Let's see how the three pick-up rivals fare on paper
Mitsubishi has finally launched an all-new Triton Strada after 9 years. The sixth-generation pickup truck has become bigger, and more powerful, plus it comes with a host of new high-tech off-road and advanced safety features.
From being the oldest in the group, the all-new Triton Strada is now the freshest face in the lifestyle pickup truck wars. But how exactly does the all-new model compare to its most popular rivals on paper? Let's crunch the numbers and do a spec check between the all-new Triton Athlete, the Ranger Wildtrak, and the Hilux Conquest.
Bring out the tape measure
The outgoing 5th generation Strada is currently one of the more compact pickup trucks in the market. That all changed for the 6th generation as Mitsubishi made its truck bigger, wider, taller, and stretched out the wheelbase to be on par with its competition.
Based on the initial specifications, the all-new Triton Athlete measures 5360 mm long, 1930 mm wide, 1815 mm tall, and has a 3130 mm wheelbase.
Meanwhile, the Ranger Wildtrak saw Ford make substantial changes to the T6 platform to accommodate larger engines, improve ride comfort, and open up space to add a hybrid system in the future. As a result, the Ranger Wildtrak measures 5370mm long, 1918mm wide, and 1884mm tall. It also has a 3270mm wheelbase.
The Hilux Conquest's platform on the other hand is set to soldier on for a few more years, as Toyota is developing a mild hybrid system for the pickup truck that they will roll out soon. Size-wise, the Hilux Conquest stands 5325 mm long, 1900 mm wide, 1845 mm tall, and has a 3085 mm wheelbase.
As it stands, the Ranger Wildtrak is still the longest, tallest, and has the most stretched wheelbase in its class, but the all-new Triton Athlete has slotted between the Ford and the Hilux Conquest in terms of its dimensions and trumps everyone by being the new wide boy in town.
200 HP battle
While the top-spec models are mostly used as daily drivers now, pickup trucks are still originally designed to haul heavy cargo. And as a result, manufacturers rely on the good 'ol diesel power.
Let's start with the all-new Triton Athlete. Mitsubishi has given the truck a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel called the 4N16. Much like the outgoing 4N15, the new engine benefits from the Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing Electronic Control system or MIVEC. The fifth-generation Strada was already making 181 PS and 430 Nm of torque, but the new one is more powerful with 204 PS at 3500 rpm and 470 Nm of torque at 1500 to 2750 rpm thanks to the addition of another turbo. Yes, the 4N16 is a twin-turbo diesel. Mitsubishi kept its transmission options between a 6-speed auto and a 6-speed manual.
On the other hand, Ford went for a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for the Ranger Wildtrak, heavily relying on producing power through its two turbos. The Bi-turbo unit puts out 210 PS at 3750 rpm and 500 Nm of torque between 1750 to 2000 rpm. Exclusively paired with the Ranger Wildtrak's biturbo diesel is a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Toyota still believes there's no replacement for displacement, as they have the biggest turbodiesel engine in this comparo. The Hilux Conquest is powered by the 1GD-FTV engine – a 2.8-liter unit that produces 204 PS at 3000-3400 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 1600 to 2800 rpm. In the Philippines, the Hilux Conquest is being offered in either a 6-speed auto or a 6-speed manual transmission.
Numbers-wise, all three pickup trucks are now in the 200-horsepower zone. The Ranger Wildtrak has a slight edge between the Mitsubishi and Toyota in terms of outright grunt, and it's tied with the Hilux Conquest in terms of peak torque. While the Ford seems to lead the class on paper, it's worth noting that the all-new Triton Athlete and the Hilux Conquest have a broader peak torque band, which could prove to come in handy on uphill sections, hauling cargo and going off-road.
An inside look
Pickup trucks have come a long way from having very basic cabins made for the worksite. Nowadays, soft-touch panels, touchscreen head units, and even leather now come as standard features for these workhorses, and these three contenders are the best examples.
Mitsubishi gave the all-new Triton Athlete a boxier dashboard design. There's a new analog instrument cluster with a digital multi-information display and a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen. They retained the overhead blowers for the second row, and the 2nd-row passengers also get USB charging ports, backseat pockets, and cupholders on the armrests.
Other interior bits include a new steering wheel and a dual-zone climate control system, plus an around-view monitor for better maneuvering of the pickup truck. It's also worth noting that Mitsubishi still kept using toggle switches, buttons, and knobs for controlling most of the pickup truck's interior features.
Ford was one of the brands that first introduced the boxy dashboard design that will seem to be the trend going forward. The Ranger Wildtrak has one of the most feature-packed cabins in its class, as it has a fully digital instrument cluster, power adjustable driver's seat, wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto connectivity, wireless charging, as well as dual-zone climate control in its list of interior features. They have integrated many of the features in the large 12-inch infotainment screen, which also doubles up in controlling the A/C system, the terrain mode, as well as the rear differential lock.
Over the Toyota side, the Hilux Conquest has a different take in terms of dashboard design – a trait it shares with its sedan sibling, the Corolla Altis. Like the all-new Triton, it still utilizes an analog instrument cluster with a digital multi-information display, and its 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is ready for wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
As expected, the newer trucks get the edge in terms of interior features. The all-new Triton Athlete and Ranger Wildtrak have an advantage over the Hilux Conquest by having dual-zone climate control over the Toyota's single-zone unit. The Ranger Wildtrak also has rear A/C vents, while the Triton Athlete carried over its rear blower. For Toyota's case, rear A/C vents are only available in the GR-S variant.
For cabin materials, age is also setting back the Hilux Conquest as both Mitsubishi and Ford leveled up in using more soft-touch materials and padding in their trucks compared to the hard plastics found on the Toyota.
Safety and Off-Road tech
Nowadays, it's almost automatic for manufacturers to put in the most number of airbags, safety assists and ADAS features in their high-spec models, and those can evidently be seen on the three trucks we're comparing. All three trucks come with four-wheel-drive with low range, plus drive modes to tackle different kinds of terrain.
The all-new Triton Athlete comes with Active Stability and Traction Control (M-ASTC), Active Yaw Control, Hill Descent Control, and Hill Start Assist, as well as ADAS systems such as Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Driver Monitoring System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Front and Rear Automatic Emergency Braking, Automatic Post Collision Braking, among others.
As for its 4x4 tech, Mitsubishi's competition-proven Super Select 4WD-II system has a locking center differential with active brake-controlled LSD. Also, the new terrain mode lets the driver select between Normal, Eco, Gravel, Snow, Mud, Sand, and Rock.
In Ford's case, the Ranger Wildtrak likewise gets hill descent and hill start assist as standard, while it has intelligent driver aids like adaptive cruise control with stop & go and lane centering, auto high beam, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning with lane-keeping, blind-spot information with cross-traffic alert, 360-degree camera, reverse brake assist, and evasive steer assist.
Drivers can choose between Normal, Eco, Tow/Haul, Slippery for on-road, and Mud/Ruts and Sand for use off-road with the Ranger Wildtrak, while its shift-on-the-fly 4x4 system comes with an electronic locking differential that can be activated on the large infotainment touchscreen.
Lastly, the Hilux Conquest comes with anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, hill-start assist control, downhill assist control, a rear sonar system, a rear camera, and seven airbags as standard. However, it does not get the full Toyota Safety Sense advanced driver assist system, as the manufacturer reserved the full suite for the GR-S variant. Instead, the Hilux Conquest only gets Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Departure Alert.
The list of passive and active safety features on these trucks is indeed very long, but as with the interior, the newer trucks benefit from more features.
As it stands, the all-new Mitsubishi Triton Athlete comes with a lot of promise as it matches its rivals in terms of performance, interior equipment, and safety on paper, which could make the pickup truck wars a much more tightly contested segment.
While Ford for a short period of time was leading its class with the Ranger Wildtrak, Mitsubishi responded very well with how they developed and packaged the all-new Triton Athlete. As for Toyota, they have a lot of catching up to do in the Hilux Conquest to match its newer rivals pound for pound in terms of specs, and they may have to do more than just mild hybrid assistance to keep up with the competition.