As we speak, waves of SUVs are breaking on shores around the globe, swamping passenger car segments. These sports utility vehicles play in the long shadows of the traditional four-wheel drive vehicle, borrowing bits and pieces from them here and there.
But what of the genuine off-roader, used on the land and by tradesmen and women around town? Look no further than the Mitsubishi Triton ute, which has been significantly upgraded for 2017. GLX and GLX+ fit the workhorse bill, while GLS and Exceed add the perfect playground.
Two new models have been added to the roster – GLX Club Cab Chassis ($37,800) and GLX+ Club Cab Pick Up ($38,500) both with automatic transmission. The range kicks off with the Triton GLX Single Cab 4×2 petrol manual at $22,300 and winds up with the Exceed Double Cab 4×4 automatic, $48,000.
All are backed by Mitsubishi’s five-year / 100,000km new car warranty. The test vehicle was the GLX+ Double Cab 4×4 automatic Pick Up, priced at $39,500.
Little has changed on the Triton styling front, the GLS and Exceed taking on a new dark chrome front grille and headlight garnish, plus platform-style side steps.
Reversing camera and rear step bumper become standard on Triton GLX double cab pick-up, and for addition off-road ability 16-inch All-Terrain tyres are fitted to GLX and GLX+ 4×4 variants.
The cargo bed on Double Cab models provides ample load capacity with 1520mm length and 1470mm width. Featuring six tie-down hooks and a rear gate with an easy to use single handle, the rear corners are reinforced to disperse the force of impact when cargo shifts and prevent damage.
A tilt, telescopic steering wheel is standard across the Triton range, allowing even the fussiest driver to get comfy.
Piano black instrument panel trim and bright chrome interior door handles give the GLX+ its own character, while AM/FM CD display with 6.1-inch colour touch screen makes for easy access to the audio system.
All Triton models come standard with the Mitsubishi Link system, which uses Bluetooth wireless technology to connect to a smartphone. Basic phoning can be controlled by voice or steering wheel controls.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The new Triton makes use of a 2.4-litre common-rail diesel engine consisting. Reduced weight and a compression ratio of 15.5:1 contribute to better torque and power across the rev range.
Peak power is 133 kW at 3500rpm, while torque is an impressive 430 Nm, albeit at a relatively high 2500 rpm. Triton’s turbo-diesel power is matched to a six-speed manual transmission, or a five-speed automatic transmission with Sports Mode. Double Cab 4×4 models have a 3.1 tonne braked towing capacity.
Active safety features include traction and stability control, plus ABS anti-locking brakes with electronic brake force distribution and hill start assist, while pick-ups are fitted with a reversing camera projecting onto the audio screen in the dash.
A five-star ANCAP rating is achieved by the Mitsubishi Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) system, meaning occupants are protected by an energy absorbing chassis design and technology.
Triton is fitted with driver and front passenger airbags and driver knee airbag for maximum protection in the event of a frontal collision. Side and curtain airbags are also standard on all models.
Keyless entry was a good start as we walked up to our test vehicle for the first time. However, the key is required to turn the ignition – no start / stop button here.
A grab handle on the A-pillar eased the climb into the driver’s seat. Front seats offer a deal of comfort and lateral support rarely found in a truck. Indeed, there are instances of my being not as comfortable in a luxury vehicle.
The rear seat, designed to take three, is flatter and firmer. However, there is no shortage of legroom and headroom and occupants have a good view all round.
The stubby gear lever on the GLX+, generally, was quick and easy to operate but now and then lost its way shifting between the six cogs. Also, the engine needed time to catch up, so easing into moving traffic required care and attention.
Once on the move, however, overtaking was capably catered for with the Triton’s 430 Nm of pulling power. Cruise control and audio steering-wheel mounted controls added to a relaxing drive. The test vehicle averaged fuel consumption of 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres in a mix of driving conditions.
Convenience translates to the Easy Select 4WD on GLX and GLX+ models, offering two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive High and Low Range via a dial that allows the driver to switch on the move at speeds of less than 100 km/h. An 11.8 metre turning circle doesn’t like tight spots when parking.
On road, the Triton chassis serves up solid handling, although the 245/70R16 111S RF All-Terrain test car tyres picked up road surface blemishes, especially at speed on motorway concrete. The body’s aerodynamic design resulted in a stable, non-turbulent performance under similar circumstances.
The tricked-up Triton is a fine balance between a back-to-basics four-wheel drive workhorse and five-seat recreational vehicle for the spare-time adventurer. There’s something there for everybody.
AT A GLANCE
Triton GLX Single Cab 4×2 petrol manual $22,300
Triton GLX Single Cab 4×2 diesel manual $25,800
Triton GLX Single Cab 4×2 diesel automatic $28,300
Triton GLX Single Cab 4×4 manual $32,500
Triton GLX Single Cab 4×4 automatic $35,000
Triton GLX Club Cab 4×4 manual $35,300
Triton GLX Club Cab 4×4 automatic $37,800
Triton GLX Double Cab 4×2 automatic $36,000
Triton GLX Double Cab 4×4 manual $37,000
Triton GLX Double Cab 4×4 automatic $39,500
Triton GLX Double Cab 4×4 Cab Chassis manual $36,250
Triton GLX Double Cab 4×4 Cab Chassis automatic $38,750
Triton GLX+ Club Car 4×4 automatic $38,500
Triton GLX+ Double Cab 4×4 manual $37,000
Triton GLX+ Double Cab 4×4 automatic $39,500
Triton GLS Double Cab 4×4 manual $41,500
Triton GLS Double Cab 4×4 automatic $44,000
Triton Exceed Double Cab 4×4 automatic $48,000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mitsubishi dealer for drive-away prices.
Speed sensing auto door lock
Crash detection door unlocking
Driver’s seat back pocket (Club and Double Cab models)
Reversing camera (Double Cab Pick-Up models)
Rear step bumper
245/70R16 111S RF All-Terrain tyres (4×4 models)
AM/FM CD display audio with 6.1-inch colour touch screen
New shape key fob
Piano black instrument panel trim
Bright chrome interior door handles
SPECIFICATIONS (2.4-litre MIVEC Intercooled turbo-diesel Double Cab Pick-Up)
Capacity: 2.442 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 133 kW @ 3500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 430 Nm @ 2500 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 191 g/km
DRIVELINE: Six-speed manual
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5280 mm
Wheelbase: 3000 mm
Width: 1815 mm
Height: 1780 mm
Turning Circle: 11.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1915 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 75 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Five years / 100,000 km