Utes, pickup trucks, one-tonners: whatever you want to call them, for a product that’s so focused on function, there’s a lot of emotion tied up in their purchase.
There’s no doubt the most passionate ute bunch are the buyers of the top two sellers in New Zealand, the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.
And yet the one that’s impressed us most this year is something of a quiet achiever: the Mitsubishi Triton, which we first drove in heavily refreshed form at the end of 2018 and tested locally in 2019.
Part of the appeal is value for money. At launch it made a substantial dent in the sales charts because it was such a good price.
Even the flagship VRX double cab gave you change from $50k and while that was billed as a “special offer” by Mitsubishi, it’s still in effect at the time of writing. It’s a lot of dressed-up ute when rivals are $60k, $70k and even $80k upwards.
The Triton does everything a one-tonner is supposed to: grunty turbo-diesel power, extreme low-range off-road ability and generous tow capacity up to 3.5 tonnes.
But its real trump card in this age of “lifestyle” utes is its on-road demeanour. Triton is still one of the best-riding utes around regardless of price.
But even more importantly, the top versions have a Super Select II powertrain that makes Triton properly AWD on the road, all the time. That’s a crucial active safety feature for a high-riding truck that will be driven on the seal a lot of the time and puts the Mitsubishi into a very exclusive group.
Among the one-tonne ute crowd, only the Volkswagen Amarok and flagship Mercedes-Benz X350d offer the same kind of on-road AWD traction and stability.
The Triton is a great one-tonne package… at a sensible price.
November 2019 – Stuff.co.nz