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Beefed-up styling, all the chrome you could ask for, and a surprisingly pocket-friendly price tag are the headline acts for the recently updated 2019 Mitsubishi Triton GLS.
Sitting one step down from the range-topping GLS Premium, the ‘regular GLS’ holds onto the flagship’s styling upgrades (apart from the deletion of a front nudge bar), and packs in a decent amount of kit for the dual-cab segment from a pocket-friendly $46,990.
While the looks have changed substantially, beneath the fresh sheetmetal front and rear the Triton carries over most of its frame, suspension and mechanical components. That means it sits a little behind some of the class leaders for outputs from its 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.
At 133kW and 430Nm outputs are still decent, though peak torque arrives at a highish (for a workhorse) 2500rpm, meaning there’s a moment of hesitation from the engine before it hits its stride. A new six-speed automatic takes the place of the previous five-speed unit and revised gearing helps alleviate this a little.
Despite older oily bits underneath, the Triton still manages to be one of the more refined dual-cabs in its class. At idle or cruising speeds, there’s a smooth and quiet calm to the engine from inside the cabin, but push it hard when accelerating and you’ll still get plenty of tell-tale diesel clatter.
Like the flagship Premium, the regular GLS also scores a full suite of safety tech including seven airbags, two rear ISOFIX child seat mounts, and an impressive selection of active technologies including lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Triton is also one of the few utes with autonomous emergency braking including pedestrian detection (Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Ssangyong Musso and Ford Ranger also include the tech), and is the only ute to feature a Mitsubishi-developed system called Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation, which can limit throttle inputs at speeds below 10km/h if its sensors detect nearby objects.
On the comfort and convenience front, the GLS is loaded up with side steps, privacy-tinted rear glass, power-folding mirrors, carpet flooring, leather coverings for the steering wheel, gear selector and handbrake, auto wipers and headlights, auto-dimming interior mirror, and cruise control with speed limiter.
In the cabin there are cloth seats, dual-zone climate control and an odd little “air circulator” in the roof – essentially a booster fan that draws air from the front of the cabin and redistributes it to the rear. This takes the place of regular rear seat air outlets, but seems to complicate things a little, along with adding to in-cabin noise when it’s running.
No variants of the updated Triton range feature built-in satellite navigation, instead relying on a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility and pre-loaded with AM/FM/DAB+ radio, Bluetooth connectivity, HDMI and USB inputs, and six-speaker audio.
It’s a decent enough system, the proprietary side of things is perhaps not the simplest to use until you become familiar with it, but by far ahead of the out-of-date systems offered in a Toyota HiLux or Mazda BT-50.
Overall, you’re not missing much, though the GLS Premium adds leather seat trim, a 360-degree camera system and keyless entry with push-button start if you’re looking for more. Unfortunately, and minor as it might seem, Mitsubishi still hasn’t included a digital speedo on any Triton variant – which is almost essential in speed-limit-obsessed states of Australia.
From inside the cabin, the GLS doesn’t exactly overwhelm with its premiumness. The interior design is largely carried over from before with some very minor colour and trim differences (like new padded sections on the side of the centre console).
You get sturdy and robust plastics on the dash and doors. This Triton doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not, and there are hardworking origins on show – part of the reason Mitsubishi is able to keep the price down compared to some competitors.
Width in the cabin is a little narrow, too. If you’re carrying three in the rear, your passengers will no doubt notice, but with one less in the rear things should be fine.
The driver gets a tilt- and reach-adjustable steering column, which is something that still continues to be a rarity in the segment. Instruments are clear but only basic, and a full complement of steering wheel buttons for audio and cruise control put everything at easy reach.
Take to the road and the Triton provides what can best be described as a balanced approach to being a ute. The unladen ride betrays load-carrying ability by jiggling over smaller road obstacles, but becomes much more settled with 100 or 200kg of gear in the tray.
Mitsubishi has left most of the double-wishbone independent front and leaf-spring rigid-axle rear suspension system unchanged, though larger-diameter rear dampers are now used in an attempt to bring greater control to the rear.
The steering remains hydraulic and brings with it a touch more heft than you might find in other utes at lower speeds. It’s no wandering toddler at highway speeds as a result, too, with a solid and stable feel as speeds rise.
Performance doesn’t take a step up over the previous Triton with unchanged outputs from before. Amongst the four-cylinder ute crowd, 133kW and 430Nm are fair figures, though the Triton asks for some time to build revs and perform at its strongest.
Fuel consumption carries an official 8.6 litres per 100km rating, but on test that worked up to 10.2L/100km split evenly between highway and city driving.
As an ace up its sleeve, the Triton GLS’s Super Select four-wheel-drive system allows for four-wheel drive to be used on sealed surfaces with an ‘in between’ setting in addition to the usual on-road two-wheel-drive high, off-road four-wheel-drive high and four-wheel-drive low modes.
Towing capacity at 3100kg is behind the pack with most utes laying claim to 3500kg capacities, though a payload of 900kg is on the money for high-spec dual-cabs. The Triton also claims a GCM of 5885kg, meaning it's possible for the 2000kg kerb weight GLS to carry almost its entire payload and tow capacity legally.
Mitsubishi’s standard warranty covers the Triton for five years or 150,000km (whichever comes first), but right now a seven-year/150,000km warranty is being offered on select models, while capped-price servicing only covers the first three dealer visits at 12-month/15,000km intervals each priced at $299 per visit.
That’s a reasonable cost, and the sharp $897 over three years even undercuts last year’s model (previously $1510 over three years), however further clarity with a longer capped-price term wouldn’t go astray.
At the business end, GLS models include a standard plastic tub and tailgate liner, alloy sports bar and six internal tie-down points. The load area offers 1520mm of length and up to 1470mm of width at its widest point (or down to 1085mm between the wheel arches), with a 475mm-deep tub.
While some up-spec utes now include a tonneau or roller cover as standard, Mitsubishi keeps these on the accessory list, with a soft cover or a choice of plastic or aluminium hard covers available at extra cost.
Even though pricing for the 2019 Triton may have risen compared to the model before it, Mitsubishi has not only kept its value stance, but added in important safety equipment that’s almost essential in any contemporary product.
The GLS offers more equipment than most other sub-$50K utes, mixed with a little less towing capacity, but comes out with a dual-cab that’s sure to appeal to plenty of families, tradies, grey nomads and adventurers alike.
Listen to more audio of the 2019 Mitsubishi Triton below