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Mitsubishi Triton GL

 

More grunt and a bigger load tray make the new Mitsubishi Triton the perfect workhorse

‘Just keep away from anywhere near that fence line’ seems like simple enough instructions, but I never was one for listening to the old man. That was mistake number one. Thinking said fence line would be ideal for backdrop for a photo was mistake number two.

Getting well and truly stuck in Mitsubishi’s new club cab Triton may not have been planned, but it’s a great learning curve. Aside from learning exactly how passionate my father is about his top paddock, verbalised to me in a series of colourful four-lettered words, I also gained a lot of insight into the Triton’s four wheel drive capabilities.

If you haven’t worked out club cab is Mitsi’s term for two doors, four seats. King cab, crew cab, extra cab, call it what you will it’s bias toward carrying capacity rather than occupant space over a full double cab is a popular arrangement for farming / forestry work and is available as a cab chassis starting at $42,990 or well side at $43,990.

At the heart of the Triton’s drive train is a 2.5 litre diesel engine and it’s every bit up for the tough jobs. It outputs a healthy 133kW of power @ 4000rpm, on paper that’s certainly up there in terms of muscle, but if you need more a more tangible measuring stick putting your foot down will tell you everything you need to know. The high / low ratio gear lever arches toward your leg as the turbo spools and 407Nm of torque overcomes the grip of the rear wheels even on dry tar seal. Great when you genuinely need all that grunt, highly entertaining when you just want to play silly buggers.

It’s mated in our tester’s case to five speed manual box, naturally with a 2WD high, 4WD high and 4WD low range transfer case and drives running through a electronically lockable rear differential with 3.69 ratio. That’s a little lower than the more highly appointed double cabs in the Triton range, but delivers overall better traction when things get slippery.

Before getting bogged, obviously, the club cab managed all I could throw at it. The Hilux-beating 32.7 degree approach angle and the Triton’s inherently high-riding chassis made for fairly trouble-free climbing. Departure angle is 24 degrees, not quite as good as others in the segment; I found the rear overhang hooked up on the odd occasion.

The 205 R16 tyres are probably not the best tyres for regular dirt work, clearly engineered more for all-round usability, including on-road refinement; the small tread blocks and channels weren’t much use as I hit the soft stuff. To be fair, I think most utes in the class would have come, er, unstuck in the same situation on their factory rubber, but I wonder if some solid mud-grippers would’ve got me out unaided.

Essential standard kit in these conditions is the lockable rear diff, which works via a switch that – at speeds below 12km/h - engages an electromagnetic clutch to lock the rear axle. The amount of additional drive it provides, even in thick mud, is deeply impressive. On gradients where four wheel drive isn’t quite required, switch the locker on and the back end turns in unison for impressive traction.

It’s no slouch in the carrying ability, the 2010 facelift of the Triton brought with it a larger and deeper tray across board, and the club cab features a handy cavity 1805mm in length, 1407mm wide, 1085 of that is between the wheel arches for larger items and it’s 460mm deep. The payload is above average at 1060kg so all in all the practicality on the farm or trade works out to be among the best in class.

Additionally, you have that space behind the front seats, it carries people as well, but you’d hardly call the fold down rear squabs comfortable. Nice to have the option to take kids etc to town, but it’s really only if you have to.

Of course, the Triton needs to drive on road too, and it does this well. The ride is supple enough to be comfortable on the long haul and that combination of strong, low down pulling power, well ratio’ed gearing and wishbone front end makes for a fun drive. The turn-in is quick for a ute and even at speed handling remains predictable.

Meanwhile you have humble, but acceptable levels of comfort with sports seating and air conditioning, ideally side airbags would also be equipped to up occupant safety as these important items are becoming more prevalent in the market. Be that as it may, in club cab specification the Triton is an ideal piece of farm machinery that suitably undercuts the big guns in price. But then it has to bring its ‘A’ game. By year’s end the Triton will face some even more fierce competition in a wave of new competitor product including the anticipated new Hilux, BT-50 and Ranger models.

Getting horrendously stuck is more of an indictment on my abilities (or lack thereof) than the big red beast’s, it may have needed a little nudge but up to its nuts in mud the Triton never called it quits. In fact it really did everything it was asked to do. The old man wishes he could say the same about me.

See the Mitsubishi Triton for sale.

Compare the Mitsubishi Triton range here.


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