The Mitsubishi Triton GSR is the new flagship of the brand’s ute range.
Although the GSR badge was previously applied to a rally-bred, high-performance, turbocharged all-wheel-drive Lancer sedan in the 1990s, more recently it has been used on the Mitsubishi ASX to distinguish the top model grade of the brand’s small SUV.
In the case of the Mitsubishi Triton, the GSR badge doesn’t bring any more power, torque or capability, but it does deliver a more sporty appearance.
The Mitsubishi Triton GSR effectively replaces the GLS Premium as the top of the range.
The GSR is distinguished by a bold black grille rather than chrome, black alloys instead of a machined finish, black mirror scalps, black door handles, a black roof, black side steps, a black sports bar and a black rear bumper.
A tub liner and six tie-down points are standard, but a tow bar remains optional, even though a tow bar is standard on the top model grades of the top three model grades of the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux. Towing capacity remains 3100kg – most rivals are rated at 3500kg.
The suspension, engine, transmission and wheel design remain unchanged from the Mitsubishi Triton GLS Premium, but the company is banking on this model appealing to private buyers with its sporty appearance.
Cleverly, Mitsubishi has hedged its bets and has created three versions of the GSR, so the one nameplate can do its best to cover the Ford Ranger XLT and Wildtrak model grades, or Toyota HiLux SR5 and Rogue.
Essentially, the differences extend to the offering on the rear ute tray.
The Mitsubishi Triton GSR automatic (manual is not available on this model grade) starts from $54,990 drive-away with a soft tonneau cover, and $56,990 drive-away for the same car with either a hard lid or a roller shutter cover. Oddly, Mitsubishi lists the same 855kg payload for all three versions of the GSR despite the extra weight of the hard lid and roller shutter cover.
|2021 Mitsubishi Triton GSR|
|Engine configuration||2.4-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder|
|Power and torque||133kW @ 3500rpm, 430Nm @ 2500rpm|
|Drive type||Super Select II four-wheel drive|
|Fuel claim combined (ADR)||8.6L/100km|
|Fuel use on test||10.0L/100km|
|ANCAP safety rating||5 (tested 2015)|
|Main competitors||Nissan Navara, LDV T60, Ssangyong Musso|
|Price as tested (drive-away)||$54,990|
|Length / width / height (mm)||5305 / 1815 / 1795|
|Tow rating braked, unbraked / payload (kg)||3100 / 750 / 855|
|Approach / departure angles / ramp over (degrees)||31 / 23 / 25|
|Tub length / height / width / between wheel arches (mm)||1520 / 475 / 1470 / 1085|
All Mitsubishi Triton GSR variants come with standard safety kit such as seven airbags, a 360-degree camera, autonomous emergency braking, lane-wander warning, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
It has a five-star safety score from 2015; however, the Triton would likely not earn top marks if tested to today's tougher criteria.
However, the Triton still lacks radar cruise control and speed sign recognition available on the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux. It also lacks lane-keeping tech that is now standard on the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50.
Creature comforts include dual-zone air-conditioning with a roof-mounted fan to recirculate cool air to the back seat, a sensor key with push-button start, and Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital radio and AM/FM.
However, the infotainment system lacks volume and tuning dials (it has push-button, touchscreen, or steering wheel controls only), and the Bluetooth audio comes out of the audio speaker in the front passenger footwell.
The Mitsubishi Triton is also the only ute in this class without a digital speed display, even though it has an information screen between the analogue dials.
The interior has two USB charge ports and two 12V sockets up front, plus two USB ports for back seat passengers.
The driver’s seat has electric adjustment, the side mirrors fold at the press of a button, and the rear windows are factory-tinted.
The Triton is one of the few utes with height- and reach-adjustable steering. The power windows only have one-touch auto-up function on the driver’s door. The Toyota HiLux and VW Amarok have four express-up power windows.
Unlike lower model grades in the Triton range, the GSR has Bi-LED headlights (low and high beam) that have a good spread of coverage, though are not quite as good as the benchmark lights in the new Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50.
Service intervals are 12 months/15,000km (whichever comes first), which is the industry average. The Toyota HiLux requires more frequent visits for routine servicing (six months/10,000km).
Capped-price servicing has recently been increased to 10 years (price certainty previously ran out after just three years). The cost of routine maintenance for the first five visits is $2595, which is more than the Ford Ranger ($1976) but less than the Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50 (approximately $3000) and Toyota HiLux ($3537) over a five-year period.
The warranty on the Triton had been seven years/150,000km since late 2018 (previously it was five years/unlimited kilometres). However, from October 2020 Mitsubishi switched to a five/five warranty, which can be stretched up to 10 years if customers obey certain conditions.
All customers receive a five-year/100,000km warranty regardless of where the vehicle is serviced. However, if the vehicle has only ever been serviced inside the dealer network from day one, the warranty coverage doubles to 10 years/200,000km.
Normally, customers are free to have their car serviced by a licensed mechanic. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says it is reviewing Mitsubishi's extended warranty conditions and is yet to make a determination.
In the meantime, Mitsubishi is offering a 10-year warranty in bold type in its ads. You need to read the fine print to understand it is in fact a five/five warranty.
On the road
This generation of Mitsubishi Triton is now about five years old, and it received this shared facelift about 18 months ago.
However, it’s worth noting the Mitsubishi Triton that arrived in 2015 shared much of its DNA and core chassis with the previous generation. So, in essence, the Triton’s bones are now close to a decade-and-a-half old.
Mitsubishi did make extensive and worthwhile changes to the Triton in 2015 to improve driver comfort and ergonomics, strengthen the chassis, and improve the efficiency of the drivetrain, which switched from a five-speed to six-speed auto 18 months ago.
However, even with that in mind, the Mitsubishi Triton is starting to show its age, and it feels old and agricultural from behind the wheel against newer competition.
Traditional ute buyers might want to tell us to toughen up, and we understand their point of view. However, today’s utes no longer need to drive like a truck, and plenty of the Triton’s rivals drive like a well-sorted SUV.
Given the family focus and shift in buyer type of modern utes, we think it’s a fair criticism and would like Mitsubishi to do more to address the overall comfort, capability and confidence in corners of the Triton. It sits on a short and narrow footprint, and can feel a bit topsy-turvy in tight turns.
It has excellent braking performance in the dry (in part due to its light weight), but wet-weather braking was by far the worst when we compared the Triton to its contemporaries. All utes should tread with caution on wet sealed roads, but the Mitsubishi Triton needs particular care and patience, even with stability control as a backup.
At least the Triton has the advantage of Super Select II; a switchable four-wheel-drive system that can be used on sealed roads. No other utes on sale in Australia have this feature. In most cases, their four-wheel-drive systems can only be used on gravel, snow or sand – otherwise the driveline can bind up. The VW Amarok TDV6 has constant all-wheel drive.
Despite the improvements introduced in 2015, the Triton’s driving position is less comfortable than, say, the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, and VW Amarok.
The 2.4-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder (133kW/430Nm) lacks power and torque versus its peers, but it's a willing operator and works well with the six-speed auto. However, it’s now on the noisy side compared to the current crop of utes.
On test, we averaged 10.0L/100km with a mix of suburban and highway driving, which is par for the class. With a load or when towing, this number can climb or even double.
Overall, the Mitsubishi Triton is a safe bet when it comes to reliability and having the basics covered, with a few mod-cons thrown in.
This particular model has a $10,000 or so price advantage on the models it aims to compete against (Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain, Toyota HiLux SR5 and Ford Ranger Wildtrak).
So, the Triton remains a compelling value proposition – especially in the $35,000 to $45,000 price bracket – however, it’s becoming apparent Mitsubishi has extracted as much as it can from this generation of Triton.
No doubt, a new model is under development, but the current Triton may need to solider on for at least a couple of years yet.