The line between traditional 4WDs and all those
‘pretenders’ is now so blurred we were unsure what to expect from the new
Mitsubishi Triton. Would it be a car-like SUV with limited off-road and load-lugging potential or would it be a genuine workhorse?
Well, we can tell you it’s the latter.
With a separate chassis, a leaf spring, live axle
rear-end and the availability of a new common rail direct injection turbo diesel
engine, the Triton has all the ingredients of a commercial vehicle. Don’t be
confused by its daring style and the sports accessories thrown in on the
Unlike many other dual-cab utes, the Triton has
genuinely useable space for front and rear passengers – no need to draw straws
to decide who’s stuck in the back. The rear seat offers plenty of legroom (even
behind tall front passengers), generous headroom and a comfortably angled
backrest. Cabin width is also adequate to accommodate five people when required.
The only criticism in this department is the shape of the rear door opening –
it’s slightly awkward to step through.
And despite its spacious cab there’s no lack of
cargo area or load capacity.
The dual cab’s cargo area is big enough to swallow
all but the longest load, the tray walls are double skinned and there are some
handy tie-down facilities. Payload is a healthy 1 tonne – no skimping
here. The GLX-R model is also equipped with a lockable hard tonneau cover which
helps keep cargo secure. Towing capacity is up to 2300kg when using the factory
The standard engine in the Triton is a 3.5-litre
petrol V6 but our test vehicle was equipped with the optional 3.2-litre
four-cylinder turbo diesel. This engine employs common rail direct injection
technology and an air-to-air intercooler mounted in the nose. With 347Nm at 2000
rpm, the engine has plenty of accessible grunt to get the Triton moving even
when lugging a heavy load. But with peak power a modest 118kW at 3800 rpm, don’t
expect to pass anyone uphill. Engine clatter is also prominent.
The standard gearbox for the common rail diesel
engine is a five-speed manual. Unfortunately, this feels a bit antiquated in
comparison to the engine – the gear shift is long and it’d be nice if there was
another ratio available. A six-speed gearbox would make all the difference when
cruising with traffic at 60 km/h – the current top gear is slightly too tall.
At 1920kg, the Triton is never going to be frugal
in an urban environment or when making lots of short trips. In these
circumstances we saw the average fuel consumption display in the low 12 litres
per 100km range. However, the average over our test was 9.8 litres per 100km –
slightly more than the ADR 81/01 figure of 9.1 litres. Note that the ADR 81/01
figure for the petrol version is 12.9 litres per 100km.
The Triton’s driveline is described as ‘part-time
4WD’. In normal conditions, only the rear wheels are driven but a selector lever
can be used to engage high-range 4WD or low-range 4WD. You can select 4WD
on-the-fly at up to 100 km/h and the transition is extremely smooth. All Triton
models are equipped with a limited slip rear different but an electronic rear
diff lock is offered as an option.
The suspension is a mix of sophistication and
brawn. At the front is an independent double wishbone, coil spring suspension
while the rear uses a heavy-duty leaf spring rear with a live axle. Ride quality
is in the category of commercial vehicles but, unlike some other one-tonners,
the ride is quite well balanced front-to-rear. Hustle it through a corner and
there’s good grip from the GLX-R’s 245/70 16 tyres but there is plenty of body
roll and the inside rear tyre can spin when applying power in tight
A power-assisted rack and pinion steering
arrangement is used and there’s a suitable amount of sneeze factor at the
straight ahead position. But with about 4.25 turns lock to lock, you’re kept busy
steering the Triton along a twisty road. The turning circle is relatively
compact at 11.8 metres but poor rear visibility makes the Triton difficult to
manage in carparks.
Braking performance is strong and stable using a
combination of ventilated front discs and large rear drums. ABS, EBD and a load-sensing brake force proportioning valve ensure maximum stability under hard
The interior of the sports-spec GLX-R offers a
strange combination of equipment. Amazingly, you don’t get electric driver’s
seat adjustment or even manual adjustment of seat height. And don’t bother
trying to adjust the reach of the steering wheel. This lack of adjustment makes
it difficult for some people to find a comfortable driving position – especially
those who are relatively short. There’s also no cruise control, driver’s
side vanity mirror or climate control.
But you get sports cloth trim, electric
windows, a rear power window (a great novelty), a leather wheel and gear knob,
alloy pedals, folding rear armrest, a Bluetooth mobile phone kit and a
multi-function central display. A single CD/tuner provides good sound quality
and punch. Only two airbags come standard and there is no option for side
And that all-new body is pretty radical. The
Triton is daringly styled with bold curves and an aggressive front-end
appearance. The GLX-R brings a polished nudge bar, fog lights, roll-over bar,
side steps, chrome mirrors, privacy glass, colour coded wheel arch flares and 16
inch alloys. It has everything to create a ‘sports truck’ look.
So what’s it worth?
As tested, the Triton GLX-R turbo diesel retails
for AUD$44,990 which is cheaper than the comparable Nissan Navara ST-X and
Toyota Hilux SR5. Take into account Mitsubishi’s 5 year/130,000km warranty and
we reckon this is a good buy.
So long as you accept that it is built as a