By Andrew Muzamhindo
THE Mitsubishi Triton rates up there with the most aggressive looking bakkies currently on sale in Zimbabwe. It is available from Zimoco ex-stock in single and double cab versions. It Is not an ordinary looking bakkie.
It comes as a very striking alternative. Neither the Hilux nor the Ranger can compete with the Triton in terms of looks, at least in my opinion. The Triton has more corky looks than the Hilux, Ranger or Isuzu. A person with a corky personality is lively, bubbly and generally fun to be around with.
In my opinion the Mitsubishi Triton looks as if it can stand toe-to-toe with the Hilux. For once it is aggressive enough to show its intent for the top spot.
It is impossible not to compare any bakkie to the Hilux.
It has been the bench mark of bakkies over the years but locally the Mitsubishi is slowly getting some market share due to its ability to get down and get the tough jobs done, looks, practicality, performance, tech savviness and safety features.
There can be no denying the Triton’s battle both against its rivals and the public’s perception. It has to fight harder than most bakkies. And that is a shame, because the Triton virtually puts no foot wrong. It has a strong design bakkies require and it has the on-road presence. But it beats me why it just can’t win opinion over.
The revised Triton range comprises both manual and automatic versions. And both derivatives can be had in either 4×2 or 4×4. I have tested all versions.
For starters, leather upholstery is standard and the driver’s seat can be adjusted electronically. All four doors are fitted with electric windows and access to the cabin can be granted without using the key (as long as the sensor’s pick it up). Other standard features include cruise control, voice control, and a new multimedia system that is fitted with satellite navigation.
What is particularly nice about the new Triton is the rear tailgate. Unlike the other bakkies it competes against, the Triton’s tailgate has an additional hydraulic mechanism that prevents the tailgate from slamming down when you open it. Gone are the days when the latch would fall open and hit you in a spot you don’t want to be hit. Sadly, the tailgate cannot be locked.
The engine still produces 133kW and 430Nm, but has now been mated with a six-speed automatic gearbox. Not a fiver as with the previous model.
Despite the torque being available relatively high up the rev range, there is no letting up from the Triton as it always finds the right beat on the open road. The drive is smooth, steering is very comfortable, and there is never really the impression that you’re driving a bakkie. And it’s here where Mitsubishi’s got one up over its direct rivals.
The Hilux and Ranger (the D-Max, too) are trying to be jacks of all trades, being both a workhorse and leisure bakkie. Though the features and specification in the higher models of these bakkies underline the leisure traits, they still drive like bakkies. Improvements have been made over the years, but not to the point where they have the Triton’s ride quality.
Mitsubishi knows that the Triton will never sell as many units as the Hilux, Ranger, and D-Max, hence the Triton’s focus on being leisure bakkie that drives like an SUV. And all on the same type of platform as its rivals.
Bakkie purists will scoff at the Triton, but the informed consumer will have complete understanding of this.
The new Mitsubishi Triton 2,4 double cab 4×4 automatic is considerably cheaper than its rivals, but it is in no way an inferior bakkie.
The craftsmanship is good, build quality is on point, and it has a fantastic drive to support it.
Sales are picking up pointing to the fact that it is a good bakkie that is gaining market share locally. It now has road presence. You cannot go into town and not come across a few of them. My test drive made me realise that this bakkie deserves a fair chance in our brand loyal market.
The all new Mitsubishi Triton has an SUV appeal but it is still built to be tough first and foremost. Standard safety kit is quite comprehensive on the Triton, and includes ABS, traction control, seven airbags and rear ISOFIX child seat anchors.
It performed well in crash testing as well, scoring 5 stars under the ANCAP evaluation. Combine this bubble of protection with positive handling characteristics, and you end up with a bakkie, which will not only do its best to keep you out of an accident, but will also protect you really well if you cannot avoid getting into one.
Hilux, the market leader, deserves its position for various reasons, but the all new Triton has put on its boxing gloves and is ready to go toe-to-toe.
Given a choice I would go for the Mitsubishi Triton for the reason that it offers value for money and practicality without compromising on ride quality and safety