What is it?
Much loved by Aussies but getting on in years, the 2023 Mitsubishi Triton is the brand’s ever-popular ute that was the fourth best-selling vehicle in the country last year. This fifth-generation model was introduced eight years ago and has seen such success thanks to its combination of affordable pricing, reliability, and capability.
The model we’re looking at here is the GLS Deluxe which comes priced from $54,940 before on-road costs, marking a $3450 premium over the GLS automatic and positioning it towards the top of the range behind only the limited-run Sport (of which only 400 units are available for 2023) and top-spec GSR variants.
Why are we testing it?
2023 marks the final year this current Triton will be on sale, with an all-new model set to be introduced for the 2024 model year which Drive Section has previously published exclusive spy photos of. So, with the current Triton in its twilight, we wanted to see whether it’s still worth picking one up while you can.
How are the Triton’s looks holding up?
Despite its age – and even with its current styling dating back to a 2019 facelift – the Triton’s looks still hold up fairly well for the most part. With angular design features, modern LED lighting, and a bold colour such as the Impulse Blue of our tester, it’s hiding its years on the outside at least. A set of diamond-cut 18-inch alloy wheels come as standard on all GLS variants which only adds to the looks further.
What’s the 2023 Mitsubishi Triton like inside?
It’s in the cabin where the Triton is feeling its age most clearly, with an overall old-school appearance to put it kindly. For those who like a simple and fuss-free interior, this might actually be a good thing as the Triton still uses physical buttons and dials for just about everything. I’m happy to defend that up to a certain extent – this is a ute after all, so big chunky buttons make sense rather than touchscreen controls – although the omission of items such as a digital speedometer even with a small TFT display between its mechanical dials is less forgivable in 2023.
Alongside the basic instrument cluster is a 7.0-inch infotainment display that is feeling well past its best-before. It does at least have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although you’ll need to plug your phone in for either, but integrated sat nav is a key omission in what is nearly a top-spec variant, while its small size means the smartphone mirroring displays look rather squished. It surprises me to no end that the Triton was never fitted with the Pajero Sport’s larger 8.0-inch screen with TomTom navigation. Still, it’s better to have than not.
It does at least come with an improved SDA1 audio system for 2023 which was removed for the past few years due to supply chain issues. The system is pretty impressive, although some bass frequencies did cause the odd rattle in the cabin. Build quality does feel pretty good on the whole, though. There is an abundance of hard plastic to contend with, but that makes sense in a ute as it’s easier to clean – the only exception is the puzzling choice of making the elbow rest on the door cards hard plastic but putting soft leather next to it for decorative effect.
There are plenty of features at least in this GLS Deluxe variant, including heated front seats, leather upholstery, keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control with rear fan speed controls and overhead air vents, a 360-degree camera, front and rear parking sensors (although the front sensors were so sensitive even a mild breeze seemed to set them off), blind spot warning, and lane departure warning. Mind you, with so many features it did mean there are only three blank switches available for aftermarket features such as a light bar or trailer brake controller, the latter of which took up one switch spot in our tester.
What’s under the bonnet of the 2023 Mitsubishi Triton?
With the petrol engine having been dropped from the base Triton for 2023, all variants now use the same 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine which makes 133kW at 3500rpm and 430Nm at 2500rpm. The GLS Deluxe model comes as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission with column-mounted paddle shifters, along with Mitsubishi’s Super Select II four-wheel drive system with both on-road and off-road 4H settings.
Mitsubishi cites a 900kg payload for GLS automatic variants while towing capacity is rated at 3100kg braked, with both of these ratings sitting below the class averages where payload would be closer to a tonne and braked towing capacity would be 3500kg.
What’s it like to drive?
Where the Triton does manage to impress is on the road where the availability of on-road four-wheel drive gives it a real leg-up over much of the competition which still only offer part-time systems. Leaving it in 2H around town helps the steering feel lighter, while slipping it into 4H on the highway or a winding backroad helps it feel particularly surefooted.
Granted, switching between 2H and 4H isn’t as quick as it could be, nor is the transmission particularly prompt either when you opt to control it with the big Evo X-sourced paddle shifters mounted directly to the steering column, but playing around with both is still well worth doing as few utes offer this level of control.
The Triton also rides fairly comfortably when unladen and, perhaps due to how narrow it is, remains fairly quiet in the cabin as well, while it feels quite composed on a backroad with predictable and well-weighted steering.
Perhaps the only area its on-road performance is lacking is when it comes to, well, performance. The engine residing under its bonnet might be a solid unit, but it’s lacking in power and particularly low-end torque, with peak torque only being reached relatively high in the rev range for a diesel. Mind you, it is down considerably on displacement (or lacking a second turbo) compared to most rivals, but it does at least get the job done and doesn’t kick up a fuss if you do push it hard.
How do the numbers add up?
Mitsubishi cites fuel consumption of 8.6L/100km for the GLS Deluxe, but we saw 9.9L/100km over 571km of testing, with it regularly creeping into double digits when driving in city traffic. While using constant four-wheel drive may explain some of it, a more likely explanation for that high fuel consumption is the need to push this little engine harder than you’d need to the higher-displacement oilers in other utes.
What’s undeniably smart and key to the Triton’s success is the price point which sees it cost a good $3000 less than similarly-equipped rivals across the range.
Also impressive is Mitsubishi’s 10-year/200,000km warranty, although you’ll have to service it at a dealership to retain all 10 years’ coverage with those coverage periods being halved if you go to a third-party mechanic. Mitsubishi does offer 10 years of capped price servicing with an average cost of $674 across those 10 visits. Servicing is required every 12 months/15,000km.
So, what’s the verdict?
With the 2023 Mitsubishi Triton marking the final year for this generation, it’s unsurprising that it’s feeling its age at this point. With a host of new or near-new rivals to contend with, its lesser capabilities and outdated tech means it’s outclassed fairly easily.
However, a 10-year warranty and distinctly more affordable price point give the Triton a few extra feathers to put in its cap alongside its impressive four-wheel drive system, while its sheer simplicity is something that will no doubt allure some buyers after something more simple and durable.
2023 Mitsubishi Triton GLS Deluxe Auto List Price: $54,940 | As Tested: $59,002
- Performance - 7/107/10
- Ride & Handling - 7.5/107.5/10
- Tech & Features - 6.5/106.5/10
- Practicality - 8/108/10
- Value for Money - 8/108/10
Pros: Impressive four-wheel drive system, rugged build quality and big buttons are ideal for a working ute, smart pricing and 10-year warranty
Cons: Outdated technology with plenty of key omissions, down on power compared to most rivals, towing capacity and payload are below the class average
Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited for a week with a full tank of fuel.