The Mitsubishi Triton has never garnered the reputation of the Toyota HiLux or prestige of the Ford Ranger, but it’s been a part of the light commercial landscape for over 20 years, or even longer if we look to the L200. It’s kept on keeping on, humbly doing just about everything that’s asked of it. And just like it’s history, the Triton’s price is humble, making it, at least on paper, one of the best value utes on the market. So when it comes to the mid-spec Mitsubishi Triton GLS, does the paper agree with the reality?
To look at the Triton, it seems small by ute standards, although in reality, that isn’t quite the case. It’s only 5cm shorter than the HiLux and has an 8.5cm shorter wheelbase. It’s 4cm narrower. It’s also over 100kg lighter, so size does play some benefit. The Triton has a 2.4-litre turbo-diesel engine which can produce 133kW and 430Nm, which is in the ball-park of modern ute outputs, although on the low side of them. It also only has a five-speed auto, which in a world where some have eight or ten speed gear-changers and most have at-least six, is something Mitsubishi is likely to change soon.
It’s a reasonably safe ute, having received a five-start safety rating from ANCAP, and has driver and passenger front and side air bags, a driver knee airbag and curtain air bags into the back seats. There’s also a full suite of electronic aids, including trailer stability assist and hill start assist.
There are four spec-levels, and the GLS is number three, above GLX and GLX+, but below Exceed. The GLS specific extras include Mitsubishi’s Super-Select all-wheel drive system, which means you can choose to drive in 2WD or AWD modes on-road, and still lock the centre diff and engage low-range when you’re off-road. The GLS also gets climate control, daytime running and fog lights, HID headlights, chrome bits and pieces, carpet on the floors, better fabric on the seats, sports bar and folding mirrors. There’s $7,000 difference between the GLX+ and GLS, which is probably too much to convince me I need Super-Select, better headlights and more chrome.
The Triton can tow up to 3,100kg, which is more than enough for most camper trailers and well within the reach of the majority of caravans, too. Interestingly, because a reasonably generous gross combination mass, even towing at it’s maximum weight, it can still carry over 700kg of people and gear.
Towing the 1400kg Cub Campers Frontier, with only a light load of camping gear in the tray, proved no problem for the Triton. I towed the camper between Wauchope and Newcastle, via the Lakes Way and then up one of the beaches between to find a good campsite. On road the Triton was barely affected by the small camper, although fuel economy did suffer and it used around 14L/100km with the camper on the back over the trip. The ball-weight had little affect on the suspension, though, and it was still just as stable through corners and at speed.
On the sand, the camper’s weight and resistance caused some issues, but nothing that reduced tyre pressures and more right boot couldn’t fix. Where it would sail smoothly over the sand unladen, it had a tendency to bog down in the rear with the camper on the back, which is entirely expected.
Without the trailer, the Triton was impressively economic, and the fuel usage dropped to around 7.9L/100km, which, given the 75-litre fuel tank, should see it do nearly 1000km between fills. In fact, combined with the capped price servicing offered by Mitsubishi, it should be a reasonably cheap daily driver.
As a dedicated tourer, though, the Triton GLS makes an interesting proposition. It’s certainly got the capacity – it can tow most of what you want to tow and can still carry a decent load in the tray if it does. It’s also reasonably capable, as you can slip it into AWD for dirt-road traction or low range if it gets tougher than that. The 75-litre fuel tank is a bit of a concern, though, as the range drops to about 500km if you tow anything, and probably less if you’ve got a caravan and more wind-resistance. That said, it’s significantly less to buy than the equivalent HiLux, Ranger, Colorado, Amarok and D-Max, so there’ll be some money left over in the kitty to sort that issue out.
As tested, the GLS was $44,590, which is pretty good value considering everything else worth considering is over $50,000. The Triton doesn’t quite have the same level of fit and finish as some of the others, nor the power, torque or sophisticated transmission. But it does get about doing what you ask of it in a reasonably comfortable package. Overall, what you see on paper is pretty much what you get in real life.
Mitsubishi Triton GLS 4×4
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-deisel
Fuel Consumption Towing: 14L/100km
Fuel Capacity: 75-litres
Kerb Weight: 1935kg
Max Towing: 3100kg