There’s probably no need to fret about the Mitsubishi Triton’s future just yet, as it’s still holding third place on the 4x4 ute sales charts.
All plenty of pressure on the humble Triton.
In the case of the 2021 Mitsubishi Triton GLS 4x4, you’re looking at one step down from the flagship GSR. It occupies the same space as a HiLux SR5 or Ranger XLT, and is dressed up with the kind of chrome trim that speaks to a more traditional buyer base.
Pricing is normally set at $49,240 plus on-road costs for the GLS automatic. Right now, with a drive-away deal, that drops to $47,490 drive-away, or if you opt for the GLS Deluxe option pack (more on that in a sec) it rises to $50,740 drive-away.
That’s sharp alongside an auto Navara ST-X ($58,790 drive-away), but sharper still compared to the HiLux SR5 ($59,920 + ORCs) and the Ranger XLT 3.2 ($59,440 + ORCs). Not too surprising to see why the Triton is a popular option, though at $33,490 drive-away for an LDV T60 Luxe, the Triton’s hardly the most affordable option.
|2021 Mitsubishi Triton GLS 4x4|
|Engine||2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel|
|Power and torque||133kW at 3500rpm, 430Nm at 2500rpm|
|Drive type||Part-time 4x4, low-range transfer case|
|Fuel claim (combined)||8.6L/100km|
|Fuel use on test||10.2L/100km|
|ANCAP safety rating||Five stars (tested 2015)|
|Warranty||Five years/100,000km (standard warranty), up to 10 years/200,000km (conditional)|
|Main competitors||Nissan Navara, LDV T60, Toyota HiLux|
|Price as tested||$47,490 drive-away|
You’ll also take a small step down in overall performance by opting for the Triton. There’s been little change to the 2.4-litre turbo diesel engine over the last few years, so it sits at 133kW and 430Nm while most higher-priced rivals march towards 150kW and 500Nm.
By a similar measure, the Triton’s towing capacity is a little short of the 3.5-tonne segment average, and rated to tow up to 3.1 tonnes instead. The payload is still a solid 900kg, though.
What you’re getting with the Triton GLS is a ute that’s well dressed, well kitted, but not at the absolute bleeding edge. That might sound like faint praise, but for plenty of owners it’s exactly what they need.
So, the equipment list is well packed without overflowing. The appearance package is similar to the one-grade-down GLX-R with the same 18-inch alloy wheels and same chrome-accented bumper and grille, but more equipment inside.
GLS trinkets include keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, power-folding mirrors, steering wheel paddle shifters, LED headlights, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and premium cloth trim. Perhaps more usefully, there's a rear diff lock and Super Select 4x4, which allows the use of four-wheel drive on hard surfaces.
There’s some extra safety kit like blind-spot warning with lane-change assist, front park sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, auto high beam, and something called ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation – which helps prevent low-speed parking taps by cutting the accelerator if the car detects you're too close to an object.
That’s in addition to gear found in other variants, like lane-departure warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, cruise control with speed limiter, auto lights and wipers, a rear step bumper, rear privacy tint, and heated mirror glass.
While the ute tested here didn't include the GLS Deluxe pack, it adds leather seat trim, front seat heating, a powered driver's seat, and a 360-degree camera in addition to the standard reverse camera.
Because the bones of the Triton aren’t the freshest, and despite a restyle in 2019, the interior will be familiar to past Mitsubishi owners. It’s hard wearing, with no soft-touch plastics, but also a little behind in terms of overall presentation.
What’s there does work pretty well, though. The ergonomics are all fine, the steering wheel adjusts for tilt and reach (still not widespread across the ute segment), and there are ‘kinda’ rear air vents with a booster fan in the roof.
Rear seat passengers get USB charging, but seat space isn’t as wide or as long as some of the newer utes in the segment that have pushed out their width and wheelbases over the years.
While Mitsubishi’s ubiquitous 7.0-inch infotainment display lets you plug in a phone with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Bluetooth and digital radio, it lacks embedded navigation. It also doesn’t have enough backlighting punch for sunny days, leaving the screen dim and difficult to read at times.
Performance is best described as well rounded. With a light load on board, the engine works well with the six-speed auto and the Triton can run about town tidily. Add in a bigger payload and it can feel a bit more wrung-out.
Highway passing needs a bit of careful consideration, too. The refinement is fine for cruising and light-throttle acceleration, but dig in and the engine registers a pretty vocal and vibey protest right into the cabin.
That smaller footprint also rears its head when it comes to rough-road comfort. Get out of town where road surfaces deteriorate, and the Triton can seesaw a little instead of riding out bumps.
Far from rude and crude, but there’s always a hint of jittery nervousness from the ride calibration. If you’re using this one as a family bus, it may not provide the ultimate in relaxed touring.
Fuel consumption is officially rated at 8.6 litres per 100km, but lightly loaded with two up most of the time, and a split of highway and town running, we recorded 10.2L/100km.
|2021 Mitsubishi Triton GLS 4x4|
|Length / width / height||5305mm / 1815mm / 1795mm|
|Tow rating / payload||3100kg braked, 750kg unbraked / 900kg|
|Approach / departure / rampover (degrees)||31 / 23 / 25|
|Tub dimensions, length / width||1520mm / 1470mm (1085mm between arches)|
Mitsubishi’s ownership credentials have changed a few times over the last few years, but right now a current Triton carries 12-month/15,000km service intervals and capped-price servicing. Services are set at $399, $499, $499, $699 and $799 for the first five visits.
Capped pricing runs to 10 years and tops out at $999 for the eighth service, which may be one to budget for. The warranty is a standard five years or 100,000km, but Mitsubishi also offers a complimentary extended warranty up to 10 years or 200,000km on cars serviced on time and within its own authorised dealer network. Terms and conditions are tight on this, though, so it pays to check the finer details.
Safety is rated at five stars by ANCAP, but it’s an old rating (from 2015) and hasn’t been assessed for the effectiveness of its added crash-avoidance features. As ANCAP criteria are made stricter every two years, the five-star result isn't directly comparable with utes wearing a later test stamp.
In many ways, the Triton makes sense. It’s a known and fairly reliable mechanical package, but has had its looks and features updated over the years. Its value is much stronger than the best sellers in the segment, but it avoids being simply cheap.
Buyer patterns are intriguing – often when faced with cheap, mid-priced and expensive options, it’s conditioned into us to avoid the cheapest option and be wary of the more expensive one.
If the Triton is the mid-priced option between cheap utes like those from GWM and LDV, and expensive ones from Ford and Toyota, it should speak to the hearts and wallets of conservative buyers looking for strong value.
It may not lead the pack for technology. It may not be the most powerful, or premium, but it does fare well when it comes to safety spec, and its off-road credentials are more than enough for weekend getaways and family camping and fishing trips.
With other mid-pack utes like the Isuzu D-Max starting to look upmarket, Mitsubishi’s hold out behind the head of the pack (for now) could be an ideal fit.