We sometimes forget that Mitsubishi still sells vehicles in the US, but we think it forgot to sell the Triton L200 midsize pickup here. Mitsubishi has a great entry into the hot midsize pickup parade but we won’t be seeing it.
With as thin of a product mix as it has in the US the Triton, or in some countries the called the Strada, seems like a natural fit for some extra love and sales. Even the Mitsubishi North American executive VP Don Swearingen wants it saying, “It’s one of the top ones on our list.” Because of the “chicken tax” tariffs on trucks built overseas it would add too much cost to the Thailand-built Triton. And Mitsubishi can’t build it here.
Mitsubishi Sold Pickups Here Before
Mitsubishi did sell a midsize truck in the US at one time with the Raider. It was a Dodge Ram Dakota in everything but its name. Before that it sold the Mighty Maxx. Remember it? That was 30 years ago. So, it has a history with smaller pickups and knows what they can add to the bottom line.
When asked about getting a truck here Mitsubishi says it’s focussing on SUVs and plug-in hybrids right now. It also admits the Triton pickup was not engineered to meet US regulations. However, according to Mitsubishi 150 other countries will.
So, what are we missing? First, the Triton features an all-new body on the existing frame underpinning this version since 2015. The new styling features Mitsu’s signature “Dynamic Shield” grille.
The only engine offered is a 2.4-liter diesel with variable valve timing pumping out 180 hp. Either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual trans are available. The Super Select II two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive allows one to shift-on-the-fly, plus you have a low-range transfer case.
Other features are front and rear parking sensors, automatic parking brakes, and also a 360-degree camera.
What seems likely is that with the new Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance, there will be a single pickup platform developed for all three brands. That can’t come soon enough for Nissan as well, because its aging midsize Frontier has been soldiering along for far too long.
Nissan also has a great midsize pickup not sold here called the Navara. Ford was in a similar situation before it started manufacturing the Ranger in the US. The difference for Ford is that it has plant capacity to bring in a product like the Ranger to avoid the chicken tax dilemma.
New Frontier The Next Mitsubishi Pickup?
We know that Nissan is well underway developing a replacement for the Frontier, which dates back to 2005. It may fold the Navara into this new truck to simplify global manufacturing. This could also be the platform we would see a derivative Mitsubishi Triton pickup coming from.
Japanese companies are doing well with building passenger cars, a segment American companies are abandoning almost entirely. Developing new models is getting into the billions of dollars. As a result, Japanese manufacturers must consider a large cross-section of segments including SUVs and pickups, whereas the American companies can laser focus on those truck segments exclusively.
Whatever is the case, we look forward to seeing a new Triton pickup in Mitsubishi dealerships in the near future.