|  First Published: November 2010

The 2010 Mitsubishi MN 4 x 4 Triton offers even more than predecessors within the range.

Increased (14%) tub size at the rear and a few changes to styling make the 2010 model distinct from it predecessors. These days the Triton is referred to as attractively styled, which is a radical departure from the mixed reception the futuristically styled work ute initially received a couple of years back. External styling changes are found on the front grille, bumper, side steps plus side turning indicators while inside there are new fabrics, seat bolstering, changes to the instrument cluster and centre console.

There are also some important changes to towing capacity, fuel consumption and most importantly of all the diesel engine has undergone a transplant to provide more smoothness, power and torque from decreased capacity.

On the road

I’d previously road tested a MN Triton diesel auto powered by the new 2.5 litre diesel engine that I found to be smooth, tractable and a pretty likeable sort of a vehicle overall, but I was always curious as to how the new 2.5 litre diesel power plant would perform when mated to a five speed manual gear box.

When the opportunity arose to put a manual Triton GL-R dual cab 4 x 4 to the test I found things much as they were with the auto. Changing gears manually was no issue while the power and torque of the new intercooled HP (high power) diesel engine made easy work of any tasks I found for the 1 tonne work horse. The ute simply ate hills, overtook with ease and on a run down the M1 at 110kph idled along at 2,000 rpm with a lot of response in reserve.

On a run to Somerset Dam we hooked the 4.2m TABS Bullshark up to the tow bar of the Triton and again it impressed me with easy towing capability and general all round good manners. I might add that it had significantly more manners than the miscreants that stole the red claw from my pots but that’s another story again!

While the new Triton 4 x 4 dual cab GL–R offered a very kind ride, given that there are leaf springs at the rear and it is after all a work ute, it’s the engine that really impresses. So much more refined than the somewhat agricultural 3.2 litre power plant of old, the new sixteen valve, 2.5 litre, four cylinder, common rail engine with its intercooler and variable geometry turbo provides 11% more power and 17% more torque than previous models.

Figures are only figures but the driver will find the new 2.5 High Power engine with its reconfigured combustion chambers to be smoother, quieter and significantly more willing than the old 3.2 Triton engine. Figures are now 131kW of power, 400Nm of torque. Fuel consumption figures are around the 8.5-9 litres per 100mk for the manual shifter depending upon how spiritedly one likes to drive. On the run to Somerset Dam and back we averaged 9.2 litres per 100km with the boat in tow and a good load of camping gear in the tray. The towing capacity is now 2,700kg for a braked trailer and 750kg for unbraked trailer for the GLR dual cab 4 x 4. Fuel tank capacity is 75 litres.

At the Wheel

The driver will enjoy time at the wheel of the new MN manual Triton diesel 4 x 4 dual cab. There’s light but direct steering with ample feeling of control. Handling on or off road is spot on: not quite as car like as the Pajero but a fair way from a 1 tonne work ute that’s for sure. Mitsubishi has done their homework well in this regard and when my wife drove the Triton she also enjoyed the experience.

There’s a general feeling of lightness of clutch and gearbox although the gears do have a very ‘tall’ feeling about them especially first gear in the five-speed box. Doubtlessly, in the off road situation the low range capability of the Triton would ensure that ample power reached the four driving wheels, tall gearing notwithstanding. Note that the gears were very easily selected with not the slightest glitch during operation.

On gravel roads the Triton remained mild mannered with just the smallest tendency to jump about at the rear end when unloaded, as do other similar utes with leaf springs in the rear.

Comfort of driver and passengers is certainly not overlooked with excellent air conditioning, sound system and general ergonomics. Most functions are electrically powered and the easily managed cruise control system will be appreciated on highway runs. The dual cab Triton’s rear seat was very well shaped with passengers able to relax and sit back comfortably: a big plus in a dual cab utility where it’s certainly not always the case.

Safety Features and Warranty

All new MN Tritons come with driver and front passenger air bags, front and rear door impact bars, ABS brakes, with EBD front seat belt pretensioners. Active stability and traction control is available on all HP diesel dual cab models with the result that the Triton enjoys a four star ANCAP safety rating. Mitsubishi provide a 5 year/130,000km whole of vehicle warranty backed with a 10 year/160,000km power train warranty. There’s also a free 5 year/130,000km roadside assist package.

In all, in a fiercely competitive market segment the MN Triton GL –R 4 x 4 five speed manual is going to be hard to go past at $44,990.

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