The top of the range Triton GLX-R 2009 Fastback is highly desirable, packed with in-car features and boats unique styling.
Looking at the front of the Fastback you could be forgiven for thinking not much has changed. But a glance at the rear reveals Mitsubishi's links to the famous Dakar rally: sweeping, heritage style lines. In fact the Triton's nifty fastback styling creates quite an impression. And while the Triton might not be overly fast, with a test track speed of around 170km/h, it certainly looks fast. This truck is, quite simply: eye-catching.
Inside the Fastback front seat passengers are treated to leather trimmed seats with contrasting stitching. The driver has an electrical adjustment seat and is also treated to a leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, cruise control mated to the four-speed auto shifter, power windows (including the cabin's rear window), electric mirrors, CD/radio player, Bluetooth facility, automatic climate control air conditioning, and an electric sun roof. Exterior features include decent sized side steps, fog lamps, 17” alloy wheels and a handy lockable hard tonneau cover.
In the usual Triton style the cabin is quite well proportioned with plenty of leg, shoulder, and head room for occupants in both rows of seats. Seating for up to five is quite comfortable and for me, a four hour stint at the wheel was comfortable with the handy electronic seat adjustment. My wife, Denise, as passenger, had no complaints with the passenger's seat either. We found that road noise was not intrusive nor did bumps or thumps intrude much into the cabin's interior ambience as we cruised both bitumen and gravel road surfaces.
Ride was on the firm side of supple as the Triton is equipped with elliptic rear leaf springs at the rear and long travel coils/double wishbone/stabilizer set-up in the front end. But keep in mind the Triton Fastback is a quite capable work vehicle with an 870kg payload rating. The Triton can earn its keep through the week while taking the team up the beach or to the boat ramp on the weekend. The Triton Fastback auto also has a 2500kg braked trailer towing rating, which is certainly adequate for a lot of boats, camper trailers or caravans.
The 3.2L four-cylinder intercooled turbo diesel engine powering the Triton is a modern common rail power plant that achieves quite strong power and torque figures while still able to return excellent fuel economy. The engine churns out some 118kW of power at 3,800rpm and 343Nm of torque at around 2,000rpm, allowing it to pull trailer boats up ramps or off-road trailers along the beach very strongly at quite low rpm.
I found the engine to be smooth enough but a bit on the rattly side. While quite a few diesel engines clatter somewhat at start up or low revs the Triton's engine can also be heard inside the cabin at times when highway cruising. It's not a major issue but something that adds to the character of the vehicle especially if it's working hard in one of the lower gears in the four-speed auto gear box.
Off-road the Triton is a strong performer. Mitsubishi's Super Select multi-mode 4WD system is quite capable and as the Triton has 205mm of ground clearance plus a lockable limited slip differential with either four-wheel high or four-low selected the ute can certainly tackle a wide range of obstacles with ease.
I test-drove the Triton fastback onto a section of beach in northern New South Wales. The entrance area was really cut up by weekend traffic but the selection of low range and third gear saw the Triton pushing onto and then leaving the beach with great ease. A combination of wide tyres with a decent footprint, plenty of controlled power getting to the wheels and adequate ground clearance is always a good recipe for beach work.
The Triton comes with some smart braking technology as well. Load sensing proportioning valves moderate rear wheel braking pressure in accordance with the car's load at a given time to prevent rear wheel lock up. The vehicle is also equipped with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (actively monitoring different wheel speeds) operating in conjunction with its Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) to provide best stopping power under all conditions. Mechanically, the Triton Fastback should be able to handle a wide range of off-road conditions and keep the driver happy.
If this vehicle has any shortcomings, it’s the reduced visibility caused by the bodywork between the rear of the cabin and the tray. Side and rear visibility is difficult and it will pay to have the mirrors properly adjusted when driving in traffic. Small blind spot mirrors set up on the lower corners of the Triton's large side mirrors would be an owner's low cost solution to this problem. Steering is precise although somewhat light and the power of the willing 3.2L turbo diesel will see the Triton easing through city traffic without effort and the four-speed auto super slick.
As a family hack with school and shopping duties the Triton can easily punt around the suburbs but that side/rear blind spot is a bit challenging. As a work ute it would certainly be able to earn its keep as it's still a commercial vehicle at heart. Weekends away would certainly be high on the Triton Fastback's capability list and the lockable tonneau would keep the gear out of the weather.
Last but not least is fuel consumption. I averaged 11.2L per 100km in test runs and as the Fastback has a 75L tank we might expect a range of around 680km or better depending upon the driver. The Triton Fastback comes with a full sized spare wheel and carries a five-year/130,000km warranty and comes home for around $54,000.Reads: 5458