25 September 2023

2019 Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium – $51,990

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By Karl Peskett.

When the first photos came out of South Australia last year, where the new Mitsubishi Triton had been snapped during testing, we wondered what the company was doing with its dual-cab ute. It really looked like a bunch of oversize moulds had been slapped into an existing Triton, just to give it a bit of bulk and make it look a bit manlier.

The reason, though, was to update the dowdy front end and bring it into line with the rest of the Mitsu range. You can see how Mitsubishi has tried to integrate the Dynamic Shield design language into the Triton, and largely, the sculpting has succeeded. It looks more aggressive, a bit more purposeful. Even the back end has been made a bit more rugged, thanks to squared off lights, a flatter tailgate, and with the chrome sports bar on top, the Triton stands proudly in the dual cab marketplace as a rightful competitor rather than an also-ran.

Inside, it’s a similar story. Gone is the overly rounded styling, the cheap, hard plastic and the woeful finishes. Now, the design is more harmonious, with a well-integrated touchscreen infotainment system, easy to use climate control, and Mitsubishi’s Super Select II four-wheel drive dial sitting within easy reach.

There are seat heaters, Bluetooth, rear seat air-con (which can be switched on independently), USB and HDMI ports, leather seats (with the driver’s seat electrically adjusted), cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, voice commands when connected to a smartphone via USB, and DAB+ radio. This sort of included equipment seems more at home in a hatchback than a work ute, which is why the GLS Premium we had is the top of the tree in the Triton lineup. It’s also why Mitsubishi expects you to put down $52K plus on-roads for this model.

Under the bonnet lies Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel which has been carried over from the previous model. Don’t think that’s a disadvantage, however, because with 133kW and 430Nm there’s actually plenty of power on offer. The response is excellent with minimal lag and when geared down using low range, there’s more than enough torque to get the job done. Sure, it doesn’t quite reach the full 3.5-tonne towing of its competitors, with 3100kg as the listed figure, but for towing a trailer, putting a bike in the back or getting onto the beach for some fishing, the Triton acquits itself well.

The six-speed automatic isn’t the smoothest in operation, but it’s not overly clunky, and there are paddle shifters which help when off-road as well. You can drive around in rear-wheel-drive, or if you want something a bit more surefooted in bad weather, you can switch it to all-wheel-drive on the fly. There’s also a centre-locked high-range and centre-locked low-range. Also aiding its ability is the rear differential lock which is helpful if you don’t quite have enough axle articulation. The new Triton is also a degree better in breakover angle, going from 24 to 25 degrees.

However, the Triton in this trim is hampered a bit by its side steps which will prevent ramp over being clean – you’ll hear the occasional scrape. Less expensive models may be the go if you’re going to be doing some serious off-roading.

Another issue we found was the tub liner, which prevents your paintwork being damaged, was angled a little too much toward the front of the car. This meant, in the seasonal downpours we’ve been experiencing, the tray would fill up with water near the cab. As soon as you drove off a waterfall would cascade out the back of the car. Having a covered tray would be the way to go.

The suspension is not too bad, with the occasional jolt from the rear, like most dual cabs (the Amarok is the exception to the rule), but it generally rides acceptably, and is quiet, even when being hit by potholes. The handling is good, with roadholding that is confident, even in the wet (thank the larger 18-inch wheels for that). But the real standout is the steering.

The Triton has always been known for its woeful steering. Horribly indirect, it would take wheeling for an age before the ute started to turn. Now, the Triton turns in well, and doesn’t require 50 turns lock to lock. It feels more car-like than ever before and as a result is a lot easier to park, whether forward or reversing into a bay.

We like the new Triton. Its design can look a little overdone, but it now has the quality, the driving manners and the ability off-road to suit most people. It’s also priced well, compared with all the top-of-the-line dual cab utes.

However, it’s priced a little too closely to the VW Amarok V6 Core, which is only a few hundred dollars more. With its ridiculously punchy V6, superb build quality, lovely ride and massive tray, the Amarok is still the one to beat.

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