Applying constant tweaks and updates seems to be the current trend for ute manufacturers in Australia, with a seemingly endless stream of new models and technologies finding their way into this ever-popular segment. Along with the more expensive GSR, the value-focussed Mitsubishi Triton can now be had in a new mid-range GLX-R flavour.
Value is still a starring role for the 2020 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R: Mitsubishi advertises a $39,990 drive-away price for the manual, and $42,490 drive-away for the automatic GLX-R, both of which build some extra specification into the GLX+ grade.
Much of the tweaking comes to the outside, with 18-inch alloy wheels replacing the 16-inch alloys on the GLX+, and a smattering of chrome bits around the snout. Tyres are a 265/60R18 Bridgestone Dueler highway terrain.
The interior is mostly the same: cloth trim and manual seats being the order of the day. There’s still nothing wrong with it in terms of comfort and practicality, and the premium ‘leather’ materials on the steering wheel and low-slung gear shifter help elevate things a little. Throw on a set of seat covers, and you'll save the fabric from the stains and tears of hard use.
The new 7.0-inch infotainment display has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and digital radio, but no native navigation. On the plus side, it’s responsive and easy to use, working without issue during our testing. Naturally, it’s stratospheres better than the very basic and feature-lacking unit in GLX specification. It would be better with a physical volume knob, however.
There’s also a small multifunction display in front of the driver, which gives a few basic readouts like fuel range and economy, but it’s missing out on a digital speedometer.
While the raft of blank buttons might be an unsightly reminder you didn't buy top specification, 4WDers will see them as fertile ground for their own additions and modifications like lights, auxiliary power and locking diffs.
The Triton's second row is comfortable without being too spacious, there's a single 12V power socket and ISOFIX points, along with cupholders in the fold-down middle armrest.
This spec has the same single-zone climate control as the GLX+, along with the roof-mounted air circulator. This doesn’t pump its own warm or cool air, but does work well for getting air moving around in the second row with adjustable vents. It’s also not too noisy in operation.
The engine isn’t too raucous when working, either. It’s a now familiar 2.4-litre turbo diesel that makes 133kW at 3500rpm and 430Nm at 2500rpm; figures that don’t change between the six-speed automatic or manual transmissions options. The price does, however. Mitsubishi lists the automatic transmission with a $2500 premium.
Our tester has the automatic gearbox, and it’s a solid and painless performer. While there are more powerful utes with more gearbox ratios to be had, the Triton doesn’t ever feel lacking in the driveline department. It’s surprisingly flexible and refined, as well, only emitting a bit of clatter when working hard.
It's a decent fuel miser in terms of fuel economy, netting us 8.7 litres per 100km on highway-heavy runs. Throw in some lower-speed stuff in the bush and around town, and that figure sat just north of the 10.0L/100km mark. That compares to the 8.6L/100km Mitsubishi claims in the combined cycle and 9.9L/100km on the urban run.
This spec level of Triton doesn’t get the unique and useable Super Select centre differential, which gives you the ability to run 2WD and 4WD on the bitumen. Instead, it’s a more run-of-the-mill part-time 4x4 system with shift-on-the-fly engagement and a low-range transfer case.
Servicing costs don’t change, despite the additional oily gear sets in the more sophisticated driveline. The Mitsubishi capped-price servicing program only runs for three years and 45,000km, with $299 being the capped price listed for all diesel-powered Tritons. From there, the costs of servicing are uncapped and will vary between dealerships and work required.
Mitsubishi's warranty offering for the Triton is amongst the best in class: seven years and 150,000km, which is more than the rest of Mitsubishi's range (and most of the competition).
For off-roading, ground clearance is on the lower side compared to other dual-cab utes, especially around the front bash plates and low-mounted vibration dampener hanging off the front of the rear differential.
The Triton's ground clearance is listed at 220mm, but that doesn't tell the whole story. The side steps, otherwise handy for day-to-day life, don’t help your rampover angle (25 degrees) much.
Combine that with good (but not great) off-road traction-control tuning, and you have an off-road 4WD that is decent enough off-road in its stock form. It’s not at the top of the class, however, and is easily improved through traction aids, tyres and increasing the available clearance.
The departure angle (23 degrees), which is made worse by a low-hanging towbar (if fitted), will likely be your first limitation off-road.
Low-range gearing comes via 2.566:1 reduction in the transfer case, which adds to an overall crawl ratio of 39.46. That's around the average, and good enough for most off-road action the Triton is likely to see.
And while the shortish wheelbase nets you a class-leading 11.8m turning circle, you’ll notice the majority of the Triton’s load bed is behind the rear axle. This isn’t great for a working ute, and puts the suspension and chassis under duress through the weight’s cantilevering effect.
It’s something you can feel behind the wheel when the Triton is loaded up. And while the Triton did get bigger shock absorbers recently, they’re still what I would call small for a dual-cab that’s destined for four-wheel driving, towing and hauling (especially with all of that rear overhang).
The tub measures in at 1520mm long and 1470mm wide. There are six tie-down points smattered about the tub, but no 12V outlet. More importantly, there is no tub liner either. So, budget for one of those before you put this Triton to work (and smash all of the paint).
The Triton's ride is typical of the class: it's firm and jittery, especially from the rear when unladen. It's not the best in this regard, nor is it the worst in the segment. While you could condemn that ute-like firmness, the Triton's comfortable enough for a 4x4 ute in my opinion.
In this GLX-R specification, the Triton continues to play to its strengths of strong value and solid performance across the board. Although it’s not the strongest in any one discipline compared to its rivals, it doesn’t really put a foot wrong at the same time.
Throw in some rolling updates like advanced safety and smartphone mirroring, and the Triton remains competitive in terms of technology and spec.
4WDers would still prefer the GLX+ over the GLX-R. It’s cheaper, sports a locking rear differential as standard, and I haven't come across any kind of chrome trim that improves capability or performance so far. Also, 16-inch alloy wheels give you more sidewall for airing down off-road.
This GLX-R works well for those who want a bit of that exterior bling, but without the corresponding price tag of high-spec models. The basic interior is comfortable and practical, and will suit tradies and 4WDers alike.
And unlike some of the competition, this Triton has the important additions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with autonomous emergency braking.