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Mitsubishi Australia has made no secret about its desire to build a toughened up, hardcore Triton ute, and it looks like plans will soon be made a reality.
The proposed flagship Triton could even wear the Ralliart nomenclature to signal to rivals like the Toyota HiLux Rugged X, Ford Ranger Raptor and Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior that Mitsubishi means business in the booming rugged ute segment.
However, speaking to CarsGuide, Mitsubishi Australia boss Shaun Westcott revealed the flagship ute won’t be an in-house development, and will utilise an external party to piece together the ultimate Triton.
“We have had a third-party approach us, a very credible third party, and we are exploring options with them,” he said.
This is all despite the ageing, fifth-generation Triton now in its eighth-year of production – albeit with a significant facelift in late 2018 – and a new-gen version twinned with the Nissan Navara looming for 2024.
Mr Westcott said, in spite of its age, the Triton is still resonating with Australian buyers, and the hardcore ute will send off this generation with a bang.
“If you look at the current Triton’s performance, it’s never been better,” he said. “We sold more Tritons at the end of the last quarter, than we’ve ever sold in our history.
“Despite it getting to the end of its lifecycle, our market doesn’t see it that way, they are buying Tritons as much as they can and as hard as they can.
“You talk about hardcore 4x4? I’ve taken Triton – as it is – to some fairly hardcore places, it’s very capable as it is in stock standard form.
“Again, to reinforce, despite the fact that it is aging, we are very happy to give it a kick towards the end of its lifecycle, and give it a bit of excitement and a bit more engagement with it.”
Exactly what this third party will add to the Triton remains unclear, but if its competitors are anything to go by, there will be a lift kit, beefed-up underbody protection, all-terrain tyres, a bulbar, rollover protection and more.
Whether the mooted Triton Ralliart also scores a performance upgrade over the donor car's 133kW/430Nm 2.4-litre turbo-diesel engine is also unclear at this stage.
Mitsubishi previewed a more hardcore Triton in 2019 with the Absolute concept, which wore upgraded suspension, a 50mm height increase, and front and rear skid plates, but it looks like that model name won’t make it to market due to trademark issues.
Mitsubishi Australia actually has a Triton Absolute concept at its headquarters in Adelaide, which the brand uses for demonstration purposes.
And exactly who will be working on the new Triton? No clues were given, but Mitsubishi Australia product PR manager Adam Davis said an announcement is imminent.
“There has been an initial approach from a third party that looked at the potential for what a Triton can be at this stage in its model lifecyle,” he said.
“It’s an internationally renowned company that is really strong in engineering in this space, and we’re evolving how that might look, and you might hear more about that in the coming weeks.”