The Mitsubishi Triton has had its first facelift in four years, bringing bold styling to its previously understated appearance. While it looks like an all-new model, this is a clever redesign of the Triton introduced in 2015.
It’s new from the windscreen forward and the rear fenders have been re-stamped, but the doors, cabin, tailgate and tub carry over from before.
The MY19 Triton also gains a raft of safety tech, some of which are firsts for the class. Most models in the double-cab line-up are now better equipped than the equivalent-grade Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.
The only drawback to this major overhaul: the drive-away price has gone up by between $4000 and $6500 depending on the model. However, despite this price hike, the Triton still undercuts the main competition. Little wonder it’s Australia’s third most popular ute behind the top-selling HiLux and Ranger.
The base-model Triton GLX double-cab four-wheel drive with six-speed manual now starts from $36,990 drive-away, rather than $32,990 drive-away previously, a $4000 hike. (Incidentally, if you want to drive a bargain, there are still a handful of runout Triton GLXs going for less than $32,990 drive-away thanks to a 'huge bonus' funded by Mitsubishi.)
By comparison, the cheapest ticket into a Toyota HiLux double-cab four-wheel drive is $42,990 drive-away, while the Ford Ranger double-cab four-wheel drive kicks off from $41,990 drive-away.
The favourite among private buyers – the Triton GLX+ double-cab four-wheel drive with six-speed auto – starts from $42,490 drive-away, up from $35,990 previously, a $6500 hike.
The luxury-grade GLS double-cab four-wheel drive with six-speed auto starts from $46,990 drive-away, up by $5000 from $41,990 previously. With the 2015–2018 Triton series, $46,990 would buy the top-of-the-range Exceed.
That’s now been replaced by the Triton GLS Premium and costs $50,990 drive-away – a $4000 hike – although that’s still less than the HiLux SR5 and Ranger XLT, both of which have been at $52,990 drive-away as long-term offers. And yet, the Triton GLS is better equipped than the Toyota and Ford at this pricepoint.
An added sweetener: until the end of June 2019, the new Triton range will come with a seven-year/150,000km warranty, up from the standard five-year/130,000km coverage.
However, the capped-price servicing program still runs out after just three years. Here’s hoping Mitsubishi eventually returns to matching the capped-price servicing program period to the length of the warranty – or beyond.
Mitsubishi says drive-away prices for the new Triton range have risen because most models are better equipped, have added safety tech, and underwent extensive revisions to suspension and tyres. Whether these changes warrant the full price hike is debatable. It seems fair to assume that after years of heavy discounting, Mitsubishi is trying to claw back some profit margin.
According to several dealers we spoke to, customers are coming in on the new design alone, so Mitsubishi might make bank on this updated model. However, if buyers don’t take to the tough new look, don’t be surprised to see Triton pricing roll back closer to its former discount glory.
Based on our media preview drive, we reckon the changes to the Triton are worthy of merit – we’re just not sure if they are worth the $4000 to $6500 hike. In the end, customers will decide if the price is right.
All double-cab four-wheel-drive Tritons except the base-model GLX come standard with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), but it’s available as an $800 option to fleets or private buyers who want the extra safety tech.
The GLX – identified by its 16-inch steel wheels – already had a rear camera, but now comes with a rear bumper and parking sensors, and gets the same colour display in the instrument cluster as the GLS models.
However, as with all new Tritons, there’s still no digital speed readout – and only the driver’s window has a ‘one touch, auto up’ function. The Toyota HiLux and VW Amarok have ‘express up’ functionality on all four windows.
As before, the Triton remains one of the few utes on the market with height- and reach-adjustable steering (the others being the Toyota HiLux and Volkswagen Amarok).
The GLX remains short-changed on charging ports despite being the tradies' favourite. There is one USB port and two 12V sockets in the front cabin (one in the dash and one in the centre console) and no power to the back seats. And there’s still no power outlet in the rear tray on any grade of Triton.
The 6.1-inch touchscreen audio unit has dials for volume and tuning – handy on bumpy roads – but lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The seats are cloth but the floor is vinyl. The steering wheel rim and handbrake lever have rubber grips.
On all models, there’s now padding on the centre console lid, the elbow rest on the door, and on the section of console that comes into knee contact with the driver and front passenger.
Back seat passengers will find it easier to climb aboard thanks to the addition of a grab handle on the B-pillar (now standard on all double-cab Tritons), although the GLX still lacks a side step.
The GLX retains its heavy-duty six-leaf rear suspension and familiar 16-inch steel wheels, but all-terrain tyres replace the previously road-biased rubber after fleets complained they had to switch after taking delivery.
The GLX+ (and every model upwards) comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and digital radio, but there’s no built-in navigation, no CD player, and no buttons or dials. Instead, the main functions are controlled via the touchscreen or tabs on the steering wheel.
Furthermore, the GLX+ retains its cloth seat/vinyl floor combination, but it comes with more charging points than before. There are two USB ports and two 12V sockets up front, but still no charge points for the back seat.
The 16-inch alloys are carried over from the previous model, but are now wrapped in all-terrain rubber. The rear end now has six-leaf suspension rather than the previous five-leaf set-up yet payload has not increased. Mitsubishi says the six-leaf rear suspension is designed to keep the Triton more composed over longer distances when carrying heavier cargo, rather than increase the payload.
In fact, the payloads of all new Triton double-cabs have come down by between 30kg and 92kg depending on the model (see below) because of the increase in weight due to extra equipment. However, the payloads are still respectable versus most peers.
The GLX+ also gains an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and a colour display screen in the instrument cluster that was previously reserved for the GLS and Exceed.
Although it’s ambiguous on the Mitsubishi website, the GLX+ comes standard with autonomous emergency braking and lane-wander warning (although not lane-keeping – with automated steering input – as per the Ford Ranger XLT and Wildtrak).
The GLS brings even more tech. Beyond AEB and lane-wander warning, it gains blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert – the latter two being firsts among the mainstream double-cab ute class.
Revheads might recognise the large vertical paddle shifters borrowed from the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo that now come on the GLS and GLS Premium.
The GLS also gains front parking sensors (making it easier to wriggle into tight spots), and two USB ports for back seat passengers (in addition to two USBs and two 12V ports up front). The steering wheel and handbrake lever are leather-wrapped.
There is dual-zone air-conditioning for front seat occupants. While the GLS does not have rear air vents in the traditional sense, Mitsubishi has designed a clever roof-mounted module that draws cool air from the front of the cabin and distributes it to the back.
The biggest changes on the outside include large servings of chrome on the new shield grille and bumper, LED low and high beams, and 18-inch wheels and tyres (which increase ground clearance from 205mm to 220mm).
The flagship GLS Premium is distinguished externally by a standard nudge bar and tub liner.
Inside, the GLS Premium gains heated leather seats (though no cooling function) with electric adjustment for the driver, a 360-degree ‘bird’s-eye-view’ camera, push-button start and sensor key.
There’s no more power or torque from the single-turbo 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel (133kW/430Nm) and the six-speed manual remains the same on the models it’s available (all grades except the GLS Premium). The engine is still calibrated to Euro V emissions standards, which means there’s no need for AdBlue additives. For now.
The big change is the six-speed automatic (by Aisin), which replaces the previous five-speed auto and gives the Triton slightly better acceleration and, in theory, a marginal improvement in fuel economy at freeway speeds. However, the average fuel-consumption figure on the rating label has gone up, from 7.6L/100km to 8.6L/100km for the auto and from 7.2L/100km to 7.6L/100km for the manual.
The blunt surface area of the Triton’s new nose, more aggressive off-road tyres on the GLX, wider tyres on the GLS, and a slight increase in weight across the range due to extra equipment have all contributed to the less-flattering fuel economy numbers. We’ll do a more thorough check of real-world economy when we get behind the wheel for an extended test.
The suspension has been retuned to suit the new tyres: all-terrain rubber for the 16-inch GLX models, and wider rubber (265 up from 245) on the GLS models. Despite the changes, the Triton retains the tightest turning circle in the class: 11.8 metres versus 12.7 metres or more on most rivals.
Towing remains capped at 3100kg across the range, and the gross combination mass is still 5885kg.
Payloads have been trimmed as follows: GLX is 950kg for the manual and 945kg for the auto (down from 980kg previously), GLX+ is 956kg for the manual and 951kg for the auto (down from 985kg previously), GLS is 918kg for the manual and 912kg for the auto (down from 965kg previously), and the GLS Premium is 858kg (down from 950kg previously).
As before, GLX models can shift into 4WD on the fly up to 100km/h, but should only be driven in this mode on gravel, sand or slippery surfaces because, as with most ute rivals, it does not have a centre differential.
The GLS and newly named GLS Premium come with ‘Super Select’ with a centre differential that enables four-wheel drive to be used on sealed roads. It remains the only ute in its class with this flexibility – ideally this hardware would trickle down to other models.
Only the flagship GLS Premium gets an electronic rear differential lock, even though you could argue buyers of the cheaper Tritons might be more inclined to take them off-road and make more use of the heavy-duty hardware. Mitsubishi is considering whether it will make a rear diff lock available on cheaper models some time down the track, but nothing has been confirmed.
Both GLS models also gain hill descent control and four switchable off-road driving modes including gravel, mud/snow, sand and rock crawling.
To prevent unintended acceleration in car parks, the GLS models come with a “misacceleration mitigation” system, another first for the class. It uses the front and rear parking sensors to detect if the driver has suddenly floored the throttle accidentally. It won’t apply the brakes, but it briefly cuts engine power and flashes a warning to the driver.
Other welcome changes: the GLS models now get bigger front discs, up from 294mm in diameter (fitted previously, and to the current MY19 GLX Tritons) to 320mm diameter discs.
While the standard front brakes on GLX models have single-piston floating calipers, GLS models get twin-piston floating calipers. Drum brakes remain at the rear, as with the majority of utes in the class.
Here’s hoping the next generation of pick-ups move into the 21st
century with four-wheel discs, as per the Ford Ranger Raptor, VW Amarok TDV6 and, ahem, the Chinese LDV T60.
The Mitsubishi Triton earned five stars for safety when it was tested by ANCAP in March 2015. The core structure of the Triton remains the same and every model still comes with seven airbags, so it’s expected to offer the same level of protection in a crash as before.
However, the requirements for a five-star rating have become tougher. Only Triton models equipped with autonomous emergency braking and lane-departure warning would be eligible for a five-star score under the latest criteria.
A statement from ANCAP said: “To update the date stamp for the Triton (from 2015 to 2019), almost a full suite of tests would need to be completed on the base model, with AEB and lane-support functions necessary as standard equipment to be eligible for a five-star rating”.
Because the base Triton GLX double-cab does not come with AEB or lane-wander alert as standard (they’re an $800 option pack), it would not be eligible for five stars. Therefore, there are no plans to retest the Triton for now.
ANCAP says Mitsubishi “will need to publicise the 2015 date stamp when referencing its safety rating”.
The safety authority says an increasing number of government and business fleets not only enforce a five-star purchasing policy, but they’re also implementing ANCAP’s “fleet recommendation” to only purchase vehicles with a rating no older than three years. This would put the Triton and some other utes out of contention for some fleets.
A quick recap: the GLS and GLS Premium gain front and rear sensors, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and misacceleration mitigation at car park speeds – the latter a safety first for the class.
On the road
The previous Triton GLX was one of the more comfortable workhorses available, riding on road-biased 16-inch tyres with plenty of cushion. The problem was most fleet customers took the tyres off as soon as they took delivery, so Mitsubishi has now switched to all-terrain rubber.
So, it has lost a little of its car-like feeling in the steering, and the suspension is a touch busier now that the GLX+ comes with the six-leaf rear end that was previously exclusive to the base GLX.
The engine is untouched, but the six-speed auto gives it a bit of a help along and is a smooth operator.
The GLS Premium, now on 18-inch 265-wide rubber instead of 17-inch 245s, has a more plush ride than before. However, to be fair it’s not in the same league as the Ford Ranger and VW Amarok that, in my opinion, remain the benchmarks for the class.
I would also rank the HiLux SR on 17s and SR5 on 18s (post the April 2017 suspension update) as having the edge on the Triton in terms of on-road ride and handling.
But all that said, the Triton update is a fair result given the age of this chassis and the limitations of its geometry. The same small footprint that gives it an excellent turning circle means at times it doesn’t feel quite as planted as its larger rivals.
The GLS Premium tested on the media preview drive was comfortable at open road speeds, but ride comfort at low speeds was not as enjoyable. It may have been the conditions on the day, but either side of the Triton launch I had driven both the Amarok and revised Ranger, and I reckon they have a better breadth of comfort.
We’ll reserve final judgment until we can drive the new Triton on familiar roads, but first impressions are positive. Mitsubishi has clearly taken the chassis as far as it can in this guise.
The price has gone up across the range, but it still undercuts the competition, and in most cases has more equipment than its rivals for the same or less money.
My wish list: more power points in the GLX models, a digital speedo on all models, bigger brakes on the GLX models (not just on the GLS models), and make ‘Super Select’ and an electronic rear differential available on cheaper grades.
Mitsubishi also needs to do the right thing by customers and extend its capped-price service program to at least match the warranty. Ending price certainty after three years isn’t up to par, and also launches customers into a service pricing abyss at that point.
The Mitsubishi Triton remains an honest ute at an honest price. Little wonder it’s a favourite among private buyers.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling