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Mitsubishi Triton GLX+ dual cab 2019 review


Daily driver score

4.3/5

Tradies score

4.2/5

Triton evolution is very much a case of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' Mitsubishi's conservative but enduringly successful development strategy (after four decades in production, global sales recently topped 4.7 million units) is evident in the latest MR Triton range, which brings with it a significant styling upgrade, improved warranty and safety features, a new six-speed automatic transmission, revised suspension tuning and more.

Beneath those refinements, though, it's still the same old rugged and well-proven light truck which will at the very least continue to hold its hard-fought high ground in the local ute market, firmly entrenched as the nation's third best-selling ute behind Ford's Ranger and Toyota's HiLux. We recently tested one of the latest work-focused Tritons to see how it stacks up.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Our test vehicle is the GLX+ dual cab 4x4 ute with the new six-speed auto at a list price of $42,490. That's a $1500 increase over the previous model and $2500 more than the latest GLX auto. Even so, it's still sharply priced when compared to work-focused rivals like Toyota's HiLux Workmate 2.4 auto ($45,990) and Ford's Ranger XL 2.2 litre auto ($47,590).

There's 16-inch alloys with beefy 245/70R16 all-terrain tyres. (image credit: Mark Oastler) There's 16-inch alloys with beefy 245/70R16 all-terrain tyres. (image credit: Mark Oastler)

The 'plus' shares the same vinyl floors and fabric seat trim as the base GLX, but there's 16-inch alloys with beefy 245/70R16 all-terrain tyres. It also gets a quality six-speaker sound system with 7.0-inch control screen, multiple media interface with Apple Play, Android Auto and DAB digital radio, single-zone climate control and a nice leather-bound handbrake handle. Outside you also get a set of side steps but miss out on the GLX's rear window guard, which is odd given its working focus.

Also standard on GLX+ is Mitsubishi's ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist System), which is an $800 option on the GLX. Most significant in this timely package of safety features is AEB, which is becoming a must-have for fleet buyers. ADAS also includes lane departure warning, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers and front fog lights.

It comes with a full size spare. (image credit: Mark Oastler) It comes with a full size spare. (image credit: Mark Oastler)

Is there anything interesting about its design?

It has the same overall dimensions as its predecessor, apart from a tiny 25mm length increase. However, what's most noticeable is the new 'Dynamic Shield' frontal styling, which logically aligns with the Triton's Pajero Sport derivative and delivers a tougher and more imposing big truck presence. It also looks better in higher-grade models with their bold chrome accents.

Side styling has also been refreshed with stronger character lines, new tail lights and integration of the rear bumper into the side panel for a more cohesive appearance. Mitsubishi also claims to have revised the rear leaf springs and shock absorbers to improve ride comfort and directional stability.

  • Mitsubishi is to be commended for the high-quality look and feel of the cabin environment. (image credit: Mark Oastler) Mitsubishi is to be commended for the high-quality look and feel of the cabin environment. (image credit: Mark Oastler)
  • Front cabin storage includes an open bin and bottle holder in each front door. (image credit: Mark Oastler) Front cabin storage includes an open bin and bottle holder in each front door. (image credit: Mark Oastler)

The GLX+ might be considered a no-frills working model, but Mitsubishi is to be commended for the high-quality look and feel of the cabin environment. There's a nice blend of soft-touch padded surfaces, double stitching and satin chrome highlights which create a more upmarket look than you expect at this model grade.

The big grab handles on the A and B pillars (both sides) aid entry and exit and with its height-and-reach-adjustable steering column it's not hard to find a comfortable driving position. However, we did note insufficient spine support in both front seats on longer journeys. Adjustable lumbar support would be a welcome addition here.

The Triton's compact dimensions also ensure tight rear seating for adults. And it's so squeezy for three you'll start a mutiny if you expect them to ride there for any longer than a short trip to a local worksite or pub.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

Mitsubishi's well-proven 4N15 2.4 litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel carries over, producing 133kW at 3500rpm and a sizeable 430Nm serving of torque at 2500rpm. Interestingly, the Triton's peak torque figure matches that of the much larger 4.5 litre V8 found in Toyota's 70 Series Land Cruiser.

The new six-speed torque converter automatic replaces the venerable Aisin five-speed. It's another refined and sweet-shifting unit, with optimised ratios including a taller sixth gear designed to lower engine rpm at higher road speeds for better fuel economy and lower noise levels. Improved shock damping of torque converter lock-up allows an expanded lock-up range and there's the option of sequential manual shifting, which can be handy when hauling heavy loads.

The 4x4 system at this model grade is part-time, dual-range which allows switching from 4x2 to 4x4 on the fly at speeds up to 100km/h, but there's no rear diff lock available.

Mitsubishi's well-proven 4N15 2.4 litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel carries over, producing 133kW at 3500rpm and a sizeable 430Nm serving of torque at 2500rpm. (image credit: Mark Oastler) Mitsubishi's well-proven 4N15 2.4 litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel carries over, producing 133kW at 3500rpm and a sizeable 430Nm serving of torque at 2500rpm. (image credit: Mark Oastler)

How much fuel does it consume?

Mitsubishi's official combined figure is 8.6L/100km, which looked optimistic when the dash readout was showing 11.6 at the end of our test. However, our number based on trip meter and fuel bowser readings was 10.7 after 532km of testing, which included a sizeable distance at maximum GVM.

That's good but not brilliant economy, given we recently achieved the same 10.7 figure with the Amarok Core 3.0 litre V6 and even dropped into the 9.0L zone with the Mercedes-Benz X-Class 3.0 litre V6. Based on our figures, the Triton's 75-litre tank should deliver a realistic driving range of around 700km.

How practical is the space inside?

The Triton is not only smaller but also lighter than its major rivals. The GLX+ has a relatively slim 1949kg kerb weight and 2900kg GVM 2900kg, resulting in a sizeable 951kg payload capacity. It's also rated to tow up to 3100kg of braked trailer and with a GCM (or how much you can legally carry and tow at the same time) of 5885kg, that 951kg payload only needs to be reduced by 115kg to comply.

To Mitsubishi's eternal credit, this is a sensible set of numbers for 'real world' driving, given that most rivals would have to dump more than half a tonne of payload (up to 700kg in some cases) to legally tow their claimed industry benchmark of 3500kg. To sacrifice such enormous payload capacity would be totally impractical of course, so most of the Triton's 3500kg rivals would find themselves limited to the same 3100kg of braked trailer (or less) anyway.

Internally the load tub measures 1520mm long, 1470mm wide and 475mm deep with its load floor  850mm above the ground. The Triton's slim dimensions are also evident in the narrow 1085mm between the rear wheel arches, which like most utes won't take a standard 1165mm-square Aussie pallet.

  • There are no storage bins in the rear doors, with only flexible pockets on the rear of each front seatback. (image credit: Mark Oastler) There are no storage bins in the rear doors, with only flexible pockets on the rear of each front seatback. (image credit: Mark Oastler)
  • Rear seat passengers get bottle holders but no storage bins in the rear doors. (image credit: Mark Oastler) Rear seat passengers get bottle holders but no storage bins in the rear doors. (image credit: Mark Oastler)
  • The fold-down centre armrest provides two cup holders when travelling two-up. (image credit: Mark Oastler) The fold-down centre armrest provides two cup holders when travelling two-up. (image credit: Mark Oastler)

However, the major positive that results from the Triton's prominent rear overhang is that the wheel arches are located at the front of the tub, leaving a large full-width area of load floor available behind them. There's also three tie-down points per side (most utes only have two), which would be even better if located at floor level rather than half way up the tub sides.

Front cabin storage includes an open bin and bottle holder in each front door plus a single lockable glovebox and overhead glasses holder. The console has a small open bin in front of the shifter, plus two cup holders in the centre and a storage box at the rear which with its padded lid doubles as a comfortable inboard armrest.

Rear seat passengers get bottle holders but no storage bins in the rear doors, with only flexible pockets on the rear of each front seatback.  There's also a small cubby for odds and ends (coins, chewy etc) on the rear of the centre console and the fold-down centre armrest provides two cup holders when travelling two-up.

  • Internally the load tub measures 1520mm long, 1470mm wide and 475mm deep with its load floor  850mm above the ground. (image credit: Mark Oastler) Internally the load tub measures 1520mm long, 1470mm wide and 475mm deep with its load floor 850mm above the ground. (image credit: Mark Oastler)
  • The Triton's slim dimensions are also evident in the narrow 1085mm between the rear wheel arches. (image credit: Mark Oastler) The Triton's slim dimensions are also evident in the narrow 1085mm between the rear wheel arches. (image credit: Mark Oastler)

What's it like to drive?

The Triton's relatively light kerb weight can be felt when the vehicle is empty or lightly loaded, as its  sprung weight on heavily patched or unsealed roads doesn't feel quite heavy enough to counter the vigorous movement of heavy-duty suspension designed to cope with a GCM of nearly six tonnes.

It can feel quite jittery at times over bumps and corrugations, without the more solid, surefooted feel of heavier utes. Firmer shocks could probably assist in this area. Its relatively short 3000mm wheelbase also provides sharper response to steering input, which is great when zipping around town but can keep the driver a bit busier on rough roads, as it has less directional stability than longer wheelbase rivals.

However, the Triton comes into its own with a big load on board, as the higher sprung weight tames the suspension movement and smooths out all but the biggest bumps. We discovered this by loading 830kg into the load tub, which with driver was just under the 951kg payload limit. The rear leaf springs only compressed 45mm (less than usual under these loadings) with ample bump-stop clearance. The nose rose 27mm, resulting in a near-level ride height.

At highway and freeway speeds the taller gearing of the new six-speed auto was immediately apparent, the Triton cruising along with only 1700rpm at 100km/h (versus 1950rpm with the five-speed we previously tested) and 1900rpm at 110km/h (versus 2100rpm).

"The Triton comes into its own with a big load on board."

This new powertrain combination also made light work of our 13 per cent gradient 2.0km long set climb at maximum GVM, easily maintaining the 60km/h speed limit in fourth gear (previously third) at 1700rpm all the way to the summit. This also displayed the engine's great flexibility, given peak torque at 2500rpm is tapped 800rpm further up the rev range.

Engine braking on the way down was excellent too, with such a large load on its back. In a manually-selected second gear, it reached 3800rpm on over-run (4000rpm redline) and did not exceed the 60km/h speed limit for most of the descent, requiring only one prod of the brakes on the steepest pinch. That's great engine braking for such a small capacity engine.

Although bump absorption under this maximum GVM loading greatly improved, it felt less sure-footed through some 80km/h corners due to a slight but noticeable pendulum effect under lateral loads caused by most of the payload (60kg more than last time) being carried behind the rear axle.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

Maximum five-star ANCAP rating, albeit achieved in 2015. Even so, the GLX+ is well equipped, with ADAS (including AEB) and other active safety features important for load-haulers like brake-force distribution and trailer stability assist. There's also multiple front airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags. Rear seat has two top-tether child restraint anchor points plus ISOFIX attachments on the two outer seating positions.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

Introductory seven year/150,000km warranty available on vehicles registered prior to June 30, 2019.  Service intervals 12 months/15,000km whichever occurs first. Capped price of $299 for the first three scheduled services.

We can nit-pick all we like about the latest Triton's shortcomings. Fact is, there aren't many of them and they are relatively minor in nature, except for the tight rear seating for adults which carries over from the previous model. And the large rear overhang, which also carries over and is not best-in-class for either load-lugging or towing (not to mention its departure angle).

Even so, it's still a premium quality Japanese ute - now with bolder styling, greater safety and lots of new features - that still costs significantly less than its major rivals. Clearly, the modest price rises have barely put a dent in the Triton's value-for-money equation, particularly in this work-focused model grade.

$40,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

4.3/5

Tradies score

4.2/5
Price Guide

$40,990

Based on new car retail price