More powerful Mitsubishi Triton Ralliart on the cards

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There’s a hole in the upcoming Mitsubishi Triton range that’s primed for a Ralliart variant – and if it comes to Australia, it would be more than just a sticker pack.

The new-generation Mitsubishi Triton line-up could eventually be joined in Australia by a range-topping Ralliart variant.

At a media pre-launch event for the Triton, Mitsubishi Australia CEO Shaun Westcott told Drive the prospect of a Ralliart version was “under study” – and left the door open for a more powerful, potentially hybrid engine.

“Our global vice president made it clear that Mitsubishi is looking into the space of a Ralliart version for the future,” Mr Westcott told Drive.

“I can’t tell you exactly when and what the timing will be, but there’s definitely understudies – the words that my boss used – that’s under study.”

Made famous during World Rally Championship battles against Subaru in the 1990s and 2000s, Ralliart was the skunkworks inside Mitsubishi responsible for delivering the company’s high-performance models – including the Lancer Evolution, Pajero Evolution, and Magna Ralliart, among others.

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“We had the option of taking the sticker pack as well, and I basically declined,” Mr Westcott said.

“I declined, I said ‘I don’t want a sticker pack’. For me, Ralliart is about performance, and I’d really like to see a vehicle that is enhanced in some way.

“That’s very clearly a request from our side – is that whatever comes out of this pipeline, it needs to be an enhanced vehicle, not just a sticker pack,” he added.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we may be able to do something in the space in the future based on what our global vice president said, which is that we are investing in Ralliart.”

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Mitsubishi will launch the new Triton with the GSR as the range-topping variant. But being approximately $10,000 cheaper than the Toyota HiLux GR Sport, it leaves the door open for another model to slot in above the Triton GSR – possibly with additional performance.

While a senior Mitsubishi executive told Drive in July 2023 the forthcoming Triton could potentially accommodate a V6 engine under the bonnet, when asked about potential engines for a Triton Ralliart, Mr Westcott steered the conversation towards the prospect of utilising hybrid technology.

“What I can say is that various drivetrains, powertrains are under study for Triton as well,” he said.

“We do understand that the future at some point will be [electric vehicles], but the reality of where we’re at at the moment, and it doesn’t matter which [car company] you are, is that current battery technology when you’re talking about utes or big SUVs, payload and towing capability becomes a problem when you have current battery technology.

“We’re either going to look at some form of hybridisation – [plug-in hybrid or traditional] hybrid as part of the journey,” said Mr Westcott, mentioning Mitsubishi was investing heavily in battery technology research.

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Previously reports out of Japan suggest Mitsubishi may launch an Outlander PHEV Ralliart in 2024, with more powerful electric motors mated with the SUV’s 2.4-litre petrol engine.

The 2024 Mitsubishi Triton will launch in February 2024, with a 2.4-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine and six-speed automatic fitted to all four variants, and more models expected to be announced before the end of next year.

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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