BUYERS GUIDE
MITSUBISHI TRITON
The latest Triton has a great new engine.

Mitsubishi Motors’ restyled 2015 Triton made its international debut in Thailand on November 18, 2014 and was released in Australia in crew cab form initially in May 2015. Upgrades were made in late 2016.

mitsubishi triton

The post-2015 Triton claimed higher levels of safety, improved quietness and ride comfort and had much-needed tightened steering lock with a turning radius of just 5.9 metres, improving manoeuvrability.

The new model was powered by an all-aluminium 2.4-litre MIVEC turbo-diesel engine with variable geometry turbo and outputs of 133kW and 430Nm. Although the torque level didn't look like a massive improvement there was much more grunt available at low revs.

The previous 2010-2014 Triton’s 2.5-litre diesel engine was horrible, lacking torque and response. It replaced the 3.2-litre diesel engine that was shared with the Pajero and no-one could work out why Mitsubishi did it.

In all our testing the larger engine had much better performance and fuel economy.

The unloved 2.5-litre has been replaced by a slightly smaller 2.4-litre four. Before you jump to another downsizing conclusion, take note that it’s an up to date design, with a variable geometry turbocharger and more refined fuel system.

Fuel economy is a claimed 20-percent better.

The engine mated to a new six-speed manual or five-speed auto and there was no engine torque limitation on the auto, as there was with the previous four-speed transmission.

A new transfer case low-range ratio of 2.56:1 was adopted.

The new engine was some 30kg lighter, contributing to less front axle tare weight – important when it comes to fitting a bar and winch.

mitsubishi tritonTransmissions were a new six-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic. A new transfer case featured deeper-reduction low-range, with a ratio of 2.56:1.

The optional rear diff lock was deleted from all spec' levels except the top-shelf Exceed. We asked Mitsubishi why and they told us that very few people ordered it. Maybe they didn't promote its advantages very well.

Like its predecessor the post-2015 Triton is being produced in Thailand. 

Mitsubishi invited OTA to a preview of the 2015 Triton in March, but the only vehicle available was a top-shelf crew-cab Exceed model. Since then we’ve also checked out a GLS crew cab model.

Other models in the range included short-cab, extra-cab and crew-cab models. The mid-cab version had rear ‘suicide’ doors for ease of access to the small rear seats.


mitsubishi triton The former chassis was retained, but was strengthened at key points. The spring hangers were new, spaced 50mm further forward at the front and 70mm at the rear, to accommodate 120mm-longer leaf springs.

The 2015 Triton had an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, body design. Overall shape was preserved, but the cab was moved slightly forward on the chassis and the familiar sloped C-pillar on crew-cabs remained, but was less curved than before. Ridged highlights graced front and rear mudguards, giving the Triton a sharper appearance.

 

What you get

The 2015 Triton GLX 4x4 Single Cab and Double Cab came with: 16x6 steel wheels with 205R16C tyres (Single Cab) or 16x7 steel wheels with 245/70R16 tyres and overfenders; air-conditioning; tilt and telescopic steering column; cruise control with steering wheel controls; hands free Bluetooth with voice command and steering wheel controls; audio system with AM/FM radio/CD player; USB port; multi Information monitor (average fuel consumption, driving distance); adjustable speed limiter; seven airbags (driver and passenger, side and curtain, driver's knee); ABS/EBD/ASC/brake override system; EBA; Hill Start Assist system; Trailer Stability Assist system; Emergency Stop Signal function; alarm; immobiliser; Easy Select 4WD system with  electronic control transfer shift dial.

Triton GLX 4x4 Club Cab had the above equipment, plus side steps and a four-door body with clamshell-style doors.

Triton GLS 4x4 Double Cab had GLX equipment, but adds Super Select II 4WD; 17x7.5 aluminium wheels with 245/65R17 111S tyres; High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps; LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRL); front fog lamps; side steps; rear step bumper; sports bar; rear view camera; chrome automatic electric folding door mirrors with side turn lamp; three-spoke leather steering wheel; leather transmission shift knob; sports trim interior fabric; outside temperature indicator; dual zone  climate-control air-conditioning; display audio with 6.1-inch colour touch screen, AM/FM radio/CD player; DAB (digital audio broadcast) radio and six-speaker audio, including two tweeters.

Triton Exceed picked up transmission paddle shift; rear diff lock; smart key; one touch start; dusk sensing headlamps; rain sensing auto intermittent wipers; leather seats; driver's power seat and Mitsubishi Multi Communication System featuring seven-inch touch screen display with DAB, 3D navigation mapping and SD Card input.

Pricing at the 2015 launch was $32,490 for a GLX Single Cab; $35,290 for a Club Cab; $39,490 for a Double Cab Pick Up; $43,490 for a GLS Double Cab Pick Up and $47,490 for a Double Cab Exceed.

Mitsubishi introduced a GLX Double Cab/chassis auto or manual model in September 2015, priced from $36,240.

The Triton range had Mitsubishi’s five-year/100,000km New Car Warranty. 

Service intervals were 15,000km or 12 months and the capped price service schedule was:

15,000km (12 months)        $350 RRP
30,000km (24 months)        $580 RRP
45,000km (36 months)        $580 RRP
60,000km (48 months)        $580 RRP

In December 2016, upgrades were made across the Triton range.

Mitsubishi’s smartphone integrated audio system – Smartphone Display Audio or SDA – with seven-inch colour touch screen was added to the top-spec' Triton GLS and Exceed, along with a four-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Externally, GLS and Exceed were given dark chrome grilles and headlight garnish, and platform-style side steps.

In addition, Exceed picked up an electro-chromatic rear view mirror and heated front seats.

At the workhorse end of the range, a reversing camera and a rear step bumper became standard on the Triton GLX double cab pick-up. All GLX and GLX+ 4x4 variants picked up 16-inch All-Terrain tyres.

Triton GLX gained Mitsubishi’s premium audio AM/FM CD system with 6.1-inch colour touch screen – previously fitted to Triton GLS – and a new design key fob.

A speed-sensing auto door lock was made standard across the range.

 

On and off road in two 2015 crew cabs

mitsubishi tritonThe interior space was slightly enhanced and rear seat legroom in crew-cabs was still class-leading, Mitsubishi claimed. Fit and finish was excellent and quite car-like.

By far the biggest improvement was to the front seats. We’ve complained for years about the lack of padding and thigh support in Triton seats and at last Mitsubishi has listened. We drove and passengered on- and off-road  and felt quite comfortable.

The steering column on the evaluation vehicle tilted and telescoped, so getting foot and arm ergonomics worked out was easy.

Matched to a new Aisin five-speed auto in the test vehicles the new engine was a delight to operate.

Accelerator response was instant and lag-free, while great shift quality from the box ensured that the donk kept operating in its optimum band. The engine felt completely unfussed at all times, so economy should be good.

We averaged 8-9L/100km with 300kg payload.

GLS and Exceed models had the Pajero's Super-Select, full-time 4WD, unlike the competition that had part-time 4WD.

Mitsubishi upgraded the front and rear Triton suspensions. I liked the stiffer front end feel and the steering was more precise than before. Longer leaves at the back end have improved ride quality and road surface compliance, but the dampers still felt a tad underdone on corrugated surfaces.

The 2015 Triton’s off-road behaviour was significantly better than its predecessor’s, thanks to improved torque, deeper-reduction low-range gearing and more compliant rear suspension.

The new 2WD-4WD-4Low dial-control worked easily, as did the rear-axle diff-lock switch on the Exceed model.

Engine braking in these automatic-transmission vehicles was surprisingly good.

 

 

 

 

Previous Models

 

mitsubishi tritonThe Mitsubishi Triton MK model was introduced in 1996 and was then the most comprehensive 4WD ute range in the market, including the only V6-powered 4WD ute. The new Triton body design meant that cab/chassis and Club Cab variants had reasonable accommodation, but the Double Cab had a cramped back seat, which was really suitable only for kids. 

Mitsubishi had the dubious distinction of boasting the most expensive medium-sized Japanese ute in its range, but at $46,470, the Double Cab V6 with its prominent aluminium wheels and over-fenders was a lot of ute.  The workhorse variants were competitively priced in the $32,400 to $37,200 bracket. Having a three-litre V6 gave the Triton an edge over all its medium-sized 4x4 ute competitors, who relied on four-cylinder petrol engines.

With 109kW and 234Nm of torque, the Triton’s bent six outclassed the opposition's 75-92kW and 185-205Nm. Even the new petrol four was no slouch, with 97kW on tap.

However, Mitsubishi made a strange diesel engine selection for the MK Triton, replacing the old 2.5-litre turbo-diesel with a naturally aspirated version of the Pajero’s turbocharged and intercooled 2.8. The Triton’s 2.8-litre wasn’t much of an improvement over the aged 2.5, producing 71kW and 198Nm – only nine kilowatts more than the turbocharged 2.5 and with almost the same torque. By way of contrast the turbo-intercooled version in the Pajero was good for 92kW and 292Nm.

Mitsubishi's involvement in off-road racing must have rubbed off on production machines, because the Triton range was the best handling of the light 4WD commercial pack.  Although no match for coil-sprung wagons, including Mitsubishi's own Pajero, the Triton could be punted on fast dirt with confidence, suffering less from roll-induced oversteer than other 4WD utes. 

Off-road the Triton wouldn’t go where an all-leaf-sprung HiLux would, but then neither would any of the Japanese utes with wishbone front ends. In 1998 Mitsubishi gave the Triton range minor tweaks, with intake noise reduction in the diesel models and some interior trim improvements.

mitsubishi tritonIn August 2000 Mitsubishi added two new manual diesel variants – a GLX Club Cab and a GLS Double Cab – and made the INVECS II intelligent-logic automatic transmission an option on the V6 GLS Double Cab model.

In September 2001 all Tritons received new front bumpers, new headlamps and side turn lamps with white lenses, new radiator grilles, new rear combination lamps and new interior trim materials. GLX and GLS Double Cab models had an AM/FM radio/single-CD audio unit as standard. Top-of-the-line GLS models picked up unique headlamps, 16-inch aluminium wheels (replacing 15-inchers), twin-pot front brake callipers, unique front sports seats and optional dual SRS airbags.

Remote keyless entry also became available on the top-of-the-range GLS Double Cab petrol and diesel models.

In mid-2003 the Triton finally scored the Pajero’s 2.8-litre intercooled turbo-diesel, replacing the naturally aspirated unit. The addition of turbocharger and intercooler had a marked effect on performance of the diesel Triton.

The 0-80km/h acceleration time came up nearly 30 per cent quicker (in 9.7 seconds, down from 13.8 seconds). Overtaking in fourth gear from 40-60km/h was reduced from 7.8 to 5.7 seconds, and 80-100km/h was reduced from 10.1 to 5.8 seconds. The performance improvements came without any fuel economy penalty.

Transmission for the turbo diesel Triton was a five-speed manual with Mitsubishi’s Easy Select part-time 4WD system. Also in 2003, the Triton received some revisions to improve occupant comfort. At the same time all engines met Euro II emission standards.

All models picked up an AM/FM radio/single-CD head unit that was CD-stacker compatible. The units had improved LCD readability and revised features – a ‘pause’ button was added and the clock was deleted.

Air conditioning became a standard fitment on GLS Double Cab models, along with chrome interior door handles and revised luxury knit seat trim. Chrome front grille, exterior door and tailgate handles completed the exterior upgrade. Driver and passenger SRS airbags and leather-wrapped steering wheel were optional on GLS (manual variants also included leather-wrapped transfer and gearshift levers as part of this pack). Airbags continued to be optional on all other V6 models.

The last Triton MK upgrade was in March 2005, with the introduction of a crew cab model that slotted between the $44,490 GLS turbo-diesel Double Cab ute and the $37,490 GLX version. The new GLX-R model retailed for $38,990 in both petrol V6 and turbo-diesel configurations.

Pre-2003 Tritons are a fairly lacklustre lot, with the exception of the three-litre petrol V6 models. Post-2003 Tritons with the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine are preferred over the three-litre petrol six that had a narrow operating band between peak power – 133kW at 5250rpm – and maximum torque – 255Nm at 4500rpm – and worked best in front of the four-speed automatic. The gruntier diesel came only with the five-speed manual transmission.

Don’t even consider buying a V6 petrol Triton that’s been fitted with an LPG kit. Of the major suppliers in the 4WD market, only Mitsubishi used to be strongly against gas fuel for its V6 engines, until the LPG-compatible 3.5-litre was introduced to the Pajero range. Mitsubishi changed the late model 3.0-litre V6’s piston rings, valves and valve seat material in an effort to meet the demands of LPG combustion heat, but the engine still suffered from valve seat recession.

The Triton has been built in Thailand since the MK introduction in 1996 and build quality has been generally very good. The Triton doesn’t suffer from any specific failures, but as always, regular servicing is critical. Make sure you get a Triton that’s been well looked after. Petrol engines suffer from clogged oilways if not serviced as per the manufacturer’s specifications and the pre-chamber diesel loads its oil with combustion soot very quickly. Diesels need to have been oil-drained every 5000 kilometres. 

mitsubishi tritonMitsubishi Motors launched the restyled Triton in 2006. Major mechanical changes were subsequently made in 2010 and some safety and interior upgrades in late 2012 and in 2014.

A few years back, all Japanese utes looked more or less the same, but in the race to attract recreational-ute buyers in larger numbers the stylists were given their heads.

Opinions polarised around the styling cues on the Double Cab Triton vs those on the HiLux.

The front of the new Triton was a dead copy of the Ralliart competition vehicles that then dominated the Dakar event.

The Double Cab started off that way, but the rear wall tucked under and forward in a radical departure from the ute design mainstream. In addition, the Double Cab ute tray had relatively low sides and the top edges were cambered, not flat like those on every other ute tray. When surmounted with a tiny canopy the Double Cab looked…er, different.

The 2006 Triton bodywork sat on top of a new chassis and suspension, and while the proved ladder-frame chassis with leaf spring rear suspension design was retained, there were significant changes.

The new front suspension was Pajero-like, with coil springs, concentric dampers and double wishbones, replacing the previous torsion bar arrangement and the back saw the rear axle underslung - under the springs - for additional chassis-to-ground clearance.

The spring pack for Double Cabs was two leaves lighter than the pack for Single Cabs and both spring packs had anti-rattle, interleaf wear plates.

The new front end included rack and pinion steering and claimed class-leading turning circle – in absolute contrast to the wide turning circle of the pre-2006 models.

The powertrain was a mixture of old and new. The 3.5-litre ex-Pajero petrol V6 remained and the Triton picked up the Pajero’s 3.2-litre turbo-intercooled diesel four, but with a new common-rail injection system. The petrol engine’s maximum output was 135kW at 4750rpm, with peak torque of 309Nm at 3500rpm.

mitsubishi tritonThe diesel’s figures were a surprise, because they were lower than the figures for the Pajero engine. The common-rail Triton version had figures of 118kW at 4000rpm and 347Nm at 2000rpm, compared with the older, Pajero engine’s figures of 121kW at 3800rpm and 373Nm at 2000rpm.

It was maybe a smart marketing move to keep the ute outputs below those of the wagon, but the real reason was probably that the existing five-speed manual transmission and carry-over, four-speed auto couldn’t handle the diesel’s potential torque.

The 4WD system was Mitsubishi’s Easy-Select part-time arrangement, where, once selected at rest, 4WD could thereafter be engaged at any speed up to 100km/h.

The rear limited slip differential was a Thornton-type LSD that could be fitted with a full locking option. This made the Triton the only stock 4WD in the marketplace with a rear diff that functioned as a powerful limited-slip that could be locked positively as well.

(A Thornton limited slip differential enhances the gear-separation effect that occurs when one side-gear starts to spin,)

In this four-pinion, two-clutch LSD the pressure rings that transmit gear-separation forces to the clutch packs have V-shaped cutouts that bear against the pins of the central ‘cross’. As one side gear spins faster than its opposite number the clutches on that side resist the action and the gear-separation forces are magnified by the ramp action of the pressure rings against the cross pins, as friction tries to rotate the pressure rings.)

Wheels were 16x6 steel on Single Cab and base Double Cab models, shod with 205R16s, and the up-market Double Cabs ran on 16x7 aluminium wheels fitted with 245/70R16s. All the new models had at least a one-tonne payload rating and could tow a 2.3-tonne braked trailer, with up to 230kg ball loading.

The new Triton cab passed impact tests with a four-star rating. The deformable structure incorporated door anti-intrusion bars, a two-stage collapsible steering column and a pedal structure that was said to reduce the likelihood of lower limb injury.

There were lap/sash belts in all five seating positions and front seat airbags and belt pre-tensioners were standard. (The passenger-side airbag could be key-switched off, if necessary.)

All GLX-R and GLS Tritons came with standard four-channel ABS brakes, with electronic brake force distribution. The braking hardware remained a combination of discs and drums. ABS was optional on GLX models.

Mitsubishi claimed the largest cab volume and legroom in the ute class in 2006, with particular attention having been paid to the space and seat comfort of rear seat passengers. Even base models came with air conditioning and remote central locking. The range started with GLX models that were Single or Double Cab, petrol or diesel versions, with manual transmissions. GLX-Rs were petrol or diesel Double Cabs and petrols could have the automatic transmission option.

The GLS was a manual, diesel-only Double Cab model, with leather upholstery. GLX-R and GLS models had a power-operated rear glass in the cab rear wall and the GLS model could be specified with a sunroof.

 All new Tritons came with a five-year/100,000km bumper-to-bumper warranty and a non-transferable, 10-year/160,000km powertrain warranty.

mitsubishi tritonThe 2010-year Triton range saw the V6 petrol engine dropped and the introduction of a new variable geometry turbocharged 2.5-litre diesel, to replace the 3.2-litre diesel. The smaller-capacity engine generated a claimed 131kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm of torque at 2000rpm - up 11 percent and 17 percent respectively over the previous 4M41 3.2-litre engine. Combined fuel economy figures of 8.3 litres per hundred kilometres were claimed.

The not-so-good news was that the old four-speed automatic transmission carried over from the previous model and couldn’t handle that much torque, so auto-trans Triton models were capped at 350Nm of torque. Even the GLX-R model with its electronically controlled five-speed automatic had an engine torque cap. Combined fuel economy was a claimed 9.3 litres per 100km.

 Mitsubishi’s All Terrain Technology (MATT) was standard on all GLX-R models and featured Super Select 4WD, Active Stability & Traction Control, Multi Mode ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and an optional diff lock.

 All post-2010 Tritons had standard driver and front passenger SRS airbags, front and rear door impact bars, ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution, front seatbelt pretensioners and child restraint points.

Criticism of the tiny cargo box on Dual Cabs saw a 2010 introduction of a long-bed ute body with a length of 1505 mm and height of 460 mm.

Towing capacities were also increased, with a maximum of 2700 kg on Dual Cab 4WDs and 3000 kg on all other 4WD models.

For 2011 Mitsubishi re-introduced the Club Cab as a manual-transmission ute or cab/chassis with bucket seats, flip-up occasional-use rear seats, lever type park brake and floor console with lid and cup holder. Towing capacity was 2700kg.

In late 2012 Mitsubishi added side and curtain airbags to the Triton Double Cab range and made some interior styling and fabric changes. In recognition of the 2.5-litre engine's power and torque deficiencies, compared with competitor powertrains, Mitsubishi cut the RRPs of the 2013-year Triton range by one to two grand.

The 2014-model changes were made in March 2014 and included an upgraded audio system across all models. Bluetooth functionality, mobile phone and iPod hands-free operation with voice recognition and steering wheel-mounted audio controls were added to all GL and GLX models.

All double cab Triton models were equipped with two Isofix child seat anchorage points.

 

On and off-road in 2012 models

mitsubishi tritonMitsubishi’s off-road competition heritage has always shown up in good ute handling qualities and the Triton continued this trend. The Double Cabs had wagon-like handling, with a tinge of power oversteer available underfoot. There was more bump-steer noticeable in the Single Cab and Club Cab models, but they were easy enough to aim where you wanted to go.

Ergonomics were excellent, with no need for the driver to reach for any controls. It wass odd that the 4WD lever was closer to the driver than the main gear lever, but you soon got used to the layout.

The information panel for the trip computer fitted to GLX-R and GLS models was excellent, with simultaneous displays of relevant factors, rather than the usual situation where the driver has to scroll through successive items.

Forward, side and rear vision was very good, but we’re not sure about the need for an opening rear glass. You certainly wouldn’t want it open when running on dusty roads. The power-adjustable front seats in the GLS were very supportive and comfortable, but we can’t say the same for the GLX and GLX-R seats that were too low-slung for the long legged and lacked under-thigh support.

The standard LSD controlled wayward rear axle behaviour under power, limiting spin on the inside rear wheel. It worked almost as well as a self-locking diff. The optional air-actuated diff lock clicked in instantly with the vehicle at rest and didn’t disengage automatically as the speed built up, so it worked very well in soft beach sand, where we needed to keep up momentum. The lock engaged in high or low range. It’s supposed to engage with the vehicle moving below 12km/h, but our test vehicles needed to be stationary for the lock to engage. It disengaged quickly when the dashboard switch was touched, or when 4WD was cancelled by moving the transfer case lever.

The Triton’s rear axle functionality was one of the best in the 4WD ute market. Petrol and diesel engines provided good performance and the common-rail version of the 3.2-litre diesel was quieter than the existing Pajero diesel.

Double Cab Tritons rode particularly well, but the Single Cabs were noticeably more ‘choppy’.

The post-2010 2.5-litre wasn’t enough to keep Mitsubishi at the forefront of ute performance, given the competition from the VW Amarok, Holden Colorado, Isuzu Ute D-Max, and the mechanically identical Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50. Our bush testing of automatic-transmission Tritons indicates that Mitsubishi needed a new auto post-haste, to allow the engine to achieve its 400Nm potential.

That change and a new engine arrived in mid-2015.




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