Car reviews - Mitsubishi - Triton - range
Still looks tough, addition of rear differential lock to GLX+ and GLS affords more off-road confidence, willing turbo-diesel engine, smooth automatic transmission
Room for improvement
Some prices have risen – again, autonomous emergency braking still isn’t standard range-wide, digital speedo and in-built satellite navigation remain unavailable
Mitsubishi improves the mid-range Triton ute’s already strong off-road credentials
1 Oct 2019
DON’T worry, this indeed is a case of déjà vu; Mitsubishi has already launched a new Triton ute in 2019, yet here we are again.
Everyone knows that the segment it plays in is one of the most competitive in the Aussie market, so it’s good to take any opportunity available to apply an update.
In this instance, the upgrades are relatively minor, but customer feedback is behind the key enhancement of the mid-range Triton’s off-road chops.
So, how do the tougher GLX+ and GLS dual-cab pick-ups stack up off the beaten track? We headed to the Outback to find out.
First drive impressions
How many dual-cab pick-ups are used as tough-looking fashion accessories these days? It’d have to be the majority, right?
It’s especially weird to see these vehicles increasingly confined to the city limits when you consider just how capable many of them truly are.
Thankfully, manufacturers like Mitsubishi aren’t losing sight of the rough-and-ready nature of dual-cab pick-ups, and in the case of the Triton, have doubled-down on this capability.
The Japanese contender’s MY19 facelift was a significant one, so it goes with saying that its MY20 update is a minor in comparison, but that doesn’t make it any less significant for those that actually head off the beaten track.
Previously exclusive to the flagship GLS Premium variant, a rear differential lock is now also standard fit in the mid-range GLS and GLX+ grades.
Naturally, its inclusion does come at a cost, with the former jumping by $1000 (from $40,990 plus on-road costs), while the latter has copped a $650 rise (from $45,140).
These price adjustments are further justified by the addition of a rear air circulator and keyless entry and start to the GLX+ (dual-cab pick-ups only) and GLS respectively.
However, the GLS does lose its sports bar, opening up opportunity for Mitsubishi dealers to offer a wider range of accessories with these variants. Its loss still stings on paper, though.
For what it’s worth, the GLS Premium’s sports bar is now coloured black and so it cops a $500 price increase (from $52,490). The cost of looking good, we guess?
There are no other changes to pricing or specification for the Triton’s 14 other full-time variants.
This is a shame because we hoped Mitsubishi would use the MY20 upgrade to make autonomous emergency braking standard across the range (it’s missing on eight variants) – a move that several of the Triton’s key rivals have made this year.
That said, this is still the only ute to offer blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, so at least it’s got that going for it on the active safety front.
Speaking of missed opportunities, the Triton still goes without a digital speedometer and will likely do so until its next-generation model arrives early next decade.
In-built satellite navigation is also a notable and persistent absentee, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support is standard in the GLX+, GLS and GLS Premium grades, putting Google Maps easily within reach. Look away, GLX buyers, you don’t get smartphone mirroring.
While you could make the argument that in-built satellite navigation is redundant these days given the advent of Apple and Google’s operating systems that are literally in everyone’s pockets, think about what happens when you have no mobile coverage.
You know, kind of like when you’re in the middle of nowhere on an off-road trip – just like we were when we tackled the Flinders Ranges in South Australia at the MY20 Triton national media launch. In this scenario, the case for it starts to carry a lot of weight.
But back to what brought us to this part of the world in the first place: the rear differential lock that puts an explanation mark on the Triton’s already strong off-road credentials.
A pair of freshly upgraded dual-cab pick-ups were available for us to put through their paces, and it’s important to note the differences between the two.
One was a GLX+ with Mitsubishi’s Easy Select four-wheel-drive system, which now complements its transfer case with a rear differential lock.
The other was a GLS that goes one step further with a rear-biased Super Select-II set-up that also incorporates a centre differential lock and three drive modes (Gravel, Mud/Snow, and Sand/Rock).
Regardless of the 4WD system being put to use, the Triton is supremely confident tackling corrugated dirt roads at speed, with all of its electronics working hard to ensure stability.
Traction is also plentiful when navigating gravel roads at low speed, while low range (4L) is put to test when creeping over rocks, where the Triton is able to confidently pull itself of a tricky situation – even with one wheel off the ground.
This is especially true when the rear differential lock is engaged, with the difference it makes most notable when tackling a steep rock face. In our experience, no wheelspin was encountered when attacking this intimidating obstacle at an angle.
By comparison, when we had the rear differential lock disengaged and repeated this exercise, a small amount of wheelspin was experienced. Naturally, a more difficult course would further highlight the difference its inclusion makes.
While we didn’t test the Triton on other road surfaces in this drive program, our previous experiences showed that its confidence demonstrated here travels.
That said, the lifeless steering on offer does test driver intuition in scenarios where forward vision is compromised.
The towbar assembly is also not very forgiving if the right line isn’t traced perfectly over obstacles, as on a number of occasions, it made contact with the surface below. For reference, the Triton’s departure angle is 23 degrees.
With an unladen tub, the ride provided by the Triton’s leaf-sprung suspension is predictably challenging off-road, where the flat and unsupportive design of its front seats is exposed.
Nonetheless, another key to the Triton’s off-road success is its tried-and-true 2.4-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine fitted to our test vehicles. Its 430Nm of maximum torque at 2500rpm was particularly useful when the going got tough.
In this instance, we only tested the Triton six-speed torque-converter automatic, which was introduced as part of its MY19 facelift and has proved to be a real gem thanks to its smoothness and responsiveness.
We spent little time on blacktop this time around, but the highway driving we did do reminded us that the Triton has ways to go before it is as car-like to punt around as some of its rivals.
But that may not matter, because if you’re serious about off-roading and want a big helping of utility, there are few dual-cab pick-ups that do it better than the Triton, especially after such a small but effective update.
Model release date: 1 October 2019
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