1.311 million), GLX 2WD AT (P1.383 million), GLS 2WD AT (P1.582 million), GL 4WD MT (P1.157 million), GLX 4WD MT (P1.561 million), and the range-topping Athlete 4WD AT (P1.909 million).

“We believe this pickup will be a game-changer in the pickup segment,” MMPC President and CEO Takeshi Hara boasted during the Triton’s press launch, which also began the public showcase for the pickup that was graced by two-time Dakar Rally champion Hiroshi Masuoka, who raced a Triton Athlete around on a makeshift dirt course.

“Because we designed (the Triton) from the ground up,” Mr. Hara continued, “(it will) cater to Filipinos’ different lifestyles, it can be a workhorse or travel companion… a comfortable and functional (truck) at the same time.”

Powering the new truck is the brand’s newly developed 4N16 2.4-liter turbodiesel engine with varying outputs. The twin-turbo mill of the Triton Athlete model produces 201hp and 470Nm of torque. Exclusive to this model are electric power steering, seven drive modes, and active yaw control and Super Select II 4WD for better traction.

Lower variants use a single-turbo unit with 180hp and 430Nm, with the 4WD versions receiving Easy Select 4WD and hydraulic power steering. Standard on all 4WD trucks, regardless of trim level, is a rear differential lock that boosts its off-road capabilities.

All these are supported by the Triton’s new chassis, which is said to feature a redesigned suspension upgrade utilizing lightweight leaf springs with a longer suspension rebound. Depending on the variant, ground clearance ranges from 203mm to 223mm.

For his part, MMPC Senior Manager for Product Planning Allan Cruz explained to “Velocity” the reason behind the pickup’s new name. “The Triton name has actually been used in other markets for some time, and with the launch of the all-new model, we wanted to align with the global branding for our pickups,” Mr. Cruz said.

The executive added that the model’s GL 2WD- and 4WD MT variants are poised to serve fleet customers. In keeping with their fleet orientations, these GL trims feature basic black fabric upholstery in their five-passenger cabin.

In the more upscale Athlete and the GLS, these come with a nine-inch infotainment screen with six speakers, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These two trims also come standard with wireless charging, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, and push-start ignition.

Beyond its orange exterior finish contrasted by gloss black finishes, the Triton Athlete further differentiates itself inside with orange leather with black suede inserts and a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat.

When asked by the media on the sidelines of the launch about the Triton’s expected monthly sales, Mr. Hara said that MMPC will aim for a “higher segment market share.” The executive also confirmed that Mitsubishi’s Thailand plant, which will produce the model for the Philippines, is ready to supply the model’s demand here.

For safety, the Athlete and the GLS boasts of advanced driver-assistance systems and a 360-degree camera. The GLX, on the other hand, comes with a single reversing camera.

The top two variants’ safety suite include forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning with lane-changing assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure alert, and auto high beam.

Above these, the Athlete offers hill-descent control, emergency assist for pedal misapplication, lane departure warning, and parking sensors.

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