THE Mitsubishi Triton is a powerful workhouse that continues to grow in popularity.
It was the Triton dual-cab ute that first dared to combine comfort with strength when it was launched here in 2006 and a major facelift in 2009 saw it being entrenched as a firm favourite.
Now just a year out from an all-new model Mitsubishi has spruced up the present incarnation, cut the number of variants on offer and dropped prices by as much as $3250.
Despite improvements to the plastics and high-grade seat fabrics the interior leaves you in no doubt that the Triton is first and foremost a work vehicle. Sure the little creature comforts and clever storage options will serve the family more than adequately over the weekend but at heart this dual-cab ute is happier with the hard yards.
It is incredibly spacious and even with the overhang of the dash there remains enough room for long-legged passengers. Those in the back can also stretch out in comfort with the second row of class-leading proportions. All that space comes at a price, however, with Triton owners having to make do with a slightly smaller tub. It does remain a very workable size though thanks much in part to its depth and you will have little trouble loading all those necessities. You will need either a soft tonneau cover or a hard lockable one (both optional extras) to keep things protected from the elements.
On the road
The Triton's 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine remains a powerful unit but being mated to a five-speed auto transmission when most rivals boast at least six ratios is like a manacle around its performance. It is bumpy and noisy yet displays a willingness to exceed expectation and at speed the clatter loses some of that over-zealous roar.
The Triton shows guts on the open road, and on irregular terrain there is a sure-footedness that inspires confidence. Lazy steering makes it a little bit challenging in tight spaces, and reversing, without the aid of sensors or a camera, requires good use of the mirrors.
What do you get?
Inclusions cover the basics with a nice-touch leather steering wheel, climate control, tilt adjustable steering wheel, side and rear window demisters, electric folding side mirrors, security coded entertainment system with USB input, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming with voice control among the number. Safety features have now been expanded to include front, side and curtain airbags, ABS brake system with EBD, stability control and traction control as well as side door impact beams.
With 13 manufacturers offering dual cab variants there is no shortage of comers, but with their new up-specced models, the Ford Ranger (from $48,390), Toyota HiLux (from $44,990), Holden Colorado (from $47,490), VW Amarok (from $45,990) and Mazda BT-50 (from $46,240) will present the greatest threat.
The refinement of the working ute into a vehicle that can also be used to accommodate the family will be the Triton's legacy. The extra space in the second row is particularly useful if you also need to accommodate three burly adults and although the tray is smaller a dual-cab like our top-of-the-range GLX-R is more likely going to be used by the man who gives the orders rather than the one who has to carry the toolbox. The Triton's three-tonne towing capacity also offers a range of uses.
Mitsubishi has done a fair bit to restrict fuel usage and despite the official figures of 9.6 litres/100km for the GLX-R, our figures were around 11.7L/100km despite a larger percentage of highway driving. Mitsubishi offers a five-year/130,000 kilometre warranty, capped-price servicing for four years or 60,000km and five-year roadside assist package.
We think the exterior of the Triton is a much better hook than the interior with body colour fender flares, chunky integrated side steps and chrome on the door handles, mirrors and grille surround adding interest to a well put together package.
With their competitors launching new revitalised models in the past 12 months, Mitsubishi was probably pushed into a nip and tuck of its own. It is obvious that the new features add to the Triton's worth and it continues to sell well despite showing its age but the true test will come with the all-new model which is expected next year.
What matters most
What we liked: High driving position, spirited performance.
What we'd like to see: Reverse camera and sensors as standard, better road manners.
Warranty and servicing: Five-year/130,000 kilometre warranty, capped-price servicing for four years or 60,000km and five-year roadside assist package. Annual average service cost is $487.
Model: Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R.
Details: Four-door four wheel-drive dual-cab utility.
Transmission: Five-speed automatic.
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder intercooled turbo-diesel generating maximum power of 131kW @ 4000rpm and peak torque of 350Nm @ 1800rpm.
Consumption: 9.6 litres/100km (combined average).
Bottom line: $45,750 (plus on-roads).
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