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Mitsu’s workhorse Triton in SA

2012-10-26 10:37

RANGE NOW COMPLETE: The Triton single cab has joined the double cab and Club Cab variants in South Africa. All-wheel drive? To come...

HAILEY PHILANDER

Mitsubishi’s Triton brand was launched in South Africa in 2007 as a replacement for the then popular Colt range of bakkies.

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In 2008, at launch of the now locally assembled extended ClubCab model, Mitsubishi announced it would introduce single cab and SUV derivatives in 2009. Yet here we are, in 2012, talking of the “new” single-cab derivative.

Fair enough, Mitsubishi’s had a hard run in the local market, not helped by the change in distributorship in 2011 from Mercedes-Benz to the Imperial Group. Indeed, Imperial’s Nicolas de Canha stated at the single-cab launch that its introduction was one of the first points of discussion – no doubt along with the recently-launched Lancer Evo X – when Mitsubishi changed hands.

TRITON GETS TO WORK


Which means the new Single Cab is not all that new... It’s based on the familiar double-cab and although its styling has been toned down somewhat – it does without that double and extended cabs’ curved cutout between the cabin and load bed – it provides an attractive entry to the local workhorse category.

The models available to drive at the launch certainly looked the working type – my driving partner and I drove a petrol version with a number of hay bales strapped to its load bed.

So, with straw zinging in the wind swirl, we headed off on a route that took us from just outside Hartebeespoort Dam in North-West Province, into Gauteng towards Pretoria North, and back again on a mix of mostly rural roads with a spot of stop-start town driving thrown in for good measure.

On the short route, the bakkie certainly proved comfortable – we drove the high-spec GLX model – although the “agricultural” clutch action took some time getting used to. The driver’s seat slides over a good range and the steering wheel is adjustable for reach and rake to suit a number of different drivers.   

There was plenty of space in the cabin – a large bin in the facia and stowage are behind the seats – for a range of odds and ends. An aftermarket Kenwood audio system was also strapped in.

It will also be a welcome addition for Mitsubishi where its balance sheet is concerned: of the 103 793 Colts previously sold in SA, by the time sales were halted in 2009, single-cab versions accounted for 53 869 of those units.

FAMILIAR ENGINES, MORE TO COME


The Triton single-cab’s engines include a four-cylinder 2.4 MPI petrol (97kW/202Nm) and 2.5 Di-DC turbodiesel (100kW/314Nm) familiar to the range, mated to five-speed manual transmissions. All models are 4x2 only, while 4x4s will be introduced “at a later stage”.

Standard, too, is a high-rider suspension with 200mm of ground clearance, while the single-cab’s “newly-developed” ladder frame chassis is suspended by an independent double wishbone with coil springs on the front axle and a solid rear axle with leaf springs.

There’s a one-ton payload and all three ride on 16” steel wheels.

In a segment where low-spec petrols have the run of the market, Mitsubishi’s taken quite the bold step of offering increased safety features across the range.

It's an anomaly for the South African single-cab segment, but all Triton single-cabs have anti-lock brakes and electronic fluid pressure distribution, and two air bags. This, De Canha said, was the result of the bakkies being sourced from Thailand where the stripping of certain features was not on the table. We’ll vote for more safety features every day.

Two specification levels are offered on the three-seater single-cab. The 2.4 GL comes with power-assisted steering and an immobiliser. The 2.4 GLX adds power windows with auto up/down for the driver, aircon and central locking while the diesel 2.5 GLX model adds a differential lock.

PRICES
2.4 MPI 4x2 GL – R179 900
2.4 MPI 4x2 GLX – R189 900
2.5 Di-DC 4x2 GLX – R239 900   

Prices include a five-year or 75 000km service plan for the petrol models and a five-year or 70 000 plan for the diesel.

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