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Mitsubishi's top-secret Triton mission! Why all-new ute's towing and off-road capability will be tailor-made for Australia

The new Triton will be tailor-made for Australia following a secret trip. (Image credit: Thanos Pappas)

The 2023 Mitsubishi Triton will be more tailored for Australian conditions and tastes than ever before, with the brand's most senior executive visiting from Japan to learn how Aussies use their utes, what they tow, and where they go.

In order to take the fight to core rivals like the Toyota HiLux, the Ford Ranger and the Nissan Navara, CarsGuide understands Mitsubishi is on a mission to ensure its new ute is designed and engineered with Australia front of mind, given our market is considered vital for the brand.

As a result, Australia doesn't just have the biggest seat at the global product planning table, but Mitsubishi's high-ranking Japanese executives have also been doing reconnaissance on local soil to see exactly what Aussies want from their ute.

And we do mean high-ranking. CarsGuide understands that Mitsubishi's global CEO, Takao Kato, recently landed in Australia and asked to be taken to building sites to see how work-style utes were being used.

His next stop was an Australian caravan park to talk to owners about what they tow behind their utes, how much towing capacity they need, and where and how far they like to venture off-road.

A car company's global CEO touring Australia's worksites and caravan parks to get one-on-one feedback from Aussie ute drivers is more than a little unusual, and its evidence of just how seriously Mitsubishi is taking the idea of ensuring the new Triton is ready for Australia.

It's understood that feedback will be fed straight back into the Triton's engineering teams, and will go into shaping the specification of the new model, expected in Australia next year.

The news follows reports out of Japan that the next Triton will introduce a plug-in hybrid powertrain as part of its arsenal, potentially beating Australian ute heavyweights like the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Isuzu D-Max and its twin the Nissan Navara to electrification in Australia, according to new reports.

Japanese media reports suggest the new Triton will essentially future-proof itself by offering a plug-in hybrid powertrain – similar to that offered in the new Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV –that will be ready for future emissions standards, either in Australia or around the world.

The new Outlander PHEV uses a 20.0kWh lithium-ion battery pack, up from 13.8kWh in the old model, and 85kW front and 100kW rear axle-mounted electric motors, ensuring all-wheel drive traction.

The PHEV system is paired with a revised version of the 98kW, 2.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine, ensuring a total system output of 185kW of power and 450Nm of torque.

It's not clear yet whether a plug-in hybrid Triton would pair its electric motors with a petrol or a diesel engine, but diesel will still almost certainly appear in the line-up, whether electrified or not.

“If you look at the ute market generally, it’s clear that sometime during this decade there will be all sorts of forms of electrification of utes. It’s a matter of what form that will take and when,” Owen Thomson, senior manager of product strategy for Mitsubishi Motors Australia, told CarsGuide last year.

"From day one, electrification has been part of the plan for the new-generation Triton.

“It can work in Australia - it depends on the user, and some users may take advantage of it, but for others it may be a disadvantage.”

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to...
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