Check out this blinged-up bakkie!

If you don’t do bling, you will hate this new bakkie. CHARLEEN CLARKE, on the other hand, absolutely adores it.

A couple of decades ago, I ordered a Peugeot 206 cc – in orange. Not only was the exterior orange, so, too, were the seats.

My friends thought I had lost my mind. “How can you possibly order an orange car? Have you gone mad?” they enquired, weeping, wailing and shielding their eyes… “You will battle to sell it one day,” they all warned. (They were wrong, by the way; I found a buyer as mad as me.)

I loved that car. While orange probably isn’t the most elegant of colours for a car, it made me smile. I grinned like a loony person as I sped around town.

Now Mitsubishi has launched a bakkie that’s having exactly the same effect on me – probably because it makes copious use of orange. The bakkie is called the Triton Athlete. It has a sporty two-tone exterior, which incorporates bold orange and black highlights. Other exterior features include new black powder-coated, diamond-cut 17-inch alloy wheels, a sports bar and an integrated tailgate spoiler, and dark-grey and orange decals with black highlights on the side steps, door mirrors, door handles, rear bumper and new tailgate. The interior makes excessive use of orange, too.

I just love it.

The interior is also dominated by orange, making this a most unusual bakkie!

Now I know exactly what you’re thinking, dear readers … I can just imagine the howls of protest right now. “Typical woman. Colour is not the most important thing in a bakkie.” That’s what you’re thinking, right?

Well, I am pleased to inform you (she writes, rather smugly) that the Triton Athlete also makes perfect sense for a bunch of logical reasons.

Let’s kick off with the technical underpinnings. The Athlete, which is assembled in Mitsubishi’s Thailand factory and then fully imported to South Africa, is based on the Triton double-cab 4×4 automatic. It is powered by the 2,4-litre MIVEC turbodiesel engine, which produces 133 kW at 3 500 r/min and peak torque of 430 Nm at 2 500 r/min. (Just in case you’re wondering, MIVEC stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system, and it is the brand name of a variable valve timing engine developed by Mitsubishi Motors in Japan.) More importantly, it’s a terrific motor, which offers more than enough grunt. The five-speed automatic transmission is impressive too; gear shifting is extremely smooth.

Want to go off-road? No problem. The Athlete comes with Mitsubishi’s Super Select II 4WD system, which means it will go pretty much anywhere. You will reach your destination safely, too; it has seven airbags, Isofix child-seat anchors, side-impact protection bars and a high-tensile steel body structure for more effective reinforcement. That’s in addition to the standard features found on the standard Triton 4×4 such as ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, Active Stability and Traction Control and Hill-start Assist (HSA).

Want to tow? That’s no problem either. It has a towing capacity of 3,1 t.

Finally, there is the price. At R559 995 (the same listed retail price as the standard Triton 4×4 Double-Cab A/T), it’s a sweet deal. Are you sold yet? If I was in the market for a bakkie, it would certainly be on my shopping list (somewhere near the top). And not just because of the orange.

Published by

Charleen Clarke

CHARLEEN CLARKE is editorial director of FOCUS. While she is based in Johannesburg, she spends a considerable amount of time overseas, attending international transport events – largely in her capacity as associate member of the International Truck of the Year Jury.
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