Following our budget utility test, we take a close look at Mitsubishi's affordable work horse - the Triton GLX. With its standard alloy tray, could this be the serious work ute you're looking for?
The 2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLX is an interesting beast. It’s certainly short on creature comforts. That's something that our recent single-cab alloy-tray utility comparison revealed is true of most options at this end of the market. Still, the Triton once again does what it usually does so well – compete fiercely on price in a congested market.
So, if you need a utility for work, you’ll also know that more attractive ‘style-side’ trays aren’t really the best option. There’s the high load sides, lack of proper tie-downs, compromised space, and lesser load-carrying capability. The Triton as tested here, with an alloy tray, is the ideal vehicle for a hard day’s work on any job site around the country.
Interestingly, and unlike some of the competition, the Triton’s alloy tray is a no-cost option, meaning you can drive away in this Triton with the diesel and automatic gearbox as tested here for $27,990 plus on-road costs. On the subject of the tray, it measures in at 2430mm long, 1770mm wide and 255mm deep. It has three separate useable tie-downs along the edges, too, which means you can strap a load into the tray safely at the leading edge, the middle or the rear of the tray.
The Triton does get a ladder rack at the front of the tray, but it doesn’t get a safety cage covering the window for the cargo, which is an addition we’d like to see. The tray sides are sturdy, the latches simple to open and close - and when closed, the tray doesn’t rattle and wobble, even unladen. The Triton’s payload, 1165kg, is formidable but still at the bottom of the pile of the utes we tested recently.
Aside from the tray, there really isn’t a lot of other equipment for the money though – and you can’t measure toughness in dollar terms sadly. There is USB connectivity, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, steering wheel audio controls, and a basic two-speaker audio system. Electric windows are standard, as are the cloth-trimmed seats and vinyl flooring. The Triton also gets cruise control and is the only vehicle from our test with a tilt- and reach-adjustable steering wheel. The Triton also gets voice control.
There is nothing in the way of parking assistance, something of an annoyance around town, and when you’re manoeuvring into and out of tight parking spaces. We’d like to see reverse-view cameras standard on all vehicles as a matter of course, and this segment, with boxy trays obstructing views, is a prime candidate for a camera. The Triton isn’t ridiculously difficult to muscle around, it would just be a lot easier – and safer – with a camera as standard.
One thing that is common in this segment is the addition of driver safety aids like stability and traction control. Tail-happy vehicles like the Triton, especially unladen, benefit from the addition of safety tech like that - especially with a boosty diesel engine and a slick road surface. The Triton does get six airbags standard.
Take a seat behind the wheel and the Triton’s cabin is comfortable enough without being spacious. That’s par for the course in this segment obviously, but the seating position, and the seat themselves, are comfortable enough for a long working day. Triton gets long and deep door pockets for storage, as well as twin cupholders, but the centre console isn’t as big as others, and therefore cuts down on storage space a little.
There’s a basic, plastic feel to everything inside the cabin, but that probably also hints at the toughness and durability of the surrounds, meaning the Triton won’t look like it’s falling apart early in its life. Durability is key for fleet and commercial buyers, and the Triton comes with a reputation for toughness that looks set to continue.
The audio system works – in that it delivers audio into the cabin – but it isn’t going to win any awards for clarity and sound quality. The Bluetooth phone connection is easy enough to pair and stays paired once sorted. It’s also clear, for both the driver and the caller on the other end of the conversation. That remains the case right up to highway speeds.
The Triton GLX is powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine generating 133kW at 3300rpm and 430Nm at 2500rpm. The oiler is paired to a five-speed automatic gearbox. In this segment, the Triton’s engine is quiet, insulated and refined, something you’ll appreciate the more time you spend driving it. Against an ADR claim of 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres, we saw an indicated return of 9.2L/100km.
The refinement extends to the gearbox, which is smooth and precise and makes the best use of the diesel’s torque to keep things ticking along nicely. While there is a slight hesitation in initial power delivery, which we put down to turbo lag, it isn’t an annoyance you’ll notice unless you look for it. Once rolling, the Triton simply rides that solid torque delivery up to whatever speed you’re aiming for. We never caught the gearbox out in the wrong gear, either - an important point for a working vehicle segment.
Unladen, the Triton isn’t up with the best in class when it comes to bump absorption and livability. Some of these alloy trayback utes verge on unbearable without a load in the tray, though, and the Triton, thankfully, isn’t one of them. We could live with it day-to-day if we had to drive it around without weight in the tray – just. It can be sharp over nastier bumps, and it isn’t great over raised traffic platforms at approximately 30km/h.
The diesel engine makes short work of any speed up to 110km/h on the freeway. At that speed it is quiet enough, too, never roaring unnecessarily into the cabin and disrupting the peace. Around town, we found the steering easy enough to use and the Triton easy enough to manoeuvre too, you never quite felt it was too big to get into loading bays and work sites.
We also strapped 1000kg of bricks on a pallet into the tray to get a sense of how the Triton handled the kind of weight it could be expected to carry regularly. The good news is, we barely noticed the load was even in there. Once secured to the sturdy tie-down rails, the bricks didn’t move, and the Triton still trundles around effortlessly. There was no noticeable strain on the engine or gearbox and the ride, as expected, settled down even more and became more comfortable.
The rear suspension sagged a little under the weight of so many bricks, but didn’t have any negative impact on the Triton’s ability to soak up nastier bumps and raised speed platforms. What we did notice was a bit of rocking corner to corner diagonally across the Triton, when we drove into a driveway on an angle for example. It’s slight, but its something you’ll notice with weight in the tray.
All round, the Triton is a decent vehicle to drive daily. It’s not technologically at the forefront of anything, and it isn’t at the head of the field, either, but it’s inoffensive and a utility you could definitely live with if you needed a workhorse. The fact it can easily handle 1000kg without raising a sweat is a solid bonus for any tradie who needs to lug around plenty of weight for work.
The Triton is covered by a five-year/130,000km warranty and requires servicing every 12 months or 15,000km. Over the first 60,000km, the average service cost weighs in at $522.50.
So, is the 2016 Mitsubishi Triton GLX the pick of the diesel work ute options? Not quite, and in our test it was edged by the Mazda BT-50. The Triton is, however, a solid workhorse, with the basics covered and promises to be reliable. It definitely carries the weight – no pun intended – of Mitsubishi’s reputation for long-term durability.
It’s never a chore to drive either, which is key in this segment. Those loyal to the Mitsubishi brand have another solid option to trade up to, while those who’ve never owned a Mitsubishi, should definitely take a good look at the Triton GLX.
Thanks to the guys at Lower Mountains Landscape Supplies for their help on this shoot.