Next-gen Mitsubishi Triton pickup truck to get PHEV tech [Update]

Update: ‘Mitsubishi electrification strategy’ section added.

The 2023 Mitsubishi Triton (2023 Mitsubishi L200), which will debut next year, would be aided by electrification. That’s according to a report from Motoring.com.au, which says that the next-generation Triton (and its SUV counterpart, the Pajero Sport) will gain Mitsubishi’s plug-in hybrid technology.

The publication from down under spoke to the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross’s chief engineer, Masahiro Awano, in December 2020, who said that they were studying a variety of plug-in hybrid powertrain options including tri-motor and quad-motor setups which could form the basis for performance-oriented models too. Thus, the Triton could become the world’s first mainstream hybrid 1-tonne light commercial vehicle.

2020 Mitsubishi Triton
The current Triton got a facelift in 2019, and the next-generation model is expected sometime during 2023. Image: Mitsubishi

When the publication asked if the current PHEV system seen on the Eclipse Cross could be transferred to rugged models like the Triton and Pajero Sport, Awano replied that an upgraded version of the current PHEV system would be installed on next-generation Mitsubishi cars and pickup trucks.

It’s possible that Awano was talking about the new powertrain Mitsubishi introduced in the Outlander PHEV in October 2021. A 98 kW/195 Nm 2.4L petrol engine works with an 85 kW/255 Nm front motor and a 100 kW/195 Nm rear motor, and a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeds the motors.

Hybrid planned since Day 1 for the new Mitsubishi Triton

Owen Thomson, senior manager of product strategy for Mitsubishi’s Australian subsidiary, told the local media (via Drive) in September 2021 that the company has been planning electrification for the next-gen Triton from the very first day of development. Electrification of utes this decade is inevitable, and these can achieve success in Australia, Thomson suggested. A petrol PHEV ute is probably a good thing for urban customers, but it won’t work for remote users on mining sites because of safety concerns, he added. Expect the range to include petrol, petrol-electric plug-in hybrid, and diesel variants in the future.

It is to be remembered that the 2023 Mitsubishi Triton (2023 Mitsubishi L200) is being developed in parallel with the future versions of the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan. Mitsubishi is likely leading the vehicle development, and more clarity about these product programs should emerge later this year.

MMC product pipeline that confirms 2022 release for the next-gen Mitsubishi Triton
MMC’s roadmap published in 2021 suggested that the release date of the next-gen Mitsubishi Triton was this year. However, supply chain issues could push the launch out to 2023. Image Source: Mitsubishi

Design

Road-testing of the next-gen Triton has commenced in 2022, spy pictures from drive.com.au have revealed. Mitsubishi hasn’t started using the new bodywork yet, which means that the design remains guarded, and these are early-stage prototypes. However, technical exterior changes are visible in these shots.

It looks like the wheels of the Triton have distanced, which would mean a longer wheelbase compared to the current model (3,000 mm). Mitsubishi seems to have increased the track width, which could affect the turning circle but improve handling. According to the Australian publication, the company is probably using a larger intercooler during the early-stage testing.

Design cues for the next-gen Triton could evolve from the Mi-Tech concept shown at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. The Mi-Tech, despite being a beach-buggy type model, featured strong design elements for its front and rear fascia that are suitable for tough Mitsubishi models like the Triton and Pajero Sport.

Mitsubishi Mi-Tech concept
The Mitsubishi Mi-Tech concept is expected to lend design cues to the incoming Mitsubishi trucks and SUVs. Image: Mitsubishi

Enthusiasts hope for a Triton Ralliart with performance mods

The next-gen Mitsubishi Triton, at some point in its lifecycle, could acquire a sporty Ralliart variant that goes up against the Ford Ranger Raptor. During the announcement of FY2020 Financial Results, Mitsubishi confirmed that it’s relaunching the Ralliart division and teased a current-gen Triton Ralliart.

We have decided to relaunch our RALLIART brand for customers in Mitsubishi Motors plans who want to add to Mitsubishi Motors-ness even more. In the future, we plan to develop items as genuine accessories for a wide range of models, and we would like to take opportunity to be involved in motorsports, as well.

Mitsubishi Motors (FY2020 Financial Results)
Mitsubishi Triton Ralliart teaser
A Triton Ralliart with performance mods in the next generation can lure Ford Ranger Raptor customers. For now, however, Ralliart is just fancy stickers, bumpers, and mudflaps. Image Source: Mitsubishi

A few years from now, a next-gen Triton Ralliart featuring unique styling and modified components honed for performance could replace the 2021 Triton Ralliart, which is simply an accessorized truck. The brand has to mature before it can compete with the likes of Hyundai’s N division or the Toyota GR line.

Mitsubishi’s Australian subsidiary was quite pumped up about the potential Triton Ralliart. A local spokesperson told CarsGuide in May 2021 that “people love fast, tough utes,” and a performance model like the Triton Ralliart “will resonate with Australia.” However, when Thomson spoke to CarSales Australia in September 2021, his tone suggested that the return of Ralliart to Australia is not in the near future and that they would like to “see it brought back (to Australia) in a proper way.”

Australia and New Zealand should be among the first markets to receive Mitsubishi’s next-gen one-tonne ute in 2023.

Mitsubishi electrification strategy

Mitsubishi, like Dacia, is not keen on electrification. Limited by acceptance of EVs in its core markets, it isn’t bullish about EVs at the moment. At the Alliance digital conference held on 27 January 2022, President & CEO Takao Kato, offered an insight. In November 2020, the Japanese automaker had announced that it aims to convert 50% of its total sales to EVs by 2030 and become a carbon-neutral company by 2050.

For Mitsubishi, our target of electrification is just that in 2030 electrification ratio, including the BEV, PHEV, Hybrid is 50%. It doesn’t look a very ambitious target, but there’s a reason. Because, for example, like in Europe, the direction of the electrification is very very clear. For example, in 2030, if we want to survive in Europe, most of the vehicle must be EV. It is very apparent. But, for example, like Mitsubishi our main market is ASEAN area. In that area, still the direction is not very clear. Sometimes government said “we’ll push BEV strongly” but next year “oh sorry, have revised our direction.” So, always the strategy is changing and changing in those countries.

Takao Kato, President & CEO, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (Alliance digital conference on 27 January 2022)

Mitsubishi Triton Hybrid FAQs

What is the Mitsubishi Triton PHEV release date?

The Mitsubishi Triton PHEV is expected in the next-gen Triton family, which could be launched in ASEAN & Australian markets in 2023.

Which pickups will rival the Mitsubishi Triton PHEV?

The Mitsubishi Triton PHEV will go up against co-developed products Alaskan & Navara, aside from the Hilux, D-Max & Ranger.

What will be the price of the Mitsubishi Triton PHEV?

The Mitsubishi Triton PHEV is expected to cost from about AUD 40,000 (USD 30,000).

Featured image: Mitsubishi