Prototype Mitsubishi Triton Pickup Spied in US Making EV Noises
This might be our first look at a new generation of Mitsubishi pickup trucks. Question is: Will they be sold here?
What looks like a prototype Mitsubishi Triton pickup truck has been photographed testing in Colorado. It could offer us a preview of a potentially U.S.-bound Mitsubishi pickup, though its presence leaves us with more questions than answers.
Photos of the truck wearing Michigan manufacturer plates were submitted by a reader, who reported seeing the truck in Colorado Springs. They claimed to have heard the whine of an electric motor, indicating the truck could be a hybrid or electric vehicle. Its presence in Colorado is easily explained: carmakers often perform high-altitude testing in the Rocky Mountains, where the thin air strains cooling systems and weakens performance. That'd also be why a similar prototype was filmed towing in the Rockies last September by TFLnow.
While it would be easy to mistake this as the 2024 Toyota Tacoma, a handful of details give this truck away as a Mitsubishi. Its side windows are identical to known images of the redesigned Triton, while its running boards and body lines where the front fender meet the fascia share contours too. They all match the Triton XRT concept shown off in March, which previews a redesign expected later this year.
Mitsubishi told us in December that it is interested in selling pickup trucks in the U.S. again, having last offered the Dodge-based Raider in 2009. However, it emphasized that the Chicken Tax stands in the way of importing the global-market Triton: it effectively forces automakers to bring truck manufacturing stateside or be priced out of contention. Mitsubishi's test program for the new Triton has already taken it across the world, with Arctic testing photographs published in Drive, so it's no stretch of the imagination that Mitsubishi would test a truck it doesn't plan to sell here.
Mitsubishi Triton XRT Concept. Mitsubishi Motors
That's exactly what's going on, too: A Mitsubishi spokesperson confirmed it has "no plans to bring the truck to the U.S." Even so, there may still be hope that parts of this truck we can't see will still make it stateside.
Remember, our source for these photos reported hearing the whine of an electric motor. As it happens, Mitsubishi announced an electric pickup last month. The electric truck's form factor hasn't been confirmed, but it may not be too early to test parts of its powertrain. This is purely speculative, but there's a chance that we're looking at an early EV drivetrain mule. The truck lacks an obvious exhaust, and while there's no apparent high-voltage warning sticker or charge port, 2024 Chevy Silverado EV prototypes have lacked stickers too, and a prototype's plug could be anywhere.
Again, we're not about to see the Mitsubishi Triton sold in the U.S., and this isn't a preview of that. But there's a slight chance we're looking at the forebear of an EV that could put Mitsubishi back on the map—especially if it only has GM's rumored electric compact truck to contend with.
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