Mitsubishi has been on a bit of a product offensive lately. Clawing their way out of the cold, or dying in the attempt. First the facelifted Outlander >> and now an all-new Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 Ute. Does it have the goods to take on Australia’s best utes?
This vehicle was well overdue. The just-superseded Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 - 10,000 facelifts ago - was released in July 2006. So the Mitsubishi Triton was coming up for its ninth birthday this year. That’s in human years. In automotive years, that’s about 132 years old. The old Triton 4X4's use-by date was well expired. It was the Zimmer frame of the ute set. Interestingly, the ‘works burger’ of 2006 ML-series Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 utes back in 2006 - the GLS diesel was $49,990 (recommended retail price) with a 3.2-litre diesel that made 118kW and 347Nm.
The new 2015 top-spec MQ Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 ute is the Exceed. It’s $2500 cheaper in the straight-out dollar amount ($47,490rrp) - to say nothing of the nine years’ worth of dollar devaluation that’s taken place in the meantime. It has to be something like $10,000 more affordable in today’s money. Amazing. The Mitsubishi Triton's engine capacity has actually come back 25 per cent to 2.4 litres - but outputs are 13 per cent up on the peak power front and 24 per cent up in peak torque. (That’s 133kW and 430Nm). Those gains are impressive … but so they should be - given the glacial pace of new product development in light commercials at Mitsubishi Central. Talk about milking the old one for all it was worth…
The 2015 Mitsubishi MQ Triton headlines are:
- 3.1-tonne maximum tow capacity on 4X4 dual cabs
- five-speed auto or six-speed manual transmissions
- five-star safety rating
ANCAP’s all-up safety score was 36.22 out of a possible 37 for crashworthiness. Hard to argue with that.
One contentious point on safety, though: Mitsubishi has managed to offer a rear-view camera across the range, but the company has seen fit to offer it as standard equipment only on the GLS and Exceed models - effectively making the Triton GLX buyer a second-class citizen on safety - unless he ticks the box.
(Or she … no sense offending base-model ute-buying chicks … at least, not this early in the report.)
On the Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 towing capacity: unfortunately, at 3.1 tonnes, the new Triton is still eclipsed by the Mazda BT-50, Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado. They’re rated to tow 3.5 tonnes. That’s on paper, but you have to ask yourself how sensible it really is to tow 3.5 tonnes of - I dunno: weapons-grade plutonium - using a vehicle weighing more like 2.5 tonnes. Easy to get yourself into strife. Even without a fissile payload.
And the Mitsubishi Triton 4X4's gross combination mass is outrageous - nearly 5.9 tonnes of Triton plus trailer plus load. And that means, with a 3.1-tonne GVM trailer slung behind, you’ve still got 800-odd kilos of payload you can jam in the Triton. Nothing gets left behind. That’s for sure.
Read more on towing & load limits for SUVs and utes >>
The Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and Holden Colorado all offer six-speed auto transmissions, too, while the new Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 is stuck on five. You’d think, in those nine years of R&D, they could have looked at what the competition was doing. And it must be said the new 2.4 engine is behind the eight-ball on outputs compared with what I’d call the current ‘big three’ in Australian dual-cab 4WD utes.
- Read my comparison of the 4X4 dual cab ute market (plus video) >>
- Full review: Mazda BT-50 4X4 Ute >>
Mitsubishi calls the new Triton the “most comfortable and family-friendly light commercial yet”. Obviously the company is gearing up to target those ‘suits in utes’ just as heavily as hardcore tradies.
Passenger comfort has been pumped right up, but you do realise just how backward the ute segment has been for decades now, when in 2015 the press kit trumpets the adoption of - wait for it - tilt and reach steering as a real step forward, above the fold.
A lot of this stuff is predictable. There’s a Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 single cab and a double cab - no intelligence test required there - as well as a so-called Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 Club Cab neatly between those cabin options. The spec levels are: Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 GLX (poverty pack) plus Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 GLS and Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 Exceed with a bit of sex about them. The’re only available in 4X4 dual cab, but Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 GLX is the girl who just can’t say no - you can have her any way you want - 4X4, 4X2 single cab, club cab, double cab. In the immortal words of Patpong Road streetwalkers, GLX love you long time. She do ‘ereyping’. Ereyping.
Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 GLS and Exceed get some cool features - HID headlamps and LED daytime running lamps among them. And the interior has been significantly sexed up - especially in these to uppercrust models targeting both the white collar elite and the blue singlet off-roader. It actually leads the ute class in a couple of ways: the approach angle, which is important to off-roaders, is 30 degrees, and the turning circle is 11.8 metres. That’s still big compared with a car, but a bit less QE2 than some competitors.
In the Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 range, there’s a low-range gear-set as well as on-the-fly shifting from 2H to 4H up to 100km/h - hardly revolutionary, but nice to have. GLX gets the Mitsubishi Easy Select 4WD system - a no-frills part-time 4WD system - while GLS and Exceed get the more advanced Super Select system, which offers full-time 4WD. The main advantage of Super Select is the ability to operate in 4WD on high-traction surfaces without placing undue stress on the transmission.
TRITON GLX INCLUSIONS
Drilling right down into it, the love-you-long-time base-model Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 GLX, or at least the hard-working base-model GLX, has steel wheels, halogen headlamps, air conditioning, cruise control with buttons on the wheel, bluetooth with voice control and more button on the wheel, USB, trip computer (almost) hill start assist function, plus trailer stability assist (for the plutonuim in the wheelie bin) as well as an alarm and an immobiliser. Almost doesn’t feel like a poverty pack.
TRITON GLS INCLUSIONS
Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 GLS adds 17-inch alloys, HID headlamps and LED daytime running lamps, fog lamps, side steps. You get a step in the rear bumper, the rear-vision camera, a better steering wheel, leather on the knob (and you know how pleasant that is). There’s also climate air, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, dual-zone climate air, DAB radio and six-speaker audio.
TRITON EXCEED INCLUSIONS
Nothing exceeds like excess, but Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 Exceed gets paddle shifters for the transmission, diff lock functionality, a smart key with pushbutton start, auto headlamps and wipers, electric driver’s seat, a bigger 7-inch LCD with GPS and SD card support.
SERVICE & BACKUP
Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 service interval is 12 months or 15,000 kilometres across the range, and the standard service items never cost more than $600 annually in the first four years. Warranty is five years and 100,000 kilometres.
MITSUBISHI TRITON -Vs- TOYOTA HILUX
It’s pretty clear the Toyota Hilux is regarded widely as the king of utes, even though it no longer measures up on objective criteria. And here’s the thing. A 2015 Hilux SR5 dual cab auto is $54,490 - slightly less power and a lot less torque, even though it has 25 per cent more engine displacement. Six hundred kilos less tow capacity. One hundred kilos less payload. Six hundred kilos lower gross combination mass. Fourteen per cent worse fuel efficiency. And it’s $7000 more expensive than the Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 Exceed. Pretty hard to justify, on fundamentals, king of utes… Here's some more detail on Mitsubishi Triton Exceed versus Toyota Hilux SR5 >>
More Triton reviews coming up in the next few weeks. It’s an exciting new entrant. Contact me online at AutoExpert.com.au, and I will personally help you save thousands buying the right ute at the right price. Click the link below to enquire.