- Mitsubishi has launched a new generation of its Triton mid-size truck in Southeast Asia, but unfortunately the workhorse won’t be coming to the U.S.
- The Triton features a turbodiesel engine with between 243 and 347 pound-feet of torque and is offered with a six-speed manual transmission.
- The four-wheel-drive system includes a two-speed transfer case and a center limited-slip differential, as well as hill descent assist.
Mitsubishi exited the truck game in the United States in 2009 with the death of the Dodge Dakota–based Raider, centering its lineup instead around the cheap Mirage and crossovers including the Outlander. But overseas, Mitsubishi remains a big player in the mid-size truck arena and has just revealed a new generation of the Triton, a staple of the Southeast Asian market. Also called the L200 in certain countries, the Triton won’t be offered stateside, and its old-school formula is a reminder of how the U.S. truck market has shifted over the past decade.
While American automakers such as Ford and Chevy now exclusively sell their mid-size trucks in a crew-cab configuration, Mitsubishi still offers the Triton with single-cab and extended “Club cab” setups. The Triton’s body is mounted on a ladder-frame chassis that Mitsubishi claims is significantly more rigid than before but with a minimal weight gain over the outgoing truck. While the front end gets an unequal-length control arm suspension, the rear continues to utilize a leaf-spring setup, although Mitsubishi beefed up the shocks for the new generation.
Under the hood is a new turbocharged 2.4-liter diesel four-cylinder with three output levels. The top dog produces 201 horsepower and a healthy 347 pound-feet of torque at 1500 rpm. There is also a 181-hp, 317-pound-foot version and a base engine with 148 hp and 243 pound-feet. The diesel engine is paired with a six-speed automatic, but Mitsubishi also still offers a six-speed manual transmission with a hill start assist function.
The Triton comes standard with rear-wheel drive but can also be equipped with Mitsubishi’s Super Select 4WD-II system, which includes a two-speed transfer case and a center limited-slip differential that sends 60 percent of torque to the rear and 40 percent to the front. There is a dizzying array of drive and terrain modes and differential lock settings, as well as hill descent assist. There’s also an Active Yaw Control function that employs torque vectoring by braking the inside front wheel when cornering.
The Triton sports a boxy design with LED daytime running lights that Mitsubishi claims “resemble a sharp gaze of a hawk” above the main headlight units. Squared-off wheel arches and a crisp belt line give the Triton a sturdy look. Inside, the Triton sports a simplistic design and appears to borrow some parts from partial owners Nissan, such as the a touchscreen atop the dashboard.
Luckily the truck retains plenty of real buttons, which Mitsubishi says are designed to be operated while wearing gloves. The cabin also packs USB-A and USB-C charging ports and a wireless charger, and ingress and egress are improve thanks to wider side steps and a more vertical A-pillar.
The Triton gets modern goodies such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and other driver-assistance features. Mitsubishi says a wide array of accessories will be offered to help buyers personalize their Triton. Sales of the truck have already begun in Thailand, with Mitsubishi focusing on the Southeast Asian and Oceania regions.
We don’t anticipate that Mitsubishi will bring the Triton to the U.S., but recent reports have suggested that the company is evaluating the American truck segment. If there’s enough interest from U.S. truck buyers, Mitsubishi could decide to bring some sort of truck model—possibly an electric pickup that it laid out in recent future product plans—to our shores.
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Associate News Editor
Caleb Miller began blogging about cars at 13 years old, and he realized his dream of writing for a car magazine after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University and joining the Car and Driver team. He loves quirky and obscure autos, aiming to one day own something bizarre like a Nissan S-Cargo, and is an avid motorsports fan.