Bakkies are an inherent part of South African culture; what else says “rugged and manly” quite like a hard-working, tough-as-nails good-old-fashioned bakkie? Well, times may have changed a bit, because the latest offering from Mitsubishi, showcased at Mitsubishi Menlyn, is all of the above – and more.
Pieter Voges, Dealer Principal and Sales Manager of Mitsubishi and Mazda Menlyn has been in this industry for the last 12 years, 8 of which has been dedicated to these two brands. He believes I getting things right the first time round, and as a result, is enthusiastic about sharing his experience with me regard the Mitsubishi Triton. At his Dealership, he feels the family environment is part of the reason for its success. Having lead this Dealership for the last 5 years, Pieter is excited about the future of the brand.
Introducing me to Johan Robbertse, the Sales Representative for New Cars at Mitsubishi Menlyn, I am excited to hear about the Triton from the relatively fresh perspective of Johan, who has only been with the Dealership for a year. Being very excited to be working with such an up-and-coming brand, Johan notes that he has been won over by the unique nature of Mitsubishi products and services, as well as the reliability and drive which the brand represents. Thrilled about moving up in the ranks at this Dealership, Johan notes that the Triton is an under-estimated vehicle that needs to be experienced to be fully understood. By offering straightforward and honest service to clients, Johan is enthusiastic about presenting an R80 000 trade-in assistance on the Triton at present.
Carel Landsberg, the Workshop and Service Manager at both Mazda and Mitsubishi Menlyn, has been in the industry for 22 years. With a fiery passion for cars and both brands that he serves, Carel shares with me that he started as an apprentice with these brands many years ago, and moved up to the service sector, then to workshop advisor and ultimately into Management. With his favourite Mitsubishi noted to be the Pajero, Carel has his own opinion on the Triton too. As a fantastic vehicle, Carel believes the Triton is locally the best 4×4 available to the public at the moment. Working with a superbly knowledgeable team (under a Master Technician for each brand, equipped with latest training and knowledge) the workshop does extremely well to produce the highest quality work available.
As I glance over the Triton, what I am immediately drawn to is that the Triton doesn’t look like every other double-cab on the road; there is an edginess to the Triton, which is emphasised by it’s shark-like contours. Although the Triton is big, and make no mistake, exudes the solid capability of a work-horse bakkie, there is a classier, sleeker side to it too.
The interior is also a step-up from your standard functional double-cab. There’s leather, and elegant finishes, as well as a host of technological additions to the dashboard. When I ask my host what features the Triton has, I am told the Triton itself is sufficient to encompass all feature. This vehicle is designed and built to host all the premium features of competing brands, but comes in at half the price. I’m wondering where the catch is, to be honest, as I take it out for a spin.
Keyless entry to the vehicle is a good start, followed shortly by premium features that include Dual Climate Control, touchscreen infotainment system, multi-function steering wheel and reverse camera (that made reverse parking a breeze). Although there is no standard Sat Nav on board, the rest of the cockpit makes up for this oversight. With ample ground clearance (205mm to be exact, my knowledgeable guide notes without hesitation), I think the Triton would do really well in harsher conditions too. It is suitably equipped to do so, and – having the option to switch to 4×4 with a twist of a dial – I am keen to run it through it’s paces. I’m happy to report that even with a few minor bumps and jostles on the rougher terrain, the Triton performed more like an SUV than a traditional bakkie.
The predominant thought in my mind as I drive is that Mitsubishi have done quite a few things right in this vehicle. I commend the manufacturer for their conscientious design and driver-centric lay-out, almost as though every aspect of designing the Triton was done from the perspective of the driver and passengers. The cabin is roomy, and as far as double-cabs go, has enough room for the kids to be comfortable in the back. The ensuing babble about the “cool armrest with cupholders” in the rear was memorable, as was the powerful launch and smooth cruise of the vehicle itself. With an engine capable of producing 133 kW power and 430 Nm torque, I was expecting a quick refuel a few days into the test drive. Much to my delight, the fuel consumption was a pleasant surprise, with me driving through numerous cities before needing to hit the pumps. Johan informs me this is due to the build quality of the Triton, with a frame that is 300 kilograms lighter than its competitors.
One of the most notable aspects of the new Triton is the level of safety that seems to exude from the very vehicle itself. As I was discussing this with the team at Mitsubishi Menlyn, I learn that there are various options available: including 4×4 and 4×2 options, the entry level Triton is priced at R480 000 excluding trade assistance and comes jam-packed with feature. Having personally felt this double-cab beats any other in terms of value for money, drive experience and build quality, I was thrilled that yet another Mitsubishi swept me off my feet.
With supportive aftersales services, Mitsubishi Menlyn also promote their exceptional Part department and Workshop, where the relevant teams work together to ensure the client’s needs are always met. Believing that everyone working at the Dealership forms part of a special family who work closely together in order to uplift and empower a superb team in Menlyn.
Journalist: Desh Bechan
Reporter: Inge Stols
Editor: Belinda Anderson