While the Mitsubishi Triton might not be the best-selling ute on the market, with the ever-popular Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger are almost always at the top of the charts, it’s still been able to hold a place on the segment podium with them consistently, along with occasionally sneaking into the market-wide top 10 and consistently being Mitsubishi’s best-seller in our market.
Key to the Triton’s success has always been it’s sharp pricing, with deals often running that entice many buyers into showrooms, as well as just how much standard kit it offers for the money.
And with this 2019 facelift, not only has bringing its looks in line with the rest of Mitsubishi’s lineup been the focus, but making the Triton an even better value-for-money proposition has been as well.
If you look through the price list, you’ll notice that prices are up across the dual cab range between $1500 for the GLX+ and $3000 for the range-topping Exceed’s replacement, which is the GLS Premium tested here, but Mitsubishi reckons that the price jump is justified by just how much more you’re getting for the spend.
Certainly, at $51,990 on the price list – although Mitsubishi’s website currently has a deal that shaves a grand off that figure – the GLS Premium sits right alongside rivals like the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 on price, but it does still undercut many others like the top-selling Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, along with the Nissan Navara and Volkswagen Amarok.
However, the sheer amount of standard equipment on offer in the Triton means that it’s a better value buy than any of them. Although its infotainment system lacks sat nav, it does include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and DAB+ digital radio instead – all features missing from many rivals.
Many of the convenience items it features are often only found in more expensive utes as well, such as power adjustable perforated leather seats with two-stage heating, dual-zone climate control, a 360-degree surround view camera, and front and rear parking sensors. It even has a set of paddle shifters behind the steering wheel – something offered in no other ute, bar the V6-powered Amarok.
And then there’s the amount of active safety tech on offer, which is the real standout on the spec sheet. The Triton puts basically the rest of the class to shame by offering just about everything – autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane change assist, and even a unique ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation system that’ll stop you accidentally putting the car through the wall of your garage if you press the throttle and forget that you’re in drive.
Few utes offer any if all of these features, and so you really have to take your hat off to Mitsubishi for it – especially since the vast majority of what’s listed above is also available on the even cheaper GLS, begging the question as to why other manufacturers haven’t lifted their game.
Of course, the other thing to mention with this facelifted model are the new looks, which, based on asking around my usual go-to friends with strong opinions on cars, are more of a miss than a hit.
Personally, I don’t mind the very modern new facia Mitsubishi has started applying across its range, but most I asked just ruled it out as being ugly fairly quickly. To each their own though, I guess. As a side note, it is a less aerodynamic design than before, meaning fuel consumption is up over the pre-facelift model, although I still saw a pretty respectable return of 9.4L/100km.
The main thing I’m not a fan of is the length, both because it means there’s far too much front and rear overhang from the sides, as well as because it makes it mighty difficult to fit in regular parking spaces at 5305mm normally, and 5409mm with the add-ons of the GLS Premium. At least it does allow for their to be a nice long tray on the dual-cab, along with a spacious cabin.
With this update only really being a facelift, the same 2.4-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder can be found under the bonnet as in last year’s model, with its outputs of 133kW and 430Nm remaining unchanged.
However, one major mechanical change has come in the form of the 2019 model switching out the dated five-speed automatic transmission from before with a new six-speed unit, which comes standard on the GLS Premium tested here but charges a $2500 premium over the carryover six-speed manual on lower-tier models.
One of the most unique features of the Triton that helps it stand out amongst its other ute rivals is its Super Select II four-wheel drive system. Found in the GLS and GLS Premium, this system allows for both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive on sealed roads, while also offering high and low-range four-wheel drive with a locked centre differential for use when off-roading, along with three-way traction control programming for different surface conditions.
It that on-road four-wheel drive that makes it rather unique – only the Volkswagen Amarok offers such a thing – not just because it has it, but because of how versatile it makes it feel.
With utes typically being prone to oversteer in slipperier conditions – and certainly, when left in 2H the Triton was no exception to that rule – it feels as planted as you’d like as long as you stay on the power.
On twistier roads, the four-wheel drive helps out a lot with putting the power down, too, and helps the Triton feel relatively dynamic by ute standards. The well-tuned suspension with its improved ride comfort owing to a set of revised rear dampers also helps out in that regard, too.
To me, it feels to be right at the top of the pack in terms of its ride quality, feeling a shade more forgiving in the rear than something like the Isuzu D-Max, although not quite as softly-sprung as the Nissan Navara, which rides on coils all around.
The Triton’s leaf springs mean that it can handle the weight it can carry far better than something like the Navara, however, although the GLS Premium suffers a big cut to its payload due to the added weight of all the interior luxuries and exterior dress-up items, along with the heavier automatic transmission, meaning that due to the overall GVM, it can only carry 855kg in the tray. The highest-spec’d manual Triton, the GLS, for comparison can carry 915kg in the tray, and even more basic variants will break the one tonne barrier.
Also worth noting is that its maximum braked towing capacity lags behind the rest of the back at just 3100kg – 100kg behind the automatic Toyota Hilux, and 400kg behind just about everything else. For most, that won’t exactly matter too much, but depending on how big a caravan you’ll inevitably want to tow with it, it may force you into looking elsewhere.
Despite these shortcomings, however, there’s a lot to like about the Triton. The 710km I spent behind the wheel of it were honestly really enjoyable, whether it was stuck in traffic or on the open road, thanks to its comfortable seating, relatively absorbent ride, and having enough in the way of features to keep you occupied.
Given the well-judged price tag, it makes for a great value-for-money buy as well – even if it is more expensive than before, and if there’s better value to be seen one or two steps down in the range. Regardless, it’s a definite thumbs-up from me on this updated and feature-laden Triton.
2019 Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium List Price: $51,990
Pros: One of the best-value utes for the coin, well-equipped by class standards, brilliant 4WD system
Cons: No integrated sat nav, divisive styling, misses out on Pajero Sport’s eight-speed auto
In a nutshell: If value-for-money is what you’re after most in a ute, it’s hard to go past the Triton.
Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Mitsubishi Motors Australia for a week with a full tank of diesel. All additional fuel costs were paid for by the author. Additionally, our friends at MPF Detailing gave it a complimentary Express Detail for us prior to our photoshoot.