It’s been described as looking a bit like a “transformer” and it’s looks have certainly transformed its personal style, from a meek and mild company vehicle, into a bit of a head turner tough guy.

With most of that style change occurring from the cab forward, maybe it’s more like a facelift.

But however, you describe it, the new Mitsubishi Triton is a different beast than its predecessor. It’s more than a facelift, is it a transformation? Maybe.

Mitsubishi say it has evolved. And we’ll go with that. Especially from the cab forward, as we said.

Inside, not too much has changed. The VRX is certainly a nice place to be, heated leather seats, keyless, rear cross traffic alert, 7” touch screen media/ monitor centre, and a major suite of safety features.

Dimensions are slightly reduced from its predecessor, but shoulder and hip room are slightly increased. The VRX felt roomy and spacious enough, but without the cavernous interiors of the slightly bigger competition.

Underneath, things have sort of ……… evolved.

Suspension design remains the same, but to compensate for the extra weight of the front end restyling, and to add a bit of presence, Mitsi have installed stiffer front springs that give it a couple of inches more height and ground clearance.

A new rear leaf pack matches the front end ride height, and also stiffens things up a bit to handle chassis strengthening, and support the extra carrying and towing ratings the 4×4 double cab diesels, like our top line VRX, now boast.

The trade-off for this is the loss of the earlier model’s SUV type suppleness, that gave it one of the best rides in the ute category.

But what it gives is better load carrying and towing capacity (up to 3,500kg) in some instances, but Mitsi are very explicit at how that 3.5kg can be achieved. It was this towing ability we were interested in.

Much has been made of the missing cc of the Tritons 2.4 Litre MIVEC Diesel engine, and the HP and torque its giving away when compared to its major rivals, but when coupled with the super slick 6 speed auto, 135kw and 437 Nm torque provide more than enough real world performance.

For our test drive, we connected our 2000+kg Leisure Line caravan onto the towbar, and headed South, from Geraldine to Dunedin, with the scenic Coastal Route from Oamaru to Waianakarua, and the tight, and at times challenging Karatane to Warrington Road included.

The second, particularly, had some very slow, sharp and steep bits that the Triton handled with consummate ease. (Acceleration off the line is a bit muted till about 1500 revs, a few more uphill, then it all comes together. As you would expect.)

Then we took it Offroad!

Along the cliff tops above the South Pacific Coast, south of Oamaru, are a series off tracks leading down to bays, picnic areas and fishing spots. These are real tracks, not just shingle roads, and we had to think in a couple of spots to avoid dragging the caravan too badly.

Super Select, 4WD, Low Lock, no sweat. Heaps of power, heaps of traction.

The arrival of the Diesel Japanese double cab ute has radically changed the mobile accommodation scene in NZ.

Just a few years ago, the continuing decline in popularity of the big aussie 6’s and V8’s saw very few caravans on the road. The converted bus, or purpose built, motorhome was the way to go.

Nowadays, particularly with the increasing numbers of imported English and European caravans, as well as the Jayco and JB type offroad models hitting our shores, the caravan is well and truly back, and most of them are towed by Jap Dual Cabs.

After our weekend away, we can see why!

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