Car reviews - Mitsubishi - Triton
Looks good, roomy, better off-road, strong low-rev torque, supple suspension, quicker steering, good ground clearance, engine feels smoother, generational improvements, multiple drive modes
Room for improvement
Prices up by between $3250 and $7200 model dependent, drum rear brakes, one engine choice at the moment, six-speed instead of eight-speed auto, plenty of distracting and annoying ADAS features
Mitsubishi’s new Triton should help maintain the sales status quo when it arrives next year
8 Dec 2023
WHILE technically the first drive of Mitsubishi’s new Triton on Australia soil, the off-road only stint in the new generation one-tonner gave limited insight into the vehicle’s dynamics and feel apart from flogging it across some sand dunes and negotiating some mud puddles and rocky tracks but we took the opportunity anyway.
The model is due for local launch mid-February next year and we suspect Mitsubishi wanted to stay front of mind with prospective buyers over the Christmas break before the “real” launch.
So, it was off to Peake sand dunes in South Australia for our test drive loops in pre-production versions of the GLS and GSR top of the range variants complete with the superior SuperSelect II 4WD system and flash paint jobs.
Pre-production vehicles are almost fully formed versions of the actual production models you and I buy from a dealer but a little less resolved and a little rough around the edges.
The test vehicles demonstrated gains across the board over the predecessor model with which it shares pretty much nothing, even the T-R-I-T-O-N type face on badging has been changed.
For comparison purposes, Mitsubishi Australia had a current model Triton GLS along for the drive which may have been unwise because it remains a good thing off-road… and on-road for that matter.
The new twin turbo 2.4-litre model now with 150kW and 470Nm is priced up by quite a few thousand bucks offset by being totally new from the ground up containing more standard kit and improved safety tech along with greater payload capacity, improved off road capability and towing now rated at 3500kg.
Mitsu’ sought feedback from existing Triton owners when developing the new model and it shows through in key areas such as the direct electric steering, ride quality and grunty but smoother engine that uses as little as a claimed 7.7 litres per 100km.
The chunky styling looks good in the metal with various models having different body hardware colours, finishes and designs elements such as rock rails and sail planes.
The penultimate GLS grade driven at Peake, that will list at $59,090 excluding on-road costs, runs 18-inch alloys, Super Select II four-wheel drive system with locking centre differential, three leaf comfort rear suspension, a tray bed liner, heated wing mirrors, LED exterior lighting, a gloss black grille, dual-zone climate control, terrain- and hill descent control, keyless entry and ignition, an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, and a wireless device charger.
Buyers can spend an extra $1500 for the optional leather upholstery, heated front seats and power driver’s seat adjustment.
The gold GSR top of the range model at Peake that will list at $63,840 excluding on-road costs adds 18-inch alloys in black, a body-coloured grille, wheel arch mouldings, styling bar, roof rails, and leather upholstery with orange stitching, GSR-branded floor mats and power driver ’s seat adjustment.
The Triton features a broadened safety suite that now includes front cross-traffic alert and a driver monitoring system in addition to forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, cyclist detection, junction assist, rear AEB, and a centre airbag.
Despite the limited driving opportunities, it was clear from our two- or three hours behind the wheel and in the passenger seat of the new Triton that it is a big step-up over the older, less powerful and narrower model. Straight up, the chassis feels stiffer, the wheels more planted and the suspension more supple to say nothing of the sharper electric, variable rate steering that now requires fewer (3.3) turns lock to lock.
Bigger dampers grace the new model for gains in ride quality consistency giving more resistance to fade in hard going as was the case in the sand dunes.
Despite long sets of sandy whoops that felt like rough seas in a small boat, the Triton retained its supple ride all day isolating the worst from the passenger compartment that made driving easier.
The double wishbone front suspension and long travel leaf springs with a live axle at the rear has enough droop (wheel articulation) to keep all four wheels on the ground most of the time and the softer three-leaf rear suspension found on higher spec models was ideal for the conditions encountered.
Lower grade Triton gets firmer four-leaf spring rear suspension in expectation of load carrying duties.
Both test vehicles rolled on H/T rubber that was pretty good for sand driving but less so in the mud. Mud pluggin’ tyres are a pain on sealed roads so the standard fitment is a good compromise for GLS and GSR Triton that will likely be treated as SUVs.
At 18psi, the tyres helped maintain a chosen track through the convoluted sand trails and hills at the demonstration area.
Further back in the drivetrain we found the disc/drum brakes to be completely adequate for the task never showing any fade or overheating but drums are out of the ark and have no place on a 2024 off road one-tonne ute despite Mitsubishi talking them up.
Maybe Mitsu’ will upgrade the brakes to the 21st century in the next iteration of Triton…
The rigid rear axle has a locking diff’ for additional traction in tough going but wasn’t needed on the demonstration drive. We’d like to see what conditions demand engaging the locker… they’d be pretty intimidating, we reckon.
Ground clearance wasn’t an issue for the longish ute that skipped over sharp inclines easily without bellying out. Same applied to the rear overhang which kept the rear bumper clear of obstacles all day.
Both test vehicles had plastic tray-bed liners but we can’t speak for lower spec models suffice to say all Tritons should have a tray bed liner as standard… and towing preparation.
The dual cab has a 1000kg payload and will fit a standard Euro pallet between the wheel arches.
During the demonstration drive, we made a point of maxing out the passenger capacity with five adults aboard. The middle rear occupant wasn’t all that happy but everyone else was and the 500 odd kilos of “meat” on board made little difference to how the Triton performed overall.
Engine performance was difficult to assess because we didn’t exceed about 80km/h tops. However, with hydraulic lifters and other friction reducing measures, it runs smoothly and quietly like a petrol engine without even the slightest diesel tick or rumble.
It’s grunty and gets on the boost quickly for near instantaneous throttle response that was handy for blasting up some really steep sand hills like a buggy.
Fuel use during the day was minimal and showed around 9.0L/100km in slow driving conditions. Pretty exceptional all things considered (off-road driving in sand usually presents way higher fuel consumption averages).
We couldn’t tell what it would be like out on the highway…. probably better than the previous model though at 4000rpm, the engine redline is low and there are “only” six ratios in the auto box.
We experienced the usual new model frustration with overzealous ADAS in gen’ six Triton most of which can be turned off through menus but not permanently. Turn the Triton off and you’ll have to go through all the rigmarole again when you start it unless you prefer to be “tapped on the shoulder” incessantly.
Numerous off-road drive modes are available with the SuperSelect II 4WD system, something for pretty much every application but the lesser models wouldn’t offer as much choice.
The cabin is fairly standard fare dominated by a large centre touch screen and a conventional instrument pod in front of the driver. Some models have a projected forward image between the two dials which would be handy off road. Most internal touch points are soft but everything else is hard.
It’s a good-looking vehicle especially around the frontal area with distinctive, individual styling that’s derived from Mitsubishi’s blade front design language toned down a notch or two compared to other current Mitsubishis.
The Triton is crucial for Mitsubishi in Australia and is partly responsible for keeping the Japanese manufacturer in sight of the “big boys” in the local sales race. Priced between the cheapies and the premium models such as Ranger, Amarok, D-Max and HiLux, the new Triton should help Mitsubishi maintain the status quo Down Under.
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