New Mitsubishi Triton Could Preview Midsize Truck Wars
Will they or won’t they? It seems like Mitsubishi is teasing us with lots of new pickup truck images and new reports that the Triton will be coming to the U.S. That means that we are likely getting one more midsize truck to battle the best midsize trucks, including the Toyota Tacoma, new Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, and the GMC and Chevy twins, the Canyon and Colorado, as well as the upcoming Ram Dakota. Then there’s the Honda Ridgeline and Jeep Gladiator, which are aimed at a slightly different market, but are likely cross-shopped with the others.
That sounds like a lot for one segment, but trucks account for one in every six cars sold today in the U.S. Buyers are often asking for something a bit smaller than a full-size pickup.
In 2019 the company said it wouldn’t see the Triton L200 in the U.S. But, that looks to be changing. Recent reports are saying that we’ll get a Triton L200 in the U.S.
Popular in the UK, but underpowered for the U.S.
The Triton L200 is a capable truck that is popular across the pond, and it’s considered one of the best midsize trucks in Europe. It’s also been a hot seller in the U.K. for years, and the company says one in three trucks sold there is a Mitsubishi. It packs a four-wheel-drive system that is instantly switchable from two-wheel-drive, for driving on pavement and saving gas, to locking the differential for getting through mud and sand. It can tow, too. Mitsibishi’s midsize truck has a tow rating of 3,500 kilograms in the U.K., which means more than 7,700 pounds.
Like other trucks in the segment, it comes with two or four doors. The two-door is called the Club Cab in Europe, the four-door is called the Double Cab. In the Double Cab configuration, it can be bought with a variety of options, and it comes with some interesting names, including Warrior, Trojan, Barbarian, and Barbarian X.
We only wish that the company would bring back the Mighty Max name, which was what the company called its compact pickup that was sold here until 1995. That truck was a value-conscious pickup that was powered by a 116-horsepower four-cylinder that was popular on the bottom-end of the small-truck spectrum.
Its engine today, though, doesn’t seem ideal for the U.S. market. The L200 is powered by a 2.3 liter turbodiesel which makes only 148 horsepower, but 317 lbft of torque. Maybe the company can stuff in the 2.5 liter V6 from the Outlander that makes 181 horsepower, or whatever powerplant that is in the new Ralliart race truck.
Some American test trucks have already been spotted
For several months now, Motor1 tells us that Mitsubishi is testing the L200 in the U.S. Mitsubishi has constantly upgraded the truck, now in its sixth generation. The last major redesign, however, was in 2014 with a refresh in 2018.
And, Autoblog reports that Mitsubishi dealers are clamoring for a pickup to compete with new offerings from almost every other manufacturer.
Since the truck is due for an update in 2023, it makes sense that Mitsubishi could add everything it needs to certify the truck for sale in the U.S. The current version is selling nearly as well as the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux in Australia, according to Car Expert.
The most likely best midsize trucks are from well-established names
Most likely, the best midsize truck competitors for the L200 would be the new Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma. Like those trucks, it could be offered as a two-door inexpensive runabout, or a fully-optioned off-road capable beast. It would likely be aimed at the Canyon and Colorado twins, too, as well as the Ranger. But, the American alternatives are slightly larger.
The U.K. Triton L200, depending on trim, is 17 feet long, which is about 6 inches shorter than the Tacoma, Frontier, and Ranger. It’s about an inch or two narrower, too. But those dimensions could change because of U.S. crash standards.
The Tacoma offers off-road TRD packages, and the Nissan has it’s Pro-4X trim, that are about on par with the U.K.’s Barbarian X version of the Triton. The Toyota, however, has the trick Crawl Control system that works like magic to dig the truck out of deep sand or mud.
A new Mitsubishi Triton would be entering one of the hottest segments in the U.S., and the timing seems right for the company to take a chance on a U.S. version of the truck. But it will have a lot of competition.