Triton Time

Paul Maric looks at whether the latest updates for Mitsubishi’s ute can keep it competitive.

Despite the level of competition in the commercial segment, Mitsubishi’s second bestselling vehicle (behind the Lancer) is the utilitarian Triton. Accounting for a total 218,000 sales in Australia, it’s with little surprise that Mitsubishi has announced Model Year 12 (MY12) changes to the Triton that further cement its reputation as a trusty, reliable and well priced workhorse.

Two new models make their debut with the MY12 changes: the 4×2 top-spec GLX-R Double Cab, and the 4×4 GL-R Club Cab.

With 4×2 commercial utes contributing to around 35 percent of the segment’s sales, it’s clear that some consumers who are after a ute don’t have a specific need for one with four-wheel-drive. In light of this, the 4×2 GLX-R Double Cab offers a wealth of features without the added weight of a four-wheel-drive system. Pricing starts from $44,490 for the five-speed automatic 4×2 GLX-R Double Cab.

4×2 GL-R and GLX-R models now come with 245 mm wide rear tyres, providing extra stability on the road and better grip for towing. Towing capacity for the GLX-R is also up on the 4×2 diesel’s 2500 kg, offering an impressive 3000 kg, around 750 kg more than the Toyota HiLux.

The new 4×4 GL-R Club Cab is based on the GLX and comes packed with added kit to make it a more liveable working environment. Extra features include a leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter knob, 16-inch alloy wheels, sports bar, rear and side steps, inner carpet floor and front and rear body kit. 4×4 GL-R Club Cab pricing starts from $41,990 and is only available with a five-speed manual transmission.CARS - Mitsubishi Triton

Mitsubishi was the first commercial ute manufacturer to offer stability control to the Australian market, in 2009, and it has followed suit by making Active Stability Control (ASC) standard across the Triton range (except GL 4×2). All Triton models now also come standard with front and rear door impact bars and child restraint points. Trade vehicles have been out of touch with modern safety features for far too long, it’s great to see manufacturers finally seeing the light.

Other specification changes to 4×2 MY12 GL and GLX Triton Single Cabs includes sport seats, height adjustable driver’s seat, floor-mounted console with lid, and vinyl flooring. The 4×2 Triton GL remains powered by a 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder engine producing 94 kW and 194 Nm of torque, and it consumes a combined 10.9 l/100 km.

Those after a diesel engine in 4×2 guise can choose either a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine (GLX and GL-R) producing 100 kW and 314 Nm of torque, or a Hi Power 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that produces 131 kW and 350 Nm of torque (GLX-R only). Fuel consumption is rated at a combined 8.2 l/100 km (diesel five-speed manual), or 8.6 l/100 km and 9.6 l/100 km, respectively, for the four-speed automatic and five-speed automatic diesel and Hi Power diesel.

Changes to the 4×4 range

start with the GLX Single Cab picking up sport seats, height adjustable driver’s seat, floor-mounted console with lid, vinyl flooring, 16-inch steel wheels, and front fender flares. Increased tyre width and 16-inch steel wheels are coupled with an uprated 3000 kg towing capacity on GLX Club Cab.

4×4 Triton variants stick with the Hi Power 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine that produces 131 kW and 400 Nm of torque in five-speed manual for

m and 131 kW and 350 Nm in five-speed automatic and four-speed automatic form. Combined fuel consumption for manual variants varies between 8.3 and 8.6 l/100 km (dependent upon model) for manual versions and 9.3-9.6 l/100 km for those with automatic transmissions.

When speaking to Delivery about the MY12 Triton revisions, Mitsubishi Motors Australia President and CEO, Genichiro Nishina said, “The Triton range caters for every customer, whether they need a rugged workhorse, a comfortable family vehicle or a combination of both.

“Mitsubishi is confident that sales for the versatile and tough utility will continue to grow with the release of the two new models. “

To really test the Triton’s ability, Mitsubishi organised an off-road circuit at the 4WD Adventure Park, Murrumbateman. The off-road circuit offered a mix of rough, rocky terrain and steep inclines and declines (up to 25 degrees at some points).

The Triton’s low-range four-wheel-drive mode was engaged with the centre differential locked for the duration of the off-road course. It started with a section of very jagged and loose rock that tested the Triton’s ride quality over rough surfaces. The cabin feels greatly isolated from the activity around and underneath the car. Leaf spring rear and double wishbone front suspension offers an excellent compromise between load haulage and ride comfort, soaking up the constant bashing of large rocks and uneven surfaces.

One of the most challenging aspects of the off-road course was a 25-degree climb with undulations and exposed rocks. This type of surface and incline not only tests a four-wheel-drive’s ground clearance, but also its ability to accurately shuffle torque between the front and rear axles. When used in combination with Mitsubishi All Terrain Technology (MATT), the electronics are able to act as a virtual locked differential by limiting slippage at wheels when they have little or no contact with the road surface.

The Triton passed the off-road circuit with flying colours. Once on boost, the torque delivery of the Hi Power diesel engine, while off-road, is highly respectable.

An area that could do with improvement is off-the-line performance. When it’s at speed, the Triton offers excellent driveability and smooth torque delivery – the real issue is getting off the line in a hurry. There is a considerable amount of turbocharger lag before the Triton gets up and running, meaning that some forethought is required when getting in and out of intersections, in a hurry, from a standing start.

Mitsubishi offers the Triton with an impressive 10-year powertrain warranty and five-year new car warranty, along with fixed-price servicing and five years roadside assistance. It’s considerably more than the competition, but watch the fine print, as the powertrain warranty is limited to 160,000 km and the new car warranty to 130,000 km.CARS - Mitsubishi Triton

Prices start at $20,990 for the petrol 4×2 Triton GL Single Cab manual, and finish at $51,490 for the diesel 4×4 GLX-R Double Cab automatic. If you would like to also celebrate Mitsubishi’s 30th anniversary in Australia, you can pick up a limited edition Triton 30th Anniversary.

Based on the GLX-R, the 30th Anniversary Triton comes with unique 30th Anniversary badging, leather seats, power driver’s seat, leather console lid and Mitsubishi’s Power Sound System that includes 8-speakers and an amplifier. That’s $2200 value for no additional cost. The 30th Anniversary models are limited to around 300 units, so you will have to act quickly to pick one up.

With an impressive warranty, loads of towing and haulage capacity, it’s little wonder the Triton has sold so well for Mitsubishi over the recent years. If you’re after an honest, well-priced ute that gets the job done, it’s hard to look past the MY12 Mitsubishi Triton range.

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