"It's not the next Triton. That's what Japan is saying. It's a look at the future."
An all-new Mitsubishi Triton is just around the bend, and the GR-HEV concept is the proof.
The Japanese company has just built a motor show concept that looks exactly as you would expect for a reinvention of its dual-cab Triton workhorse.
The lines are much chunkier than today, swapping curves for sharp edges and a look that's much more 21st century, but the basic layout carries over from today's popular 4x4 dual-cab package. It's claimed to be larger, tougher and sportier.
The Triton is up for replacement next year but, despite the obvious hints in its Geneva motor show headliner, Mitsubishi denies any link to the concept called the GR-HEV. "This is not a replacement for today's Triton, but a possible direction for the next-generation pick-up truck. Both in terms of styling and technology," the spokeperson for Mitsubishi Australia, Caitlin Beale, tells Carsguide.
"It's not the next Triton. That's what Japan is saying. It's a look at the future." But Mitsubsihi admits the Triton will be overhauled in 2014 and the GR-HEV must be some sort of pointer. Apart from the bodywork, it also shows that Mitsubishi - which wants to be one of the word's sustainable green brands - is advancing on diesel-hybrid technology for working-class vehicles.
The GR-HEV - which stands for Grand Runner Hybrid Electric Vehicle - combines a clean diesel engine with electric motors. The efficiency target is CO2 emissions of 149 grams/kilometre. It also packs a new development of Mitsubishi's Super Select four-wheel drive system - suitable for the Triton and Pajero - with integrated vehicle dynamics.
"The next logical step will be to expand further, adapting electric components to the demands of an even larger, tougher, sportier vehicel with both work and leisure in mind, "Mitsubishi says in its Geneva show preview. Beale admits Mitsubishi is working to have a diesel hybrid in production, but will not reveal the timetable. "That's one of the developments we're looking at, yes," she says.
The Triton is one of the cornerstone models for Mitsubishi, together with the Lancer and Pajero, although the baby Mirage is key for 2013 with a starting price of just $12,990. "Sales of the Triton are very steady. It's one of our core models," Beale says.
Apart from the GR-HEV, Mitsubishi is also hitting the Geneva motor show with a second concept call the CA-MiEv. This one points to the next development of the iMiEV, which has been a very slow seller in Australia.
Mitsubishi is aiming for a range of 300 kilometres between charges and among the systems in the Geneva concept are high energy-density batteries, a more efficient EV system that combines motor, inverter, regenerative braking with wireless charging, and a lightweight aerodynamic body.