Finally, the always reliable Mitsubishi Triton has come of age. A major overhaul has seen bold new styling, and more ground clearance. Other features previously unavailable within the Triton line-up have become standard fare in the GLX-R double cab ute.
Mitsubishi Australia must have known I prefer diesel vehicles because the test rig was equipped with an efficient 2.8L overhead camshaft intercooled turbo diesel engine that proved both economical and powerful. Alternatively, and for people who prefer petrol engines, a 3L V6 (also with OHC) that will pump the ponies, all 133kW or 255Nm of them is available.
First appearances are important and the new Triton certainly attracts a second and maybe third glance. The makeover has seen styling changes to the exterior that involve new lines for the grille, bonnet and roofline in addition to new door panels. The whole exterior has evolved but it is matched to a much more car-like interior. What was originally a no-nonsense utility is now a great recreational vehicle for weekends thanks to a roomy interior and very generous 1500x1470mm pay load area in the rear tray. A lockable fibreglass canopy on the rear would be first on the agenda if I were buying a new Triton.
Beach running will be a piece of cake thanks to the engine’s power and those wide boots at each corner. Ground clearance is ample, and the abundant cargo space for gear, tucker and the like is much appreciated.
The Triton GLX-R boasts plenty of luxury features. There are twin air-bags, electric windows, a hand throttle, carpet throughout, remote central locking, very efficient air-conditioning, a lockable glovebox and a great sound system to maintain the pleasant mood while driving.
Transferring the power from the turbo diesel engine down to where it will do some good are full sized mag wheels with 265x70xR16 Bridgestone Duellers. Side steps and wheel arch flares complete the picture of a dressy vehicle – the Triton has certainly come a long way from the farm and factory outlets of its predecessors.
There is extra headroom for rear seat passengers and ample seat adjustment for front passengers enjoying the ride on the soft, supportive cloth trimmed bucket seats.
Noise levels in the cabin of the Triton were very low. The diesel engine was quite refined and ran smoothly at all revs. There was a bit of sound from it at start up but once it had warmed and was running at normal traffic or highway speeds, it could hardly be heard at all.
The power was good at 92kW, and with 294Nm of torque on hand this ute is going to be appreciated for its ability to tow a boat or camper trailer. Towing capacity is rated at 2200kg for a braked trailer.
Driving the five-speed manual gearbox in the Triton was enjoyable. The driving position was comfortable, visibility was fine and I noticed that the clutch was feather light and quite precise.
The gear throw was just as good without any glitches or tight spots, and the engine’s eagerness made the Triton very competitive in the cut and thrust of peak hour traffic. The steering was sharp at highway speeds although I did notice that tight turns, such as into parking spaces or U-turns, sometimes required that I employ the now standard Triton back-and-fill manoeuvres for correct alignment into a tight corner. To put it kindly, the Triton still has a wide turning circle.
The Triton’s ride was good over bitumen surfaces but it’s still hindered to an extent by the leaf springs in the rear when off-road or on gravel tracks. The fully independent, wishbone and torsion bar set-up in the front certainly provides a soft and controlled ride over the mixed terrain but there can be some rebounding from the rear leaf springs. The Triton is designed to carry heavy loads and the addition of a bag of sand in the rear cargo area would settle the ride down. The carrying capacity will be appreciated once the freezer full of fish goes in on the way home from a trip!
I believe that the new Triton has advanced considerably over previous models. The facelift has given the old girl a new contemporary styling that’s right up to date. It’s one of those vehicles that can go to work all week and then be loaded up for a weekend away. And that diesel engine, returning around 10-11L per 100km will make the weekend away as painless, financially, as possible.
The Triton GLX-R double cab 2.8L turbo diesel is priced from around $38,990 (plus on-roads).Reads: 1161