The next generation Mitsubishi Triton has undergone a rigorous development and testing program, which has taken the car maker’s global R&D team to four continents, including Australia. The head office team worked closely with local in-house engineers.
The result is a new-age light commercial utility vehicle that not only delivers on technology, performance, safety and capability, but does so with a sophisticated ride and handling blend that is at home in Australian conditions.
Working in close collaboration with an international team of Mitsubishi Motor Corporation (MMC) R&D engineers, Mitsubishi Motors Australia (MMA) product strategy specialists evaluated the new Triton extensively against segment benchmarks.
These were used to help determine settings for the Australian steering and suspension tune that will be fitted to each example destined for Australia and New Zealand. Leading the tuning input was MMA project manager Tony Dorrington.
“Traditionally, utes have been designed with a singular purpose in mind, as a workhorse. However in the last five years, customers expect their ute to do the family duties and the weekend activities, as well as working and towing,” Dorrington said.
“With the new-gen Triton we targeted a similar drive experience to a good SUV, with improved agility, responsiveness and ride comfort, but retaining Triton’s traditional off-road and workhorse capabilities.”
The local input is part of a post-COVID boom of sorts, allowing Australian tuning input into a number of future model releases post-pandemic, including the current-generation Outlander. As a result of that initial input, it was an easy step to the Triton.
Using a mix of public roads and proving grounds, including Lang Lang, the combined team developed dampers, springs and steering calibrations. Over several months, more than 100 combinations of front and rear suspension options were tested in Australia.
The final selection came down to four front suspension and four rear suspension options, with the evaluation team deciding on a final combination in time for an intensive ‘Key Person Ride’.
This stage was conducted at the famous Lang Lang Proving Ground in Victoria and attended by senior MMC executives including chief product specialist Yoshiki Masuda and segment chief vehicle engineer for frame vehicles, Tetsuya Tobe.
The result, after extensive competitor and current model benchmarking, was the adoption of a unique front damper and spring combination, plus unique rear shock for the Australian Triton specification.
The Japan-Australia collaboration also contributed to the globalised EPS tune.