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Car reviews - Mitsubishi - Triton - GLX-R double cab utility

Our Opinion

We like
Spacious cabin, improved tray length, towing capacity, safety features
Room for improvement
Engine refinement and noise levels, low-rpm torque, dynamics

Mitsubishi logo1 Jul 2010

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI and PHILIP LORD

THERE are many reasons for buying for a top-end dual-cab ute and few of them have to do with the bare necessities of carting work stuff.

Sure, you would buy a tarted-up ute as a weekday workhorse, but with an eye for being able to use it on the weekend.

In the past five years, top-end dual-cabs have become much more attractive and comfortable – and they are typically cheaper than a comparable 4WD wagon.

Despite acknowledging the recreational and anything-but-business needs that drove the sales of the luxury utes, when Mitsubishi released the current-shape Triton dual-cab in 2006, it was roundly criticised for substituting style over load-carrying substance – the tray was considered too short, even for a typically abbreviated dual-cab pick-up tray.

Even if you don’t lug cement around in your flash Triton, you might want to load the motorbikes for a weekend away with the boys or fill the cargo area with camping gear for the family holidays - you know, that recreational stuff dual-cab utes do on the weekends. The ML Triton came up short.

Let us deal with the business end of this vehicle first. The tray of this latest version of the dual-cab Triton has been lengthened to 1505 mm and total tray height raised to 460 mm – an improvement of 14 per cent.

While the styling has suffered as a result – it looks a little ungainly from certain angles, leaving no doubt that this is the new extended tray model – it makes the load area much more useful.

Up front, the Triton has a new heart. The 2.5-litre turbo-diesel replaces the 3.2-litre and while it has the goods on paper it doesn’t quite deliver when you drive it.

Sure the mid-range is strong, it uses an acceptable amount of fuel with a 9.5L/100km average, but this engine just isn’t especially smooth or quiet and lacks punch off the mark. Turbo lag isn’t unusual, but the Triton’s new engine seems to have a fair bit of it.

The five-speed auto is a smooth-shifting unit without being remarkably so, while the four-wheel drive system, which offers part- or full-time operation, is still one of the most sophisticated systems on the market after all these years – even though the awkwardly placed transfer lever bumps the driver’s leg when in 2WD mode.

The cabin is unchanged in key areas over the spacious and comfortable Triton that we have become familiar with in the last four years. Some occupants will find the front seat bases too flat and unsupportive but otherwise the seating is among the best in class – plenty of room and the rear seat occupants are in for a treat – it’s probably the most comfy bench seat in the dual-cab market.

Though dual-cab utes are more comfortable and better appointed than they’ve ever been, it doesn’t mean that they have shrugged off their rudimentary load-hauling ride characteristics.

Like others in its cohort, the Triton is a stiff-riding vehicle when unladen, but at least the Triton doesn’t attempt to knock the wind out of you over sharp bumps like some competitors.

It is among the smoother-riding utes, yet with it its chassis is also one of the most rubbery in its responses. The Triton may look sharp but it isn’t the sharp handler among utes.

Although the new engine does not represent the pinnacle of Mitsubishi engineering, the Triton as a whole makes a strong case. Its ride refinement, safety, comfort and now more usable load space are features that will make many owners happy to overlook the engine’s mild shortcomings.

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