Mitsubishi’s next-generation ute will have Australian fingerprints all over it.
The 2023 Triton dual-cab ute has been developed with a strong Australian focus, as Mitsubishi looks to close the gap with Ford and Toyota atop the sales charts.
“Triton is a really important product for us, and it’s a really important product for MMC globally, so we’ve been part of that project since day one,” Owen Thomson, senior manager of product strategy for Mitsubishi Australia, told CarExpert.
“It’s all about the specification, even to the extent of styling. We’ve had a number of trips to Japan to review the styling model, and had input into that,” he said.
Mr Thomson wouldn’t confirm whether Triton test mules are currently being tested Down Under, but confirmed Mitsubishi Australia “always” validates new vehicles locally.
“We’re one of the important markets. With Triton – probably since the 2015 model – we’ve been involved with local testing.
“We’re very lucky because we tend to be one of the first, if not the first, overseas market to drive the vehicle. That’s no different for this car, but of course COVID has thrown a big spanner in the works.
“We do want to get vehicles here to do local development before the vehicle goes to market, but managing that is quite difficult with COVID,” he told CarExpert.
With our mix of smooth highways, pitted b-roads, and a huge network of gravel roads, Australia is a tough proving ground for new cars.
Australian new-car buyers also have unique demands around their cars, particularly their dual-cab utes.
“Australians are very practical. One of the key things for us is the practicality and functionality of the vehicle, and how you use it every day.
“The other thing is the way the vehicle drives, particularly around suspension. We have huge diversity around geography and conditions, not just climactic but in our road conditions.
“We’re of the belief… if it works in Australia it’s probably going to work anywhere.”
For Mitsubishi, meeting the demands of its big Australian fleet buyers is a critical cog in the development process of its strong-selling ute.
Mr Thomson says we can expect more models, including the upcoming Outlander, to get an Australian tune before hitting local showrooms.
Details about the next-generation Triton haven’t been revealed, but there’s a number of key areas where the current model will likely be improved.
At 5305mm long and 1815mm wide with a 3000mm wheelbase, the current model is 35mm longer than an Isuzu D-Max, but 85mm narrower with a 125mm shorter wheelbase.
That impacts its towing and load-lugging ability, as well as the amount of space available in the tray.
As revealed by CarExpert in 2020, the next-generation Ford Ranger will pack plug-in hybrid power.
It’s not been confirmed, but Mr Thomson told CarExpert plug-in hybrid is a “core technology” for Mitsubishi in its new models.
Could a Triton plug-in hybrid be coming to take on the Blue Oval’s high-tech new dual-cab?
We’re expecting the new Triton in the 2022 Japanese financial year with significant, followed by a new ute-based Pajero Sport SUV in 2023.
The current Triton was given a major overhaul in 2019, but was originally launched in 2015.