Best Bakkie Triton now even better

Here’s a test we've been waiting for … is this new Mitsubishi Triton better than the 2018 Best Bakkie it replaces? In a word, yes — never mind that it’s also broken its own road test records — meet our new boss of stock four-pot double cab bakkies...

Of course road test results are a bakkie moot point — who cares about how quick a load lugger is? Not quite. See, bakkie performance is still just as critical as it is in that M and AMG neck of the woods. And just as important as off-road and load ability and how heavy a trailer it can legally pull.

Anyway, this new 4x4 Triton broke its rear wheel drive predecessor’s record — a pretty significant achievement all on its own. See, 4x4s are normally slower than RWD bakkies that are naturally lighter with less mechanical drag, so we must wait and see what a new 4x2 auto Triton achieves on our strip. Never mind a new biturbo Ranger. Interesting bakkie times indeed!

You may wonder how a sharper new look can benefit a bakkie’s performance, but don’t be fooled — Triton also packs an all-new, quiet and smooth-shifting Intelligent Shift Control 6-speed auto versus the old five-cog gear set and that’s likely where the improvement comes in. Maybe not quite as trick as a ten speed auto, but that extra gear clearly earns its keep.

The new one also takes care of several other old Triton shortcomings, all of which were still not enough to prevent it from becoming Best Bakkie last year. Its droopy-eyed looks have sharpened up and a critical lack of towing ability addressed — at 3.1 tons Triton is now right in the bakkie towing ballpark. 

Triton also benefits enhanced Super Select II 4x4, a rear diff lock, electronic off-road assistance, hill descent control and five driving modes. That’s boosted by a 5.9m turning circle, 220mm ground clearance, 28º Approach, 23º Departure and 25º ramp over angles and better rear dampers. Made it a synch for the least experienced of us to conquer the most daunting obstacles.

Triton is also very good on tarred surfaces where it delivers car-like performance and excellent ride and comfort. We found Mitsubishi’s frugal 7.6l/100km fuel consumption claim to be quite reasonable too — certainly very good for a bakkie of any description.

Triton boasts a modern and robust high-quality soft touch material rich cabin packed with latest tech from a comfy leather-clad tilt and telescopic multifunction steering backed by colourful voice controlled touch-screen infotainment, Bluetooth Radio/CD and an MP3 player.

Is there much wrong with Triton? Fundamentally no, but service and backup may be a concern in certain backwater regions versus the big players. Mitsubishi’s ever improving dealer body is addressing that, but as far as the vehicle itself goes, there is many a good reason why this bloody good bakkie has evolved into a quite brilliant one. 

Best of all? What it costs, actually — this flagship comes in at under R600K, where most of its rivals will set you back something considerably further north of that mark.

Is that enough to see Triton to its second Best Bakkie gong? That not going to be an easy task, especially with groundbreaking new pickups including Raptor and a real Merc V6 to contend, let alone what’s still to come before Judgement Day. 

For now rest assured that this new bakkie has already moved the Triton game on — not least by reasserting itself as the King on our test strip… Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mitsubishi Triton 2.4DI-D DC 4x4 auto
Engine:           133kW 430Nm 2398c turbo diesel I4
Drive:             6-speed automatic 4x4
Payload                      898kg
Max Braked Trailer: 3100kg
0-60km/h:                  3.98 sec
0-100km/h:                9.47 sec                       
0-160km/h:                27.32 sec         
400m:                         16.6 sec @ 132km/h   
80-120km/h:              6.87 sec
120-160km/h:            14.14 sec         
VMax:                          179km/h                                 
Fuel:                             8.3 l/100km                            
CO2:                            218 g/km
Warranty/Service      3y 100K/5y 90Kkm      
LIST PRICE:                 R589K              
RATED:                        90%