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 East Rand, is all of the above – and more.

Kobus Jacobs, the Branch Manager and Dealer Principal at Mitsubishi East rand, was my hospitable host when I recently test-drove the new Triton. With a whopping thirty years of experience in the motoring industry, Kobus has literally followed his dreams and passion from a very young age. Believing that you only get one chance to make the decision to pursue your passions, Kobus has worked his way through the ranks of some impressive brands who clearly identified his potential and encouraged him to further his studies in Management; as a result, Kobus has spent the last three decades doing what he loves. Having experienced what it is like to be a sales man, a service manager and a dealer principal in this industry, Kobus believes he has found his niche in his appreciation for the Mitsubishi brand, and clearly brings a host of skills and talents to the table.

Warmly welcoming me to the showroom is Jaco Odendaal, sales manager at the dealership, who has racked up twelve years of experience in the motoring industry. Jaco states that the reason he is so dedicated to the Mitsubishi brand relates not only to the excellence of the products and services, but also to the loyalty and dedication which the brand creates, inspires and maintains. Noting that he has had the privilege of getting to know the local community as repeat customers over the last few years, Jaco shares how his favourite part of representing the brand is seeing clients bringing their extended family to the dealership, due to their own great experiences with the vehicles, and his team.

As I glance over the Triton, Christo Prys (New Vehicle Sales Executive) joins me. A man of few words, Christo simply summarises that “you can’t fault a Mitsubishi” – and having worked with the brand for more than a decade, I am inclined to believe him. What I immediately love about the Triton is that it 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 asked Chris what features the Triton has, he grinned and said “The Triton itself”, and although I laughed, I found it particularly pertinent. 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). With ample ground clearance (205mm to be exact, my knowledgeable guide Chris 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. Chris tells 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 East Rand, I was privileged to see well-known singer Gerhard Steyn and his wife in the showroom, who had just taken delivery of their own Mitsubishi (Pajero Sport) for this exact reason: safety and the sense of confidence and security the vehicle, and the brand, provide.

Available in numerous variants that include 4×4 and 4×2 options, the entry level Triton is priced at R479 995 and comes jam-packed with features (although it’s worth mentioning that Sat Nav has to be optionally added). 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 East Rand also promote their exceptional Part department and Workshop, where the relevant teams work together to ensure the client’s needs are always met. With the Dealership’s solid, positive reputation in the local community, Kobus attributes their good name to the belief that trust relationships must be established throughout the Dealership and the customers around them. Believing that everyone working at the Dealership forms part of a special family who work closely together and spend a great deal of time with each other, the importance of growing and investing in his staff form part of his core plan in order to equip and build an effective, efficient and reliable team.

Looking forward to a great year for the brand, Kobus mysteriously also hints at two exciting new releases that are in the pipeline. As an unabashed fan of the Mitsubishi brand, I am also excited to have chosen the Pajero Sport for my long-haul review in the next few weeks.

For more information, click on this link to visit this dedicated dealership: Mitsubishi East Rand

 

By Desh Bechan