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Mitsubishi Triton GLX+ dual cab 4x4 auto 2016 review


Daily driver score

4/5

Mark Oastler road tests and reviews the 2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLX+ dual cab 4x4 auto with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

On its release in May 2015, the latest MY16 Triton failed to create much excitement. It was effectively a heavily revised and updated version of the previous version, rather than the clean-sheet new model many were expecting to serve Mitsubishi through the next decade or so.

So it may come as a surprise to some that Triton is the closest challenger to the sales supremacy of Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux in the 4x4 ute market. It continues to rack up rock-solid sales and that's mainly because of its combination of proven quality and super low pricing, particularly in the work-focused GLX and GLX+ grades.

Price and features

The GLX+ dual-cab 4x4 ute with auto is only $36,990 drive-away. That is remarkable given that its closest price competitor starts at more than $42,000 and all other major players in this base model segment range from $45,000 to $48,000.

The body restyle has resulted in a more muscular and cohesive appearance.

As its name suggests the Triton GLX+ comes with a few extras over the GLX including 16 x 7-inch alloy wheels with 245/65R17 tyres, rear step bumper, display audio with 6.1-inch colour touch screen and a reversing camera.

That's on top of other useful standard GLX features like side steps, USB/iPod/Bluetooth connectivity with voice control and a new tilt-and-reach adjustable steering wheel (it's time all utes had this dual adjustment!) with integral audio, phone and cruise controls to name a few.

Design

The body restyle has resulted in a more muscular and cohesive appearance particularly in the join between cabin and cargo bed, plus small increases in cabin length, front passenger head/shoulder room and rear leg room.

The carry-over 3000mm wheelbase is 85mm shorter than HiLux and 220mm less than Ranger, but maintains its handy class-leading 11.8m turning circle as a result. It's also shorter and narrower than the market leaders with a lighter kerb weight. Refinement of its double wishbone front and leaf spring rear suspension includes 120mm longer leaves and a more rearward wheelbase location to improve handling balance, weight carrying and ride quality. Rear departure angle has also improved to 22 degrees.

The vinyl floor coverings and 50 shades of grey trim are consistent with the GLX's workhorse focus.

It still feels a tad 'squeezy' inside for big blokes but the overall design theme is stylish and functional for an entry-level model.

The rear seat height is relatively low to provide enough headroom for adults (barely enough for tall ones), resulting in a higher knee height and upper thigh angle than we'd like. Three seat belts and headrests show it can take three across the back but a long trip would stretch friendships.

The A-pillar's telescopic metal radio aerial, begging to be bent or snapped off by a low-hanging branch, is way past its use-by date.

Engine and transmission

The Triton's new Euro 5-compliant 4N15 2.4-litre four cylinder turbo-diesel offers more power and torque than the previous model, with 133kW at 3500rpm and 430Nm at a relatively high 2500rpm.

That eyebrow-raising torque figure is topped only by the larger 3.2-litre five cylinder Ranger/BT50 pair (470Nm) and the class-leading 2.8-litre Colorado (500Nm), with a claimed 25 per cent torque boost at 1500rpm and a further lift at 1750rpm on its way to maximum torque another 750rpm to the north.

The Aisin five-speed torque converter automatic is based on the Pajero's self-shifter. Although Triton is now one of only two vehicles in this segment with less than six speeds (the Aisin-equipped D-Max is the other), it features an overdriven fifth gear for economy and a Sport mode when sequential manual shifting is required.

The three-mode (2H-4H-4L) part-time 4x4 transmission is electronically controlled by a single console knob and there is no locking rear differential.

Practicality

The Triton's relatively light 1930kg kerb weight reflects compact dimensions. Its 2900kg GVM allows for a 970kg payload, which is one of the smallest in this company. And arguably the most strenuous to load manually, given that the load floor is 850mm above the ground at its highest point – even higher than Ranger. However, the Triton's 5885kg GCM also means that with a small 115kg payload reduction (970kg to 855kg) it can legally tow up to 3100kg braked, which is a good compromise.

It's generally easier to drive, park and manoeuvre in tight spaces than larger rivals.

There are drink bottle holders and storage pockets in the front doors plus two cup holders and a storage bin in the centre console. Rear passengers get drink bottle holders in both doors plus a pair of cup holders in the fold-down centre armrest.

Fuel consumption

Mitsubishi claims CO2 emissions of 201 g/km and a straw-sipping 7.6L/100km combined in the lab, which is a substantial 18 per cent improvement over the previous model. We achieved 9.6L/100km which is still commendable given the variations in real world driving conditions and payloads encountered during our test. Fact is, any quality 4x4 dual cab ute that can return less than 10L/100km in real world use has to have strong appeal.

Driving

The ride quality un-laden is acceptable if a little harsh over larger bumps and deviations, as you'd expect with rear leaf springs designed to cope with a GCM of nearly 6.0 tonnes.

The Triton's sharp steering response is linked to its short 3.0 metre wheelbase. While this agility, enhanced by a new faster ratio steering rack, means it's generally easier to drive, park and manoeuvre in tight spaces than larger rivals, it can also feel a tad twitchy when you're lugging about half a tonne of firewood like we did.

With the load bed's prominent overhang, most of the load is carried behind the rear axle line creating a mild but noticeable pendulum effect under lateral loads in some corners. On the plus side, the increased longitudinal leverage serves to engage the rear springs and produce good ride quality on bumpy roads.

Engine braking under load was good for a small capacity diesel.

The 2.4 litre turbo-diesel provides spirited performance when unladen but with our load of around 600kg there was at times a noticeable delay in low speed throttle response, which felt like the turbo wasn't spooling up quickly enough to match the gear chosen by the auto. It's not something we experienced with this engine in the manual version, so we suspect it's the auto shift settings.

We found better throttle response when manual-shifting in Sport mode, as the engine could be kept spinning further up the rev range in what felt like the turbo's sweet spot around 2000-2500rpm. Engine braking under load, though, was good for a small capacity diesel.

Safety

Maximum ANCAP five-star rating with driver and front passenger front and side airbags plus driver's knee airbag and curtain airbags. The rear seat also provides child restraint anchorage points and two ISOFIX child seat mountings.

Active Stability and Traction Control (ASTC) is standard across the 2016 range along with Hill Start Assist, Trailer Stability Assist and ESS (Emergency Stop Function) which flashes the hazard warning lights under heavy braking to alert vehicles behind. The GLX+ grade also gets a reversing camera.

Ownership

Like all Mitsubishis, the Triton is covered by a five year/100,000km warranty. Capped-price service intervals of 15,000km or 12 months up to 60,000km or 48 months, whichever comes first. The first service is capped at $350, with the three following services capped at $580.

No mainstream dual cab 4x4 ute competitor comes close to matching it for price in a segment designed more for muddy boots than three-piece suits. Less than $37,000 buys you a lot of truck, with auto transmission, five-star safety, excellent economy, towing capacity over 3.0 tonnes, a proven track record for rugged service and the backing of a trusted Japanese brand with heavy-duty truck heritage. Regardless of any shortcomings, the MY16 Triton GLX+ Dual Cab 4x4 Ute is a bargain whichever way you look at it. We'd probably go for the manual version though.

Would you consider a Triton over a Ranger or a HiLux? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Mitsubishi Triton pricing and spec info.

$17,950 - $32,990

Based on 63 car listings in the last 6 months

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

4/5
Price Guide

$17,950 - $32,990

Based on 63 car listings in the last 6 months