Mitsubishi Triton Conquering the terrain


Mitsubishi’s constantly evolving stable of pickup trucks offers a variety of options for the discerning buyers with a eclectic palate of requirements.

This is especially true of the famous Triton family of pickups.

The latest addition to the collection of pickups is the all new Triton VGT, a variant that incorporates the new VGT diesel powertrain also found in the Pajero Sport VGT introduced in Malaysia last year.

Touted as the most powerful pickup in its class, the newbie’s 2.

5-litre engine was enhanced with Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) to attain an optimal turbo aspect ratio at any speed.

This was assisted in part by the intercooler which allowed more air to be pumped into the engine’s cylinders, facilitating more effi – cient combustion and thus better power generation.

All in all, the VGT engine allowed a maximum power of 178PS at 4,000rpm while all-important torque peaked earlier at 1,800rpm and extended all the way to 3,500rpm, rendering the maximum torque band at a more logical and crucial portion of the tachometer.

The engine was coupled to a new fi ve-speed automatic transmission with a Sports Mode to offer the best of two worlds: automatic shifting and manual control to switch driving styles at the driver’s whim.

Moving on to the aesthetics side of things, the new pickup’s exterior retained the best quality of its predecessors while adding features such as an interesting front bumper extender, matte black roll bar and sporty 17-inch alloy wheels.

The interior was cleanly laid out with seemingly Spartan features at fi rst glance.

However, further inspection revealed a comprehensive array of functions as the design was given a lot of thought and consideration.

For example, the central RV meter in the front panel provided a multi-mode display of time, vehicle status and exterior conditions such as remaining mileage indicator, average fuel consumption, average speed travel data, outside temperature, compass, barometric pressure, and elevation.

Moving on to the test drive, the 220km route was a comprehensive mix of paved roads and back roads featuring gravel-heavy, rocky, muddy and sandy pathways through a large oil palm plantation.

Starting up the engine, I could feel the comforting growl of the diesel powertrain as I put the pickup into gear and went on my way to the diverse test drive route.

The performance on paved roads was quite good as the peak torque band was intelligently designed for the appropriate portion of the tachometer, giving the pickup generous acceleration in this segment of the test drive, one that resembled an amply powered sedan.

The fi ve-speed automatic transmission was reasonably smooth and well-spaced, with the Sports Mode giving a welcome option of manually controlling the five gears.

All in all, this added to the truck’s multi-dimensional personality.

Incidentally, switching back and forth from two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive (high range) mode was a snap with the Easy Select system, with the shifting possible at speeds below 100km per hour.

The status of the drive system was displayed on the meter cluster with a small indicator denoting either four wheels or two wheels.

One small thing to note was that the drive shifter knob had the mode directions impressed on it but there were no separately coloured embossments.

In rough terrain, the Triton VGT did a remarkable job in different manner as it took on another personality, clambering over muddy and rocky patches which, in my opinion, would have left light vehicles stranded helplessly.

This was one area where the engine’s torque band truly excelled as the seemingly impossible roads were taken on with brute force as the shape-shifting turbocharger helped deliver the best possible performance from the 2.5-litre engine.

Another great feature of the truck was the hybrid Limited Slip Differential (LSD) which gave excellent off-road response; adding to the comfort (and safety) of the ride were the double wishbone front suspension and leaf spring rear suspension which were welltested in the off-road conditions.

Switching from four-wheel drive (high range) to four-wheel (low range) mode was done when the vehicle was in a stationary position with the shifter engaged in neutral, which was not an issue on terrains like this.

Incidentally, it started raining halfway through the mud conquering session, thus giving me a chance to experience the vehicle on off roads in stormy weather.

Again, any fear of getting stranded in remote rural areas in god forsaken weather quickly disappeared as the Triton VGT was protective and dependable as ever, deftly tackling the mud, sand and mini streams that adorned along the paths I took.

This pickup appeals not only to those who are experienced with off-road driving, but also reasonably sensible novices who may (needlessly) fear getting stranded in rough conditions.

Overall, the Triton is an allaround great truck, both on paved roads and the wild open terrain.