Review: Mitsubishi Triton 2.4L MIVEC, the benchmark for refinement


I remember walking a female friend to her car after a long day in university. As we walk further across the deserted carpark, I asked “Where’s your car?”. Curious I was, not seeing any small-sized cars in the vicinity that suit her 5-foot petite frame. “Right here” as she unlocks the doors to a pick-up truck.

You can imagine my blank expression as I watched her climb into the driver’s seat and cranking up the diesel engine to life as she waved me goodbye. That was when I realised that pick-up trucks are no longer just workhorses to carry cargos across a beat-up trail. It’s a sound alternative to the modern urbanites too.

Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) was keen to let the members of the media to sample what their updated, MIVEC turbodiesel equipped Mitsubishi Triton VGT has to offer in the urban and countryside landscape of Kota Kinabalu. We are completely blown away by the new engine and are convinced that this MIVEC-equipped Triton, sets the new benchmark for refinement in the pick-up truck segment and here’s why.

QUICK FACTS

NameMitsubishi Triton VGT MT (4×4)Mitsubishi Triton VGT AT (4×4)Mitsubishi Triton VGT Adventure AT (4×4)Mitsubishis Triton VGT Adventure X AT (4×4)
Engine2,442cc; MIVEC Turbo Diesel DI-D Common Rail VGT Intercooler
Transmission6-speed manual5-speed automatic with Sport Mode
Max Power179 hp @ 3,500 rpm
Max Torque430 Nm @ 2,500 rpm
Price (OTR without insurance)RM107,600RM114,400RM123,130RM130,900

The 2.4L MIVEC Turbodiesel is by far the most Refined Engine in its class

Back in 2016, MMM has retired the old clunky 2.5-litre turbodiesel mill for an all-new 2.4-litre aluminium MIVEC turbodiesel that weighs 30 kgs less and returns 15 percent better fuel economy. The new MIVEC engine serves up 179 HP and 430 Nm of twisting force, mated to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic with Sport Mode.

On start-up, the engine fires up characteristically like any other diesel, but the moment we set off, we were pleasantly surprised by how smoothly the engine climbs up the revs almost like a petrol mill if you will. The diesel clutter and roar is noticeably lower compared to the old engine and miles better than its main rivals like the Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT-50 and Isuzu D-Max.

As the five-speeder shifts through the cogs getting up to highway speeds, the power delivery was impressionably linear with minimal drop in torque, contributing immensely to the passenger ride comfort on long journeys.

Mellow but No Less Competent

As smooth operator as the MIVEC engine was, it would be pointless if it couldn’t handle the offbeat trails. To prove the Triton is as equally as capable and robust on and off-road, MMM took us on a hike up a jungle trail. We’ve managed to sample the Triton through rough gravel, muddy trails, crossed a river, climbed steep elevation, basically every possible scenario you can think off that will immobilise a two-wheel drive car. Except snow, of course.

The first half of the trail through gravel and loose sand proved to be child’s play for the Triton as we ride along in 2WD-Hi. Coming up to a muddy area, our instructor advised us to dial our Easy Select 4WD system to 4WD-Lo, just for precautionary measure. Once engaged, there’s no stopping the Triton with constant throttle input and quick steering action, we slip past the muddy trail and crossed a relatively shallow river without breaking a sweat.

 

Going at an incline, the smooth engine proved to be of great help with consistent power delivery all the way to the top. The paddle shifters with manual override was exceptionally convenient in going through the gears without having to leave my hands away from the steering wheel. Once we’re at the top, the rain Gods decided to give the fleet of Tritons some challenge by pouring down on us.

On the way down, the brakes were much more effective compared to the pre-update Triton despite no modifications were done to them, thanks to the significantly lighter engine (-30 kg) resulting in lesser weight on the front axle. Even on slippery trails, the Triton delivered magnificently without any purposeful off-road modifications.

Premium Cabin for Everyday Commute

The Triton VGT range are all decently equipped, with the base VGT spotting keyless entry and start, touchscreen infotainment system with six-speakers and leather wrapped steering wheel. Credit must be given to the seat designers because the seats on a pick-up truck bests even some of the more expensive passenger cars out there. The sculpture is very snug and accommodating and finding a comfortable seating position is done in no time at all.

MMM prepared a chauffeured journey to our dinner stop as we wind back for the day and the same statement applies to the rear bench. I had plenty of legroom and kneeroom while the seats are tilted ever so slightly that made the 20-minute journey extremely pleasant.

Hopping into the more expensive variants and you get much more bells and whistles to play with such as leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control system, reverse camera and cruise control as standard. With features that rival most C-segment vehicles, who says that pick-up trucks are bare boned.

What Is Not to Like?

To be honest I am struggling to find faults with the Triton because for all its intended purpose, the MIVEC powered Triton performs extremely well while delivering high-levels of comfort and refinement. It even comes with Active Stability & Traction Control (ASTC) system as standard on all VGT models. It truly is the benchmark for overall package in the pick-up segment.

Although, if there’s one thing I must nit-pick about is that the Triton looks too luxurious and tame. It’s like a fine piece of art especially the Adventure-X variant finished in Impulse Blue. I was biting my nails as we drove past tight bushes, fearing the branches will damage the stunning paintjob. It was quite an ordeal for someone like me who appreciates the fine art of keeping cars in pristine condition at all times. But then again, there are those who appreciate the fine aesthetics of the Triton over its rugged rivals.

Is This Car for You?

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast that wants a competent off-road companion that you can live with day-in and out, the Triton VGT range will fit all your daily needs and more. Even if you only require a punching bag to carry out all your heavy duty works, the recently introduced Triton VGT GL at Rm103k should interest you as well.

As for the first-time pick-up truck owners, you will certainly appreciate the nifty features and refinement of the Triton VGT to ease your transition from a passenger vehicle to a pick-up truck. Not to forget, looking stylish at that.


IMAGE GALLERY

Mitsubishi Triton VGT Media Drive

Mitsubishi Triton VGT Adventure-X


Adrian Chia

Adrian Chia

He believes that the perfect remedy to Monday blues is a mixture of 4 wheels, clear roads and a pinch of twisty tarmac. A hot hatch is the icing on the cake.
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