Mitsubishi hasn't settled for minor changes with its new Triton, with the company opting to redesign the new model from the ground up. The result is a seriously competent and refined ute that gives its stiff competition something to worry about.

Given their typically long life cycles, it’s not every day an entirely new ute comes along, but that’s exactly what Mitsubishi has introduced in the form of the 2024 Triton. With its predecessor dating back 10 years and the platform it rode on almost tracing back 20 years, Mitsubishi’s Australian volume-seller now boasts an all-new platform designed with the next decade in mind from the word go – and with the various concerns of its diverse customer base clearly in mind as well.

To get a taste of the new model’s capabilities, Mitsubishi invited me to put it through its paces over two days in rural South Australia – a key location for the new model’s development. Initially launching in Double Cab form, with Single Cab and Crew Cab variants to join the range later this year, I had a chance to sample three of the four variants on offer – the GLX+ priced at $53,290 before on road costs, the $59,090 GLS both with and without the Leather Option package, and the range-topping GSR which retails for $63,840, all of which come standard with four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. Do note that these prices are up by as much as $7600 compared to its predecessor in the case of the GLS.

Being underpinned by a 3130mm wheelbase – an increase of 130mm, along with a 50mm track width increase – means the Triton has grown in every dimension, leading to a bold departure in styling from the fourth- and fifth-generation models before it. The ‘J-curve’ at the back of the cab has been straightened out, the ‘Dynamic Shield’ fascia has been toned down, and it’s now boxier and brawnier overall.

Robust, audacious, athletic, and armoured are the words Mitsubishi used at the launch to summarise the philosophy of the new design, and all are fitting adjectives for what is an attractive ute in the flesh. The rectangular grille, sculpted crease lines, and wider stance make it a great-looking bit of metal which every bit fits the ute brief. It’s still a decisively Japanese design, but there’s some American influence in all the right places. The flagship Yamabuki Orange GSR may be the one that will get all the looks, but I actually think the GLS in Sterling Silver is the best-looking of the bunch – a good thing considering the GLS is expected to remain the top-selling variant considering 51 percent of Tritons are expected to be accounted for by private buyers.

However, the 34 percent of small-medium enterprise buyers, including tradies, and the 15 percent fleet buyers have had their questions answered by the entry-grade GLX and GLX+ models. You can read a complete breakdown of the Triton’s specifications in our detailed guide here, but an extensive list of safety and comfort features have been made standard across the range in direct response to business’ observations. That includes all active safety technology systems, a 9.0-inch infotainment screen with sat nav and wireless Apple CarPlay, and even powered lumbar support for the driver’s seat – something which would be easy to overlook in entry-level models.

It’s no real surprise that a lot of local input such as this was required, as while 80 percent of Australian-delivered Tritons are sold in Double Cab 4×4 form, only seven percent are in Thailand where it’s built, giving the development team plenty of unique considerations for our market. Indeed, Drive Section capturing exclusive images of it undergoing local testing in 2022 was no coincidence, as Mitsubishi spent two years extensively testing it and benchmarking it against rivals across three Australian states, but predominantly in South Australia where the company’s local arm is headquartered. Even one of its drive modes, ‘Gravel’, was tuned specifically for the Aussie Outback.

Complimenting the bold exterior is an interior design which looks and feels premium even in lower-grade models, yet still has all the hallmarks of a thoughtful ute interior. All of the switchgear is chunky and rubberised, making it easy to operate with gloves, while the doorhandles feel more solid and can be pulled from any angle.

The storage areas are also cleverly thought out. There are two gloveboxes ahead of the passenger, with the top one losing the lid for GLX and GLX+ models; the door pockets can hold both a 1.5-litre water bottle, along with a clipboard or laptop; the cubby in the centre console holds four 600ml water bottles and there are two cupholders ahead of it; and there are even pop-out cupholders on the dashboard in front of the air vents that can hold square cartons, although they’re limited to the GSR alone.

Even in entry-level grades, the materials used throughout feel nice, with one journalist I car-shared a GLX+ with agreeing it has the best-feeling polyurethane steering wheel out there, with its dimpled feel mimicking the perforations of the leather-wrapped tiller in GLS and GSR variants. Adding a bit of a sporty feel, there’s extensive use of matte carbon-patterned trim throughout the entry-level grades, while some of this is replaced by gloss black trim in the upper grades. Both the GLX and GLX+ also feature a vinyl floor which is something I’m a big fan of as it’s far easier to clean after you’ve been off-roading, although it does mean the cabin is a bit noisier and boomier without the insulation that carpet provides.

The cloth seats of the GLX+ and GLS models feel great, too, with the material offering a good amount of grip and cushioning, while the seat design itself offers good upper body support. The leather upholstery which is optional for the GLS and standard on the GSR also feels the part, but I did find that it led to some slipping about when on rougher off-road tracks. Consider as well that cloth stays cooler in the summer heat which there was plenty of during the launch event, perhaps serving as a reminder why it remains standard on the GLS.

Ergonomically, the cabin design is on-point with it easy to find an ideal driving position. At 6’2″, I normally find myself throwing the seat base as low as it’ll go, but in this I still had further for it to go down and back, showing how well it can accommodate any body type. The steering wheel has reach and rake adjustment which only makes finding the right position even easier as there’s a good amount of adjustment in both directions.

In terms of technology, the infotainment system and semi-digital instrument cluster are both familiar, having been borrowed directly from the Mitsubishi Outlander and its twin, the Nissan X-Trail. It’s a shame there are no dedicated screens to show off-road information such as pitch and roll angles, although there are unique animations in the instrument cluster for each driving mode, but both the 9.0-inch infotainment display and 7.0-inch gauge cluster display are very clear and responsive. Perhaps the most handy feature of all, though, is the inclusion of a physical shortcut button to bring up the 360-degree camera when off-roading.

While the active safety systems all appeared to work as they should, the new driver monitoring system – which ensures the driver isn’t drowsy or distracted by tracking their eyes via a sensor atop the steering column – was a big talking point at the launch. While I didn’t find it cut in that often when I was driving, it was a bit overbearing when it did, throwing up a full-screen warning in the instrument cluster and bonging until you looked exactly straight ahead for a few seconds. A smaller icon like the orange eye that’s signalled in the Hyundai Kona would be better in my opinion. The sensor being a bit smaller would be nice, too, as it does block a little bit of the screen depending on where you have the wheel tilted.

As a whole, though, it’s a cabin that you can tell is going to age well, considering how good the Outlander’s is holding up after a few years on sale. With Mitsubishi having a vision for the future with this ute, it’s one of the most crucial areas to get right, and the brand has done just that.

Of course, a new engine is the other thing a new ute needs, and despite some initial similarities on paper, Mitsubishi assured the media at the local launch that this engine is “effectively all-new”. While still a 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel and part of the ‘4N1’ engine family, the 4N16 in the new Triton is almost entirely redesigned. While it still uses an aluminium block with the same bore centres, the block design and casting are different, the crank balancers have been relocated, the connecting rods are longer, and there’s a higher-pressure 250MPa fuel injection system.

Most important of all, though, is the fact it’s now twin-turbocharged, helping it deliver 150kW at 3500rpm and 470Nm from 1500-2750rpm, marking increases of 17kW and 40Nm over its predecessor. Of particular note is how much more accessible its torque is now thanks to the additional turbo, with peak torque coming on 1000rpm earlier. It’s also backed by a redesigned six-speed automatic transmission, although a manual will be available on select variants later in the year.

Immediately, you can tell how much of an advancement this new engine delivers when you get the Triton out on the road. Sure, it’s still not the most powerful four-pot in the segment, but its power delivery feels strong and progressive, with its broad torque plateau helping carry it up to speed with a certain effortlessness that the somewhat constrained engine of the old Triton never managed. Impressively, there’s also no dead patch between the first and second turbo spooling which is evident in some other twin-turbo engines such as that of the Nissan Navara. Even without measuring it, the noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) metrics have clearly improved as well.

The updated transmission works a treat as well, with gear changes feeling very smooth and predictable, and I never really managed to catch it out. Even leaving it to its own devices, it always seemed to select the right gear at the right time whether in city traffic or on winding Adelaide Hills backroads as the media brigade made its way from Adelaide Airport to our off-road testbed – the picturesque Eagle View 4WD Track. It’s a shame the transmission no longer features paddle shifters like the old model – particularly the lovely column-mounted metal ones lifted straight from the Evo X – but it’s hardly a dealbreaker in a ute. The brakes felt fairly confident, too, although the brake pedal did have a surprising amount of bite at first, but I quickly got used to it.

Of course, the route through the Adelaide Hills allowed the Triton to showcase its completely redesigned chassis which now boasts a 3130mm wheelbase, up from 3000mm, 40 percent more torsional rigidity, and a 60 percent increase in bending rigidity. Although more high tensile steel is used in its construction, most of these improvements come down to the design itself which has larger sectional areas, an upgraded front cross member, a new secondary cross member, and a ‘crash box’ on the side rails for increased occupant protection in a collision.

The suspension has also been redesigned with a 50mm track width increase, front upper wishbones mounted 22mm higher to allow for a longer 90.7mm shock absorber rebound stroke, and new rear leaf spring setups with fewer but thicker high tensile leaves, using four leaves on the GLX and GLX+ heavy-duty tune and three leaves on the standard tune of the GLS and GSR.

Thanks to our unique road conditions, Aussie-delivered models feature a unique tune, with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation chief product specialist Yoshiki Masuda telling media that “initially, I tried to have a single spec for the global [suspension tune] during development, [but] we found that we need to have an Australian-specific spec”. Mind you, the steering tune is the same globally, but it features input from the Aussie R&D.

The improvement in ride quality is night and day, with the Triton feeling composed and confident on the bumpy Hills roads. Not only does it remain fairly flat through the corners, but the standard suspension tune soaks up mid-corner bumps effectively without transmitting any shudders through the cabin. The heavy-duty tune is unsurprisingly on the firmer side, but it’s in no way backbreaking like some entry-level utes can be.

The electric power steering also feels right on the money, with a clever variable ratio that offers 3.3 turns lock-to-lock and alleviates any cumbersome feeling on twistier sections of road. It’s also perfectly weighted – heavier than in the Isuzu D-Max, lighter than hydraulic systems like in the Toyota HiLux, and similar to the Ford Ranger. Do also consider that GLS and GSR variants feature on-road four-wheel drive with a 40:60 torque split thanks to its Super Select 4WD-II system with both locking centre and rear differentials and the Active Yaw Control system from the Lancer Evo, allowing for some extra traction on tarmac, while the Easy Select 4WD system only offers part-time four-wheel drive.

Its larger footprint also allows for more straight-line stability – I was told by Masuda-san that the direct translation from Japanese of what the engineering team wanted was improved “straight ability”, which is a fitting way to describe it – and this becomes evident on 100km/h country roads. Despite the boxy looks, it feels like it cuts through the air effectively, with it tracking directly and feeling planted on the tarmac. While we didn’t get a chance to tow or carry a load in the tray during the launch event, I can only imagine it would pay dividends in both of these cases.

Speaking of, all variants now boast 3500kg braked towing and a payload of at least 1030kg thanks to an impressive 6250kg GCM for 4×4 models. Do note, though, that those looking to get a Triton on a novated lease may have to wait a while as the payload can’t exceed one-tonne for leased vehicles, although Mitsubishi Motors Australia senior manager of product strategy Owen Thomson notes that “we are well aware of the issues of the one-tonne limit for novated leasing, and we will have a solution for that sometime.”

As we arrived at Eagle View and flicked the Triton into low-range, the effectiveness of its revised transmission and the new drive modes became immediately clear. In addition to the usual Normal and Eco modes, there are also Gravel and Snow modes in 4H, Mud and Sand in 4HLc, and Rock in 4LLc.

Considering the terrain on our test track, I opted for Rock mode which prioritises holding the transmission in first gear to keep it in its peak torque range, and it did a spectacular job of doing so. I might rue the lack of paddles for on-road driving, but there’s simply no need to manually control it off-road, it does that good a job of choosing the right gear at the right time.

The locally-tuned suspension also showed just how good it is, with its impressive amount of rebound and clever spring rates helping it feel pliable and malleable, allowing it to bounce up these rocky, hilly tracks like a little mountain goat. The only slight weakness was over some corrugated gravel, as it didn’t iron out these corrugations quite as much as the Ford Ranger does, but otherwise the suspension feels just as sorted off-road as it does on the road.

Despite the Triton now tipping the scales at upwards of 2000kg, it still manages to feel surprisingly light, and although its newfound track width and wheelbase length clearly improves its stability and chassis control by a big margin, it’s still narrow enough to navigate tighter turns and tracks with ease, with the steering feeling connected-enough to let you know just where the front wheels are pointed.

Being familiar with this 4WD track as a South Aussie local, having previously tested the Isuzu D-Max and Jeep Gladiator Rubicon there, I can confirm just how solid an off-roader the Triton is by comparison. The testing and development done in Australia clearly shows how valuable our roads are as a testbed for 4×4 vehicles, considering the snow of Japan, the rainy-season forest roads of Thailand, and the sand dunes of Dubai were the other benchmark drives for developing its off-road drive modes.

When you boil it all down, the Triton drives like a vehicle that was made by people who genuinely enjoy driving – not just the bottom line of their spreadsheets. This became particularly evident the more I got to speak with Masuda-san at the launch, who has been involved in three generations of Triton development and whose passion for driving – and for this ute – comes across clearly.

As questions piled in during the Q&A session about future Triton variants – a Ranger Raptor rival, a luxurious road-focused lifestyle version, a plug-in hybrid, you name it – he didn’t trot out the often-heard ‘we can’t comment on future product’ line. Instead, he spoke about his dream for just what the Triton could evolve into.

“Everything is an idea,” Masuda-san smiled. “We have to meet the requirements of the customer, but also the dream, which means to have tonnes of variety from the hero car to an off-road version… everything. But I have to order this and do them one-by-one [as part of the process] pointed toward my dream. We want to have a more high-end model, and we want to expand in that direction, but at this time at the launch of a completely new Triton, we want to set the level for the base model [first].”

Mitsubishi Motors Australia general manager of product strategy Oliver Mann also weighed in, noting that while there’s space for a higher-level model, potentially even bearing the Ralliart name, “global corporations have to make global decisions. [While from an Australian perspective] there is an identifiable performance market opportunity, we’re equally conscious of developing emissions requirements for various global markets.”

After my one-on-one interview session, I told Masuda-san just how refreshing it was to hear someone in his position speak with such enthusiasm for the vehicle they’ve developed, and particularly the attention to detail he had when crafting its driving experience, as that’s precisely what led me to write about cars the way I do on this website. It’s clearly no coincidence this new model has turned out as good as it is.

Of course, plenty of attention has been paid to making it good to live with beyond the test drive, and Mitsubishi’s industry-leading 10-year/200,000km warranty certainly offers a lot of peace of mind. There’s also 10 years/150,000km of capped price servicing, with the first five capped at $489 and the cost over 10 years dropping compared to the old model thanks to the redesigned engine offering easier access to maintenance items to save on labour costs, along with featuring maintenance-free hydraulic valve lash adjusters.

It promises good fuel economy too, with a claim of 7.5L/100km for the base 4×2 Double Cab model, jumping slightly to 7.7L/100km for the 4x4s tested here. It’ll take spending more time with it to accurately test its fuel economy on our typical test routes, but the drive from Eagle View back to Adelaide Airport – which was mostly on country roads but included a jaunt through the Hills and a hint of city traffic – saw an indicated 7.1L/100km in the GLX+ I was in.

Considering not only how dated the old Triton was but how advanced newer rivals such as the Ford Ranger are, it’s clear that a redesign of this magnitude is just what was required, and that’s exactly what Mitsubishi has delivered. It might have already been a perennial top-seller with a loyal fan base, but this new model truly sticks it to the sales-leading Ranger and HiLux. This new Triton can clearly go toe-to-toe with the best in the biz in the case of the former, while it outclasses the ageing Toyota by a country mile.

Factor in the buyer-driven specification choices, price point, practicality, and running costs, and it’s clear that Mitsubishi has nailed the brief and then some. From its capability to the premium feeling it delivers, it shows not only how far the Triton has come, but how far ute design has come in general, considering their all-purpose position in Australia as family cars, leisure vehicles, and tradie workhorses all rolled into one.

With the 2024 Triton, Mitsubishi has clearly addressed all of these segments in our unique market, and it shows just how much Australian testing and development pays off. Sure, the price is up substantially on this new Triton, but it’s such an improvement over the old model that it’s well-worth every penny.

2024 Mitsubishi Triton
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8/10
  • 8.5/10
    Ride & Handling - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Tech & Features - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Practicality - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Value for Money - 8/10

Pros: Impressive GCM and 1-tonne payload across the range, impressive steering and suspension tuning on-road and off-road, new engine has plenty of usable torque, refined and feature-packed interior
Cons: 1-tonne payload is an issue for novated leasing, bitey brake pedal feel, overbearing driver monitoring system

Supplied imagery by Mitchell Oke. Additional event photography by Patrick Jackson.

Full Disclosure: The vehicles tested here were provided by Mitsubishi Motors Australia at a two-day launch event with accommodation and catering provided.

Patrick Jackson
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