So what’s the most underrated bakkie on the market? Well, that’s an easy one to answer. It’s the Mitsubishi Triton. Somehow its monthly sales totally defy its real-world advantages in so many ways.
First off, Triton is still the quickest 4-cylinder turbodiesel double-cab bakkie we have ever tested. And yes, that includes the new 150 kW Hilux, the hot Biturbo Ranger, and the rest. Never mind, it’s the cheapest of the lot — and that denotes price only, mind you.
TRITON AS GOOD AS THE BEST. BETTER THAN MOST
Sharp and sophisticated, Triton actually lacks in nothing. Except in customer confidence, it seems. This is such a pity, because, in our opinion, it’s as good as the best. And better than most rivals.
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 4×4 Triton broke its rear-wheel-drive predecessor’s 0-100 record in our test. And that’s a pretty significant achievement all on its own. Why? well because 4x4s are usually slower than RWD bakkies. They are naturally lighter with less mechanical drag.
SIX-SPEED AUTO DOESN’T MISS EXTRA COGS
Triton also gained an all-new, quiet, and smooth-shifting Intelligent Shift Control 6-speed auto versus the old five-cog gear set along with its many other facelift enhancements. This is likely where its athletic improvement comes in. It may not be quite as tricky as a ten-speed auto, but that extra new cog clearly earns its keep.
Triton also benefits from enhanced Super Select II 4×4, 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. Makes it a cinch for the least experienced 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 7.6 l/100km fuel consumption claim to be quite reasonable too — certainly very good for a one-ton bakkie of any description.
IT’S FAR SHARPER TOO. AND NOT JUST IN LOOKS
This current model also took care of several other old Triton shortcomings. Its droopy-eyed looks were sharpened up and a critical lack of towing ability addressed — at 3.1 tons, Triton is right in the bakkie towing ballpark.
Triton boasts a modern and robust high-quality soft-touch material rich cabin packed with the 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 the 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.
AND TRITON IS A ONE HELL OF A BARGAIN TOO
Best of all? What it costs, actually — this flagship comes in at over R629K, where most of its rivals will set you back something considerably further north of that mark.
Is that enough to see Triton scale the bakkie sales charts? That not an easy task. Especially with groundbreaking new blockbuster-selling pickups including ever-improved R769K Hilux Legends and R778K Ranger Wildtraks out there too.
So rest assured that this bakkie moves the Triton game on and then some. Not least by reasserting itself as the King on our test strip and costing considerably less than anything that dare call itself a rival… 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: 898 kg 7 Braked Trailer: 3100 kg 7 TESTED: 0-60km/h: 3.98 sec 9 0-100km/h: 9.47 sec 10 0-160km/h: 27.32 sec 400m: 16.6 sec @ 132 km/h 9 80-120km/h: 6.87 sec 9 120-160km/h: 14.14 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 179km/h Fuel: 8.3 l/100km 6 CO2: 218 g/km 6 Warranty/Service: 3y 100K/5y 90K km 7 LIST PRICE: R629K 8 RATED: 78