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Not without more power: Triton Ralliart details firm

Mitsubishi boss says potential Ralliart ute must be more than a wheel-and-sticker pack

1 Aug 2023

MITSUBISHI recently debuted its sixth generation Triton in Bangkok, Thailand, introducing a wider cab, new looks, and more technology and safety equipment.


But it did so while continuing to extol the virtues of its familiar 2.4-litre turbo-diesel ‘four’, and without a V6-powered rival to the likes of Ford and Volkswagen, let alone a challenger to the all-conquering Ranger Raptor.


But according to senior executives at both Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL), a more powerful future lies in wait for Triton, with a likely Ralliart model certain to offer more than just a “wheel-and-sticker” tune up.


Speaking to journalists at the global debut of the Mitsubishi Triton, MMC chief product specialist, Yoshiko Masuda, said Mitsubishi is considering a more powerful Triton, but has yet to begin engineering or evaluation.


“Of course (we are interested) in a pick-up truck that is bigger and more powerful … it is on the plan, but I don’t know when we will decide,” he said.


“At this moment, we start with the 2.4 (litre engine) because we also have to think about efficiency, CAFE (fuel consumption and emissions regulations), those kinds of things.


“For now, given the character of the torque (produced by the upgraded twin-turbocharged engine), we are very confident the 470 Newton metre (unit) will offer the torque and acceleration feeling equivalent to the 500Nm or more (offered by our rivals).


“And maybe later in the life cycle, we will also think about an incremental raise in torque and power (for that engine).


“(But what we’re showing first) is the base model. We have different versions based on customer expectations, and then (we could offer) a sports version, or a rally version, a Ralliart maybe? I don’t know.”


Aside from a sporting flagship, Mr Masuda said the chances of a V6 diesel were under consideration, though from where in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is unclear.


Assuming a suitable unit could be found, the Triton would finally have the power and torque to take on the likes of the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok in offering customers a package better suited to towing and hauling higher capacity loads with relative ease.


“We increased the track including the distance of the ladder frame (width between the rails) and also the axle mass capacity is significant, so it should be compatible with a bigger engine, a V6 if possible. But we haven’t tested anything yet,” he said.


“We are not sure about the powertrain conversion (within) the Alliance.”


Indeed, there seems to be nothing on the forecast when it comes to a diesel V6. Mitsubishi has never offered a vee-configuration six-cylinder diesel and Nissan’s unit, last used in the previous generation Navara, is now well out of date.


Whether the development of a unit for use specifically in light commercial utility and light commercial based SUV models is a realisitic option remains to be seen, even if Mitsubishi is in a better financial position than it has been for some time.


Speaking on the potential arrival of a V6-powered Triton or potential Triton Ralliart, MMAL chief executive officer, Shaun Westcott, was more decisive than his Japanese colleague.


Pulling no punches, Mr Westcott told journalists that a Ralliart enhanced model would need to offer more than sporty looks alone, insisting that he would not take a Ralliart-plated vehicle that does not offer more performance.


“I do believe that there is an opportunity at the top end of the range to do something like Walkinshaw have done, but whether we do it ourselves or whether we do in partnership, those are the things that are under discussion within the company, because we do think there is space in the market for that product,” he said.


“I did reject the sticker packs when they were previously available. I was under pressure, and I said ‘no, I’m not going to do it’.


“I am a believer that Ralliart should be a true performance vehicle, and I don’t want to breakdown the value of the nameplate by offering a sticker-pack Ralliart.


“I am a proponent of, and I am pushing hard for, a performance version … and it is still on the cards.


“Our financial results are extremely good, the company is really strong … and we are investing our money in R&D, and you are going to see things happen, and Ralliart may be one of those,” he concluded.

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