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Mitsubishi Triton

 

Mitsubishi’s Triton has received some significant enhancements for 2010. Thank goodness...

The previous model was a bit undercooked for the discerning rural buyer, small tray, oddball curvy looks, middle of the road engine...all in all, too bloody soft. And despite some popularity among forestry fleets, it’s fair to say the Triton didn’t set the light commercial sector alight.

So, here’s the new one. What’s changed?

Alright, it still looks fairly much the same; that stylised nose remains, albeit having a few tweaks to the grill, bumper and fog lamps and while those swoopy lines that form the well-side tray have been straightened out somewhat, the Triton isn’t the toughest looking rig going. But don’t let the looks fool you, Mitsubishi has listened to customer feedback and has made some worthwhile improvements where it matters most.

With modern engine technology as it is these days, more grunt doesn’t always mean you require more capacity. So, the 2010 Triton’s engine has shrunk by 500cc, now just a 2.5 litre diesel donk, but power and torque on four-wheel drive versions have increased by 13kW and 54Nm respectively.

Now with 133kW @ 4000rpm and 407Nm of torque @ 2000rpm, Mitsi’s improvements under the bonnet are enough to out-power the stump-pulling performance of the other 2.5 litre ute in the category, Nissan’s ‘well-hard’ Navara STX. Who’s the softy now?

The numbers stack up on the road too. The typical wave of torque exhibited by your average diesel ute doesn’t come all at once like we’ve come to expect from larger capacity engines. Instead the turbo’s boost pressure comes in more gradually, thanks to the addition of a variable geometry turbo. Acceleration is smoother and the turbo continues to deliver right into the higher end of the rev range.

On top of the enhanced hairdryer, there’s also a better combustion chamber design and injectors which all go toward extracting impressive performance on and off road from the engine. While also reducing your fuel bill. Average economy for our manual 4x4 GLX double cab tester is 8.1 l/100kms. Petrol engines? They’re sooo 2009. It’s diesel all the way for 2010 Tritons.

Towing capability is up also with the single cab/chassis 4x4 variants now capable of matching the Navara’s 3000kg braked towing weight. Disappointingly though, the Triton double cabs fall short and are restricted to just 2700kg braked.

You can select the GLX with either the five-speed manual we tooled around in, or a five speed auto – with reduced torque output of 356Nm. Despite the auto’s deficit in pulling power it might’ve be a benefit on some hillier topography as the manual’s clutch pedal is light and gauging the take-up point can be difficult.

The ground we trialled our Triton tester on hadn’t seen much precipitation this summer, so the firmly packed soil was no match for the excellent 4x4 drive train and the Hilux-beating 32.7 degree approach, 26.3 ramp over and 20.7 departure angles. None of the Triton’s bodywork left behind when navigating steeper inclines or ditches. That high ground clearance does have some effect on driver comfort however and the high floor pan makes an ideal driving position difficult to achieve.

The turning circle receives top marks, but the rack ratio remains a bit laborious in the car park at 4.5 turns lock to lock and you’ll appreciate the high riding, heavy duty suspension for farm work but the Triton gives away some refinement and road holding to the Mazda / Ford alternative.

The tray is an improved 1505mm (L) x 1470mm (W) with 1085mm of space between the rear wheel arches; it’s deeper too at 460mm. It’s a welcome increase, but numbers don’t lie and the tray dimensions are still slightly behind rivals.

Interior specification and safety features go some way to compensate though and are Triton’s strongest point of difference within the light commercial sector.

As with any ute, the farm grade version is fairly bare bones but it’s nice to see steering wheel operated cruise control standard on GLX (and above) models and a Bluetooth hands-free phone option. More importantly, safety specification is class leading with lap-sash seatbelts in all seating positions and electronic stability standard starting with the GLX along with front, side and curtain airbags.

No other light commercial utes can offer this level of passenger safety and while it’s easy to write this off as unnecessary equipment for the farm, you really shouldn’t. If you use the farm hack to take the family to town, can you really afford to discount the relevance of these features?

As an outright piece of farm equipment, the 2010 Triton’s got its work cut out for it, but with a stronger focus on passenger features this GLX version makes for an excellent middle ground between workhorse and road-going family wagon.

See new and used Mitsubishi Triton for sale.



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