You’ve no doubt seen the television ads featuring Dakar Rally winner Toby Price flicking mud all over the 2017 Mitsubishi Triton GLS Sports Edition, and now CarAdvice gets to spend some time behind the wheel to find out whether Mitsubishi has added some appeal to a dual-cab that is already tremendous value for money.
Any dual-cab 4WD comparison illustrates that signature Triton nature – value for money. It’s no surprise to see so many running round in use as either site hacks by building companies in town, or working for a living in rural areas either.
Sharp pricing almost always puts the Triton at the head of the field in any head-to-head model grade comparison. And, while plenty of buyers are rushing out to spend silly money on high specification dual-cabs, there are still a lot of buyers working to a strict budget.
Most recently we saw that pricing advantage materialise in our mega ute test and once again the Triton proved to feel way more premium than it had any right to, or the price would indicate. The question is, will the widely popular ‘black treatment’ add to that broad appeal? Mitsubishi is the latest in a lengthy conga line of manufacturers to adopt the ‘black ops’ detail theory. Time to find out.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder certainly, but it’s a little bit rich to suggest the Triton is as attractive as the best in the segment. It’s a study in sharp lines, angles and bold details, and it can polarise. With that said though, the black detailing has really sharpened the Triton’s exterior.
As Matt wrote recently of the GLS Sports Edition, ‘if you’re onto a good thing, add some black styling stuff to it’ and that’s especially the case in the dual-cab utility sector. Chrome doesn’t always look great on something originally designed as a work vehicle, and the Triton is definitely one that benefits from the black trim. I’d even go so far as to suggest I’d want black rear vision mirrors and door handles too, thus removing all chrome trim from the exterior altogether.
Price has always been the Triton’s strong point, and nothing has changed here. If you want the manual, pricing starts from $45,990 before on-road costs. As tested here, with the automatic transmission, pricing starts from $48,490 before on-road costs. In a segment, where buyers are routinely forking out 60 grand (or more), the Triton remains compelling value for money.
Standard equipment highlights for this special edition include: 17-inch alloy wheels, a black rear step bumper, powder coated nudge bar with spot light mounts, rear diff lock, standard fit tub liner, soft tonneau cover, tow bar, tinted bonnet protector and fitted floor mats.
With a price point like that, the Triton’s value equation is absolutely unequivocal. We know they are hard to kill too, so if you keep the servicing up to date, you can be sure you’ll be driving a Triton for years to come despite the sharp entry pricing. It’s another reason you see so many as part of company fleets – they can take the beating of drivers who don’t care as much about their conveyance as they should.
After years of us griping about the almost flat boards that passed for seats, Mitsubishi listened and the result when it released the all-new Triton a few years back was well and truly appreciated. The front seats fitted to our GLS tester are excellent. They hold driver and passenger in place, but they are comfortable when longer distances are called for. There’s no more of that weird feeling of sitting on top of the seats like the days of old, rather you sit into them just as you should.
With Apple CarPlay/Android Auto standard, the revised infotainment system is also excellent and does its bit to enhance the premium appearance and sense within the cabin. We only had one issue with the system and that was intermittent call quality when the phone was wired into the system. The regular Bluetooth connection was better, but when using CarPlay, callers reported some audio issues.
The system is otherwise genuinely easy to use and the screen is clear in all light too. It’s a broad screen as well, which makes using Apple maps via CarPlay even easier than it would otherwise. The Siri voice command worked faultlessly, too.
Second row seating – and the space on offer – is still a Triton strong point. One of the first to offer proper second row room and comfort when it switched to the styling we are now familiar with, the Triton has had to contend recently with others in the segment like Ranger and Amarok matching it for space and comfort. Still, the Triton is a genuine contender if you need to use the second row regularly.
Overall, there’s an insulated sense of quality throughout the cabin in both the design but also the execution. The materials used, the fit and finish, and the lack of noise that intrudes into the cabin even at speed, are all up with the segment leaders, and very impressive for the price point.
While the Triton isn’t the most dynamic dual-cab in the segment, it delivers a solid, composed feel to the driver, when you start tackling some poor inner city roads. It will soak up most of the worst you can point it toward and, while erring on the firm side never crashes over bumps or feels ridiculously harsh.
It still feels a little bouncy unladen – as all dual-cabs tend to do – but the solidity of the cabin and the chassis mitigate that somewhat.
There’s still plenty of room for improvement in the dual-cab ute segment, especially when they are unladen and that goes for all manufacturers across the board. Tough leaf springs are great when it comes to a reliable load rating, but not so great when it comes to refining the around town ride.
As we’ve seen numerous times before, add some weight to the equation though, and the Triton settles down nicely. If you plan to carry 250-500kg regularly, you’ll find the Triton’s ride and bump absorption as good as most in the segment.
The steering is quick enough for low speed parking work and negotiating tight city streets, while still being a little ponderous at higher speeds. It’s a balancing act for manufacturers though, as they have to counter for owners likely to take their dual cab off-road, where slower steering is actually advantageous.
The diesel engine has been refined to the point where there’s no nasty clatter intruding into the cabin even when you work it a little harder. Here’s the rub though, the Triton’s engine and gearbox combination really is quite under-stressed in every sense, so it doesn’t ever feel like it’s working too hard anyway.
The Triton will roll along nicely at highway speed just as well as it does around town at 60km/h. It’s efficient too, returning 9.9L/100km against an ADR claim of 7.6L/100km over the course of our week behind the wheel. We keep reiterating just how efficient these modern turbo diesel engines are in real terms and the Triton’s 2.4-litre four cylinder keeps pace with what we expect from he segment.
The gearshift itself is smooth and positive, and it doesn’t tend to hunt up and down the gears as we’ve noted before when you’re towing a reasonably heavy weight for example. Unladen, the gearbox picks its ratio and stays there unless you alter the road speed by a fair margin. The torque peak (430Nm) available from low in the rev range assists here too, and you can ride that wave of torque for most day to day driving situations. Peak power is 133kW.
The Triton is already an appealing dual-cab 4WD thanks to its many strong points, but the addition of the black detail package bestowed upon the GLS Sports Edition adds to the visual appeal. We experienced plenty of positive comments too about just how good the Triton looks with the blackout additions. Those of you on a budget will already be thinking about the Triton, but those of you with deeper pockets shouldn’t discount it either. It’s an exceptional dual cab 4WD.
Click on the Gallery tab for more photos by Sam Venn.