Mitsubishi Triton Review

Mitsubishi's one-tonne workhorse has long been good value, but now's a great time to do a deal

Almost in official runout, the 2018 Mitsubishi Triton represents comparatively good value in the dual-cab ute market. Add to that the fact that it's one of the best equipped utes for four-wheel driving and you have some pretty good arguments for purchase.

Good deals for a capable ute

This year, Mitsubishi is celebrating 40 years of producing one-tonne utes. It was 1978 when the Forte first rolled off the production line in Japan and from that came the L200 which was the first of the Mitsubishi utes to come to our shores in the early 1980s.
The L200 was available in four-wheel drive form from its early years, and led to the short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase versions for the Pajero as well as the two-wheel and four-wheel drive L300 vans.
Over the next couple of decades, the L200 morphed into the Triton which was launched in 2005, and the current version first rolled off the production line in Thailand in 2014.

Called the MQ, the current Triton is due for an upgrade later this year and consequently is virtually in runout with plenty of stock available. This means that the recommended retail prices can be haggled down, and pricing will only get better as the launch of the new vehicle approaches.

Off Road Features

On paper, the specification level of the Exceed stacks up well against the opposition, with all the luxo features you’d expect such as heated leather seats, auto lights and wipers, fancy alloy wheels, five-speed auto with paddles, cruise control, Bluetooth, and the list goes on.
A couple of omissions worth noting include a dedicated navigation system, and some of the more common connectivity software. However, the Triton shines in the off-road department.
Aside from having a two-speed transfer case, the Triton offers a locking centre diff as well as a locker on the rear diff. There is also underbody protection and very good approach and departure angles.
Add to that an engine bay that looks like it’s designed for off-roading with an air intake that sports a serious filtration system and drag its air from in between the right-hand inner and outer guards, plus a high-mounted alternator and electrics, and you’ve got a fairly serious 4×4 package.

Getting there
Obviously, for the majority of us, most of our time will be spent on the road, so let’s start there. The interior of the Triton Exceed is certainly comfortable, with the afore-mentioned leather seats being supportive and, in the case of the driver’s perch, electrically adjustable so it’s not hard to reach a comfortable driving position.
Vision is pretty good for a ute, but there’s no blind-spot warning in the mirrors. That said, the wing mirrors are big and provide a clear view of the traffic behind. The rear camera is excellent.

Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel has outputs of 133kW and 430Nm of torque. It’s a clattery diesel from the outside but from inside the cab it’s fairly quiet and efficient. It’ll get the Triton moving quickly and smoothly even though it’s only driven through a five-speed auto.
Mitsubishi quotes fuel consumption of 7.6 litres/100 kilometres, which is on the optimistic side. I found a more realistic figure of around eights or nines on a regular commute up to a worst of 11.3 on our combination of on- and off-road work on the day of our photo shoot.
For a 4×4 ute, it’s manoeuvrable too. Turning circle is 11.8 metres which is better than most in its category and this helps in its off-road ability as well as on the road.

Leaf me alone!

The front suspension of the Triton is handled by a double wishbone and torsion bar setup that does the job well. It’s comfortable and compliant and allows sufficient travel for off-road work.
The rear doesn’t fare so well. Personally, I think that for all but large trucks, the leaf spring should have died a natural death with the horse and buggy. Surely we can do better in 2018, even if we do have to haul a load and tow up to 3100kg.
While the Triton’s ride isn’t as bad as some in the ute arena, it’s still harsh over potholes and corrugations on dirt roads.
The combination of reasonable suspension on the front and live-axle/leaf-spring on the rear means that it steers well on the dirt but bump-steers from the rear over holes and corrugations. Certainly, we’ve seen worse than the Triton, but the likes of Volkswagen with its Amarok has proven that you can get ute suspension right.

Off road

The Triton comes into its own as the conditions deteriorate. Four-wheel drive is selected using a dial on the centre console with the markings indicating 2H (two-wheel drive high ratio), 4H (four-wheel drive high), 4Hlc (four-wheel drive high ratio with locked centre diff), 4Llc (Four-wheel drive low ratio with locked centre diff).
A graphic illuminates on the dash to indicate which drive mode is selected and flashes if the desired mode is not connecting properly.
It’s an easy and foolproof system that I found worked remarkably well on our sojourn off the road. As more traction is required you simply dial it up, then if you need more, you can flick the switch on the dash to lock the rear diff.
In our deeply rutted section, I chose 4Llc and kept the rear diff lock up my sleeve to use if I got stuck. Fortunately, that didn’t occur, but I found that even with one wheel in the air, I still got traction. The 205mm of ground clearance helped and even when I did bottom out, the knowledge that we had a bit of underbody protection was comforting.

Torque delivery is good from low in the rev range (max torque is at 2500rpm) and engine braking is acceptable for an auto. Off-road is where I found the paddle shifters actually useful once I got used to them, as I could keep my hands on the wheel and downshift for a bit more engine braking.
We encountered a few bog holes and puddles which didn’t present a problem and I was confident that even if we did wade out into deeper water, the sensible air intake and electrics high in the engine bay would mean we wouldn’t be in too much trouble.
The Bridgestone Dueler tyres, although having a more road-oriented tread pattern, did provide sufficient grip to get us through the mud, and I was pleasantly surprised by their performance.

In the final wash-up, the Mitsubishi Triton has a lot going for it. It is less expensive than most of its mainstream rivals, it’s well equipped and its engine and transmission get the job done without fuss.
If you’re wanting a ute that’s a good off-roader, comfortable on-road and has a maximum towing weight of 3100kg, this could be the ute for you.
Sure, it has a few omissions and a couple of foibles but it does feel very well put together and should last a lot longer than its five-year 100,000km warranty.
2018 Mitsubishi Triton Exceed pricing and specifications:
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Output: 133kW/430Nm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Fuel: 7.6L/100km (ADR Combined)
CO2: 201g/km (ADR Combined)
Safety Rating: Five-star ANCAP

If you’re in the market for a Mitsubishi Triton make sure you try it out at Group 1 Mitsubishi today!

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