Hybrid powertrain on the cards for next Mitsubishi Triton
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Hybrid powertrain on the cards for next Mitsubishi Triton

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By GoAuto - 12 April 2023

BY PETER BARNWELL

TALK of Mitsubishi releasing an enhanced Ralliart version of the current Triton is probably baseless as the model’s lifespan ends late this year (or early next) and to likely be replaced by the XRT Concept revealed at the recent Bangkok Motor Show.

The current Triton has been around for nearly a decade and if you drill down, it has roots going back much further, which is one of the main reasons for its sharp price.

Mitsubishi dealers here have, for ages, been asking head office for a “performance” Triton model to compete with Ford’s Ranger Wildtrak and Raptor models and the yet to appear Toyota GR Hilux among other (wannabe) tough one-tonners.

Versions of New Triton will likely be equipped to take on Raptor and GR Hilux.

There’s also VW’s new Amarok to keep in mind and other locally fettled so-called “tough trucks” with jacked-up suspension, big tyres, additional assorted bars and lurid decals (read: Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior and its ilk).

But word around the traps suggests time has probably run out for a Ralliart Triton and that the XRT concept is pretty much what next gen’ Triton will look like… and it’s all good.

In any case, and with a new model due before the end of the Asian 2023 fiscal year in March 2024, the new Triton range will likely contain a performance ‘hero’ model a to keep competitors on their toes and make Mitsubishi dealers happy.

When it is launched globally around March next year, the new generation Triton will be the model’s first full redesign in nine years.

The XRT Concept was revealed at recent Bangkok Motor Show as a pointer to the next-generation Triton.

We can tell you it will again be produced at Laemchabang, Thailand, and Mitsubishi says the Triton (sold as L200 in some markets) is a vehicle of global strategic importance and is exported to around 150 countries around the world.

The generation six Triton will be a full redesign for the mid-size utility that Mitsu’ says is characterised by a “fierce expression on the front” and a “robust” bonnet that contributes to the model’s “horizontally-themed styling”.

Further hinting that Mitsubishi will take on Raptor and others are the aggressive front and rear wheel arch mouldings and mud-terrain tyres that are said to offer the kind of “powerful drive to compete in gruelling rallies and the dynamism to dash across the terrain”.

Mitsubishi says the camouflage design of the XRT Concept is inspired by volcanic rock and is “packed with condensed energy”. The vehicle’s side graphics hark to the brand’s Ralliart heritage and are said to exude a “passion for driving”.

New model due before the end of the Asian 2023 fiscal year in March 2024.

A prototype of the model will take part in the Asia Cross Country Rally later this year with former Dakar Rally champion (2002 and 2003) Hiroshi Masuoka as team director.

Mitsubishi is using the event as a shake down before the global launch to fine tune Triton while its engineers accompany the team to provide support.

The giant Japanese car maker has been heavily involved in ‘Rally Raids’ for decades using mostly Pajero-based machines, but Tritons have been pressed into service with some success.

Mitsubishi says its involvement in such events is critical to ensuring the production vehicle is safe, comfortable, and enjoyable in any weather or road conditions.

In the run up to the Bangkok Motor Show, Mitsubishi Motors president and chief executive officer Takao Kato said, “Fiscal (year) 2023 is an important year for Mitsubishi Motors to accelerate our business in the ASEAN region, with the launch of a fully revamped Triton and an all-new compact SUV.”

The new Triton will again be produced at Laemchabang, Thailand.

“The all-new Triton is going through final touch-ups in preparation for its release, as we have performed rigorous endurance tests around the world while also incorporating the know-how gained from rally activities.

“With the new vehicle as the centrepiece, we will continue our drive toward further growth.”

Neither Kato-san nor Mitsubishi is yet to confirm powertrain offerings for the forthcoming model, the current turbo-diesel ‘four’ offered locally long rumoured to be eventually replaced by a plug-in hybrid unit, a further development of that powering the current Outlander.

Virtually confirming this was Mitsubishi Motors general manager of EV powertrain engineering, Takashi Shirakawa, who said the development of such a powertrain for Triton and Pajero Sport is already in its “advanced engineering” stage, hinting that the company’s first electrically augmented ute could hit showrooms by as early as 2025.

The new generation will be the model’s first full redesign in nine years.

“We are thinking about whether hybrid is better, plug-in hybrid is better or pure electric is better, and we have those products in prototypes and we are comparing them, but our headache is always, always cost,” said Mr Shirakawa.

“Electrification gives a customer benefit like manoeuvring in difficult conditions – electrification can enable some extra driving (capabilities). So, we are thinking about how to make electrified larger vehicles, but it is still under advanced engineering.”

More information relating to specification and pricing of the new generation Mitsubishi Triton will be provided as it becomes available.

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