Mitsubishi’s Triton ute is a versatile new-age machine.
Story By Bruce McMahon
Some 10 years ago Mitsubishi’s range of Tritons helped herald the new-century approach to utes. The Nissan Navara D40 of 2005 was arguably the first to morph the humble working one-tonner into a more car-like, family-friendly vehicle for more occasions than just hard yakka down the back paddock.
Not long after that, the Triton – with its look-at-me style – epitomised a refined breed of ute for the 21st century. This Mitsubishi looked, and felt, like a whole new deal for tradesmen, farmers and families. And despite that sometimes-divisive ‘Cinderella carriage’ design to the cabin, the Triton sold well as a two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive ute.
It was followed by some serious rivals in the shape of Ford’s Ranger, the Mazda BT-50 and the Volkswagen Amarok. They all broadened the appeal of utes, and dual cabs in particular.
Now a new generation Mitsubishi Triton has arrived, with fresh style and substance.
It’s again available in three cabin sizes – Single, Club and Double Cab. There’s the choice of
two- or four-wheel drive, and six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.
While there are three specification grades – GLX, GLS and Exceed – they all boast a new 2.4-litre diesel engine. All have a five-star crash safety rating from ANCAP; stability and traction control is standard across the range, as is Mitsubishi’s ESS Emergency Stop Signal, which flashes hazard warning lights under heavy braking to give those behind an idea that there’s trouble ahead.
There’s no mistaking this latest version for anything but a Triton. There’s less drama to today’s cabin lines but still a curve and kicked-up rear window on four-door versions. It still has a high-riding road presence, but this time the profile looks better, especially in lighter and brighter colours, which show up smart body creases along the ute’s flanks. There could be arguments though about that over-chromed grille.
Up in the cabin Mitsubishi designers have liberated a little more interior room in all directions and given the dashboard, fit and finish a little more sophistication. Shoulder room is up by 10 millimetres, rear seat legroom by 20mm and headroom’s increased by 8mm – more room for the Akubra.
The seats, front and back, are better cushioned and all Tritons now have steering columns adjustable for tilt and reach. There’s less road noise intruding into the cabin and the ute feels more car-like than ever from behind the wheel.
All versions these days get air-conditioning plus a fancy audio system with Bluetooth connectivity.
The diesel engine pushes out 133kW at 3500rpm and maximum torque of 430Nm at 2500rpm. These outputs are enough to help Tritons tow and carry decent loads and cruise in comfort, but the turbocharged four-cylinder does like some revs aboard before getting to work.
Mitsubishi claims the 4WD Double Cab with six-speed manual should get 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, but that would require a well worn-in engine and a very steady right foot.
The 2015 Triton’s steering is well-weighted and responsive. It is a most manoeuvrable machine, helped by an excellent 11.8-metre turning circle that’s handy out on bush tracks.
There’s been a rework of the rear suspension and it rides better than before. But with no load out back, there’s no mistaking this is a ute with decent payload and 3100-kilogram towing capacity, for there’s the usual workmanlike jiggle to the ride over broken surfaces.
As a double cab, or four-door ute, it does service as a family wagon, company vehicle or outback tourer; as a two-door it’s more the farmer’s friend or tradesman’s tool. Jump into a 4WD version and it’s only a matter of switching the rotary dial on the centre console from two-wheel drive to four-high and four-low. Then it’s off down the paddock or down the beach.
The Mitsubishi Triton is a considered evolution of this latest breed of one-tonner utes, which can double as work or play machines.
Two-wheel drive Mitsubishi Tritons are priced from $24,490, four-wheel drive versions from $32,490. For more information phone 1300 131 211 or go to www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au.
This Story is from Issue #102
Outback Magazine: Aug/Sept 2015