The mid-size truck segment is about to get another heavyweight contender.
It was nothing short of blasphemy when Ford unveiled the Ranger Raptor and then decided not to sell it in the US. But at the same time, it was understandable. After all, Ford didn't want the baby Raptor's high levels of capability to cannibalize sales of the larger and more expensive F-150 Raptor. Thing is, Ford still hasn't changed its mind, even when the mid-size truck market is booming and the segment has room for a halo truck to come in and lead the pack.
Thankfully, Mitsubishi seems to be cooking something up that could eventually convince Ford to reconsider. So far we've only learned about it through patent images that were submitted to Australia's trademark offices and uncovered by CarAdvice.
The images seem to depict a version of the Japanese automaker's mid-size Triton pickup truck dressed for off-road hooliganry. In fact, it looks almost exactly like the Triton Absolute Concept truck that debuted at this year's Bangkok International Motor Show, and these patent images are the best clue we have that the truck will actually make production.
The Triton Absolute is fitted with everything it needs to tackle the worst terrain imaginable. It boasts a suspension system that's been upgraded to take a beating and raised by two inches for added ground clearance, off-road tires to help maintain grip, running boards to allow occupants to get inside the lifted truck, more aggressive body cladding to intimidate Tacoma TRDs, a skid plate to keep the front end tidy, and a roof-mounted LED light bar. The complete Triton Absolute package looks absolutely ready to tackle just about anything the Ranger Raptor can.
Since Mitsubishi is considering bringing a truck to the US market to jumpstart the brand's sales, the Triton Absolute could be the perfect match, giving the automaker a leg-up on the competition and giving us the off-road-ready midsize truck we've been wanting. Unfortunately, it's pretty unlikely that Mitsubishi would actually make the Triton Absolute a Ranger Raptor competitor complete with jump-absorbing suspension and a Baja mode, even if it does make it to America.
We hope Mitsubishi proves us wrong though, in part to satisfy our own dreams of owning an inexpensive truck that's capable of flight and in part because Mitsubishi needs America's respect, and the Triton Absolute would do that much better than the Eclipse Cross.