Mitsubishi Triton GLX Club Cab Chassis 4WD has been reviewed by Carsales. Below is what they had to say…

Road Test

The light commercial utility market is in for a big year. The fifth-generation Mitsubishi Triton will join the brand new Nissan Navara, updated Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50, all-new Toyota HiLux and refreshed Holden Colorado before the year’s out, all of which will face solid competition from Volkswagen’s Amarok and the trade-tough Isuzu
D-MAX. But it’s the Triton that’s the focus of this test and, as we found this week, even the base model GLX cab-chassis has a heck of a lot to offer. The Mitsubishi Triton range kicks off from $24,490 (plus on-road costs).

Mitsubishi Triton

Australians love their utes. We have an annual festival to bask in its resplendent pragmatism and buy shed loads of them each year, often whether we have cause to or not. But for the humble cab-chassis – without its exhaust stacks, R M Williams mudflaps and VB dash runners – the focus is more straightforward. It’s the workhorse of the range, built to do a job, and often treated as little more than an unloved tool of the trade.

It’s quite surprising, then, how well-endowed the base-model ute has become. For a bit of kit designed primarily to cart its master and his tools from one job to the next, utes like the Mitsubishi Triton GLX have become very nearly as composed as their SUV lookalikes, while at the same time retaining every last ounce of the carrying capacity and towing ability at the heart of their existence.

For the new MQ-series Triton, those numbers see a payload of 1125kg and a braked tow figure of 3100kg. Mitsubishi is aware that the latter falls short of the 3500kg offered by some rivals, but says its higher GCM (5785kg) means the Triton will tow the full figure quoted with up to 680kg of load in the tray – something many rivals are unable to (legally) do. [Ed: figures quoted are specific to the Club Cab GLX tested and are not typical to the range. Please visit the manufacturer’s website for more information].

And from the point of view of the occupants, it’s impressive to note that the ride remains composed and quiet in spite of the beefed-up double wishbone (front) / leaf (rear) suspension the Triton obviously requires. Considering the vehicle is designed to travel off-road, carry a load, tow and also run around empty, the suspension compromise is remarkably good. You of course notice the firmer rear-end, but it’s not what you’d call uncomfortable and manages to smooth-out surface imperfections nicely, even when the tray is unladen.

It’s an experience complemented by the Triton’s sensible ergonomics and a cabin in which it’s easy to spend a few hours. The outward vision is pretty good for a vehicle of its height, the grab handles welcome and the slightly larger cabin’s seating comfortable with excellent support (and yes, I’m talking about the front pews and not the temporary jobbies in the back). The dash layout too is straightforward with simple instrumentation and a no-nonsense HVAC and infotainment array, though we might add that the look has changed little from the Triton’s predecessor, and in view of its contemporaries is a little conservative.

Not unusually, the tray-bodied model on test did have issues with the rearward vision from its wing mirrors, though not for the reason you’d expect. Mitsubishi has built a clever spacer to give the wing mirrors the clearance required to see around the tray (which sits proud of the body). However, the draft created between the cabin and the tray seems to create an unusual eddy current which sucks road mist from the front wheel back on to the mirror glass, rendering the mirrors effectively useless in wet weather. It’s an unusual oversight, and one that’s made all the more annoying by the omission of heated mirrors on the base grade.

Mitsubishi’s new 2.4-litre turbo-diesel is an effective unit with next to no turbo lag and a broader torque band than its numbers would suggest. It’s claimed that the full whack of 430Nm is on offer at 2500rpm, though we found most of that twist was accessible from idle, giving the Triton a smooth run from a standstill. On the open road there’s enough pep for overtaking, most of it available without the need to shift gear. The direct-injected engine develops peak power of 133kW at 3500rpm, meaning most overtaking manoeuvres and hill climbs are readily managed in top (sixth) gear.

The gearshift itself is clean and the throw suitable for the Triton’s workhorse application. It’s actually a tidier shift than the Ranger and BT-50, and I’d say better than the Colorado’s too [Ed: wait for our upcoming comparison for more on this]. Add this to a progressive pedal stroke from the clutch and well-metered brakes and it’s obvious Mitsubishi has done a great deal to make the new Triton appealing to trade and recreational buyers alike.

On the downside, however, we found the Triton’s fuel consumption to be well below the claimed mark. Mitsubishi’s ADR Combined figure quotes 7.2L/100km, though on test – and in spite of the majority of our driving spent on the highway without a load up back – we managed 10.2. Perhaps the gearing isn’t quite set for cruising at 110km/h or the aerodynamics of the open tray is creating drag. Either way, the figure was substantially higher than our around town figure of 8.1L/100km. Quite peculiar, we must say.

When it comes to parking the Triton was fairly easy to manoeuvre and see around, though reversing sensors would have been nice in tight parallel parks. The carry-over 3000mm wheelbase and 11.8m turning circle (and 3.8 turns lock to lock) make it easy to get in and out of even the tightest city parking buildings, and on fire trails made squeezing around fallen trees a breeze. The steering itself is well assisted with adequate feel both on and off-road. It really is an impressive set-up.

On the whole we found the Triton to be vastly improved – to be expected, given it’s been 10 years since we last had a new one. It’s a roomier, more composed and more competent light commercial and one that has narrowed the gap on its competitors considerably. Whether that’s enough to see it topple its rivals, or steal the stage at Deniliquin, remains to be seen. Though our tip is it’ll come really close – on both counts!

2015 Mitsubishi Triton GLX Club Cab Chassis 4WD pricing and specifications:
$35,290 (plus on-road costs)
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Output: 133kW / 430Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel: 7.2L/100km (ADR Combined)
CO2: 191g/km (ADR Combined)
Safety Rating: Five-star ANCAP

What we liked: Not so much:
>> Composed, quiet ride >> Fuel consumption
>> Gutsy turbo-diesel >> Wing mirror vision
>> Sorted ergonomics >> Conservative interior

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