Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

Any thoughts about tinkering with the unique design of the Mitsubishi Triton have obviously been shelved.

So the new Club Cab maintains the unique features of its big brother, the double-cab.

What has changed, though, is the vehicle will no longer be manufactured in Thailand and imported to South Africa. It will now be built at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Eastern Cape.

This is a positive move for the local economy.

Whereas competitors are shedding jobs owing to a tightening of economic conditions, the move to the East London plant has created 200 jobs for the local community, with further employment opportunities likely in the new year.

Speaking at the launch at the plant last week Mercedes-Benz South Africa chairman Hansgeorg Niefer explained: "Our parent company has spent over R200million on getting the Triton production facility up and running.

"The spillover for local suppliers to the automotive industry will also be a major benefit to traders."

Whereas the Triton was only available as a double-cab, the new Club Cab now adds much-needed variety.

Initially it will be available in three derivatives: a 2,5-litre turbo diesel (R230000); 3,5-litre petrol V6 (R239250); and a 3,2-litre turbo diesel 4x4 (R297000).

A bit of bundu-bashing outside East London proved that the Triton is equally at home on city streets and off-road.

The 3,2 diesel, equipped with a five-speed gearbox, had plenty of oomph and torque. It is also ideal for carrying those loads in its ample bin (max 938kg).

All vehicles will come with a 3-year-100000km warranty and a 5-year-100000km service plan with service intervals set at 10000km for the diesel and 15000km for its petrol version.