Given how the Toyota Hilux is dominating the sales charts is astounding.
From a sales perspective it’s near unrivalled at the top and goes about raking in the sales without much hassle. Behind it is the Ford Ranger, who sits pretty nicely and then the rest of the crew.
But some way down the order is the Mitsubishi Triton. A bakkie with much promise and stellar credentials to make it a real rival to the top two bakkies in South Africa.
Like the two market leaders, the Triton also received a comprehensive upgrade in 2019 and makes the bakkie look far more modern and aggressive than the previous model. The changes were largely cosmetic and the engine does not feature any new upgrades.
Here’s a quick rundown on why the Triton deserves a bit more credit:
In the second half of 2018 Mitsubishi added a special Athlete model to its Triton range. A cosmetically enhanced bakkie to herald the last phase of that model’s run. This year the Triton sees a complete departure from the old bakkie. It brings the vehicle's design in-line with Mitsubishi’s other products; creating uniformity among the brand's offerings.
The Triton’s grille is more upright and chrome is used quite liberally to create a unique face. Along the side the bakkie retains the J-line that runs between the cabin and the loading bay.
The interior also sees greater improvement and all derivatives in the four-model range have leather seats, electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, and a multimedia system with satellite navigation. The two automatic models even have paddles behind the steering wheel to change gears with.
The Triton uses the same engine as the previous model and the turbocharged 2.4-litre diesel engine also does not feature any power upgrades. 133kW and 430Nm are sent to all four corners and is there always enough grunt to get the bakkie going.
What is an issue, though, is that the torque is available at a relatively high 2500rpm - compared to the Hilux and Ranger which sees its torque kick in below 2000rpm in both rivals.
This hampers the bakkie’s lowdown pulling power and the accelerator needs some encouragement for the torque to kick in. It’s not too troublesome, but you do pick up the shortage when having driven either the Hilux or the Ranger. To make up for it, in some way, is Mitsubishi’s Super Select II 4x4 system. It’s easy to use and is perhaps one of the smartest and most efficient 4x4 systems on the market today.
The Triton’s engine may not be a market leader, but its drive is one of the finest. It’s both soft and comfortable and affords the bakkie with a ride quality akin to that of an SUV. Some might not be in favour of it, but experiencing it could change your mind.
Price: Mitsubishi Triton 2.4 double cab 4x4 auto - R599 995