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Driven: New-look Mitsubishi Triton ups safety ante

Aussie fleet feedback leads to Mitsubishi Triton’s range-wide active safety upgrade

7 Feb 2019

MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) says it was behind the push to add a suite of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) to the facelifted fifth-generation Triton ute to make it more appealing to fleet customers.


Speaking to journalists last week at the Triton national media launch in Hobart, MMAL head of product planning James Tol said that the Australian market played a key role in including ADAS with the ute.


“We worked really hard to make that happen,” he said. “We know that certain vehicle fleets are looking at this kind of technology.


“It’s actually quite a task to make sure that message gets through, because not all markets are like ours.


“It was actually Australia that convinced our project team to make some changes to the development schedule of this vehicle to include those technologies on a workhorse model.


“That was no mean feat because that meant doing additional development to put these technologies on vehicles that have a different wheel size.


“It might sound simple, but it’s not simple. All that extra tuning burns time and development dollars up, so we’re really proud to have made that happen.”


Speaking to GoAuto, MMAL president and chief executive officer John Signoriello said “a lot of market research” led to the company’s Triton safety push, which was mainly driven by the occupational health and safety (OH&S) requirements of fleet customers.


“We’ve spoken to fleet clients, we’ve spoken to customers and we’ve also spoken to potential fleet clients about why we’re not successful with them,” he said.


“We’re getting all that feedback and even understanding where the market’s heading, and you can see it on SUVs; all that sort of stuff is becoming standard going forward.


“It’s just offering something different. Being first to market … with (blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert) is a unique selling feature – for a period of time, anyhow.”


Sales of the Triton improved last year, with 24,896 examples sold – a 5.5 per cent increase – but significant fleet contracts helped the best-selling Toyota HiLux (51,705) and Ford Ranger (42,144) stave off its challenge.


When asked if MMAL had been successful with securing new fleet contracts now that a safer Triton is available, Mr Signoriello said that was “absolutely” the case.


“We’ve won some significant fleet customers because of it … without getting too cocky about it,” he said. “I think we’ve taken the right path, and the result’s been very good.”


Certain Triton variants are available with an ADAS package that includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning, as well as front foglights, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.


ADAS is standard on GLX versions of the 4x2 dual-cab pick-up and 4x4 dual-cab chassis fitted with the new six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission but is optional on the 4x4 GLX dual-cab pick-up, costing $800. It is unavailable on the other eight GLX variants.


The package is standard on the GLX+, GLS and GLS Premium grades, with the latter two also including the aforementioned blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as front parking sensors with an ultrasonic miss-acceleration system (automatic only).


Mr Signoriello said that the Australasian New Car Assessment Program’s (ANCAP) new safety protocols that require AEB for a five-star safety rating will likely mean that ADAS won’t remain optional or unavailable on some GLX variants in the long term.


“I think we need to keep the option there at the moment,” he said. “(But) when it comes to a full model upgrade, to achieve five stars, it’s what you need.


“I’d like to think that we’ve got safety across the range at some point, to the five-star level – whatever it is at that time.”


Standard safety equipment for all Triton variants includes seven airbags, cruise control, a manual speed limiter, hill-start assist and trailer stability assist, rear parking sensors (pick-up only) and a reversing camera. The latter is replaced with a surround-view unit in the GLS Premium.


Mr Signoriello added that MMAL has “a really good working relationship” with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), partly thanks to Australia being the second largest Triton market in the world, behind Thailand.


“Every time I visit, I make an effort to talk to our Triton expert,” he said. “He takes our market seriously, he takes us seriously.


“A simple request I made last week for a future model, (I received an) email this morning saying we’re going to do it, we understand what you need.


“We’re not going up there with a wish. We’re going up there with facts, saying this is what’s happening, this is where the market’s trending. It’s an important car to us.”


As reported, the Triton’s pricing has risen between $200 and $1000 for the three club-cab variants, while the dual-cab body style has increased by $500 for the GLX, $1500 for the GLX+, $2000 for the GLS and $3000 for the GLS Premium grades.


Pricing for the single-cab body style has held steady, with the entry-level 4x2 GLX cab-chassis kicking off proceedings from $22,490 plus on-road costs when fitted with the carry-over five-speed manual transmission – the only variant available with the 94kW/194Nm 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine.


A similarly sized turbocharged diesel unit carries over for all other variants, developing 133kW at 3500rpm and 430Nm at 2500rpm.


Claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle test is up across the board, ranging from 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres (+0.6L/100km) for manual club-cab diesels to 11.4L/100km (+0.5L/100km) for the manual cab-chassis petrol.


Maximum braked towing capacity remains at 3100kg, while payload has decreased by 57-63kg, to 902-908kg, due to a corresponding increase in kerb weight, to 1992-1998kg.


Standard equipment in the GLX grade includes a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, one USB port, two 12V power outlets, a multi-function steering wheel, fabric upholstery, a second-row centre armrest with cupholders (dual-cab only), and vinyl floor coverings.


GLX+ variants add 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 245/70 tyres, side steps, a rear-step bumper, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports, one HMDI port, DAB+ digital radio, a multi-function display and a four-spoke steering wheel.


The GLS also picks up 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 265/60 tyres, auto-levelling LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and tail-lights, a sports bar, rear privacy glass, a roof-mounted air circulator, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, handbrake and gear lever, carpet floormats, premium fabric upholstery, high-beam assist and hill-descent control.


GLS Premium variants exclusively feature a rear differential lock, a tub liner, a nudge bar, keyless entry and start, heated front seats and leather upholstery.


A seven-year/150,000km warranty is available on the Triton until “at least” the end of the current financial year, but it could be extended if the reception is strong, according to Mr Signoriello.


The Triton is also offered with three years of capped-price servicing, costing $299 per service (every 12 months or 15,000km) for diesel variants and $199 for the petrol.


2019 Mitsubishi Triton pricing*

4x2 GLX cab chassis petrol $22,490
4x2 GLX cab chassis diesel $25,990
4x2 GLX cab chassis diesel (a) $28,490
4x4 GLX cab chassis diesel $32,990
4x4 GLX cab chassis diesel (a) $35,490
4x4 GLX cab chassis diesel $35,490
4x4 GLX cab chassis diesel (a) $38,790
4x4 GLX+ cab chassis diesel (a) $40,490
4x2 GLX ADAS pick-up diesel (a) $36,290
4x4 GLX cab chassis diesel $36,240
4x4 GLX ADAS cab chassis diesel (a) $39,540
4x4 GLX pick-up diesel $37,490
4x4 GLX pick-up diesel (a) $39,990
4x4 GLX ADAS pick-up diesel $38,290
4x4 GLX ADAS pick-up diesel (a) $40,790
4x4 GLX+ pick-up diesel $39,990
4x4 GLX+ pick-up diesel (a) $42,490
4x4 GLS pick-up diesel $44,490
4x4 GLS pick-up diesel (a) $46,990
4x4 GLS Premium pick-up diesel (a) $51,990

*Excludes on-road costs

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