Update one – say hi to the Triton
Km driven 543km
Average fuel use 11.53L/100km
It’s been a while for me between long-termers, if I’m honest. My last rig was the most competent, if a little expensive, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, which served our family of four/occasionally five when the eldest child comes home very well.
This time around, though, I’ve gone a vastly different direction. This is Mitsubishi’s Triton GLS dual-cab 4x4 ute, which sits plumb in the middle of the brand’s local line-up and which makes up a good proportion of sales for the popular dual-cab every month.
Day one - furniture removal
Like all Triton dual-cab 4x4s, it runs a 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that uses a six-speed automatic transmission to send drive to one or both ends as required. It makes 133kW of power and 430Nm of torque, and should return a claimed 8.6L/100km on the combined fuel economy cycle.
The 1990kg Triton will also tow 3100kg – less than its rivals, but there’s a reason for that which we’ll get to in a future update – while lugging 795kg of payload (which includes you, your family and all your stuff). Without a trailer, the Triton can lug a claimed payload of 910kg.
It’s currently on dealer lots in NSW for $46,290 drive-away (January 2020), which nets you a pretty decent amount of kit for the money.
Of course, it kind of has to… the battleground for sub-$50,000 dual-cabs is bruising and bloody for the main protagonists, so spec lists have to be on point in order to sway the swinging punter.
Included in the price are a rear differential lock and Mitsubishi’s clever Super Select II 4x4 system that allows on-the-fly switching between rear-drive, high range 4x4 and low-range 4x4 at the twist of a dial.
A brace of LED exterior lighting is also included, with LED DRLs, headlights and taillights a part of the mix.
The steering wheel and gear shifter are leather-wrapped, the floor is carpeted, and rear-seat passengers get a USB charging point and oddly shaped but effective air vents in the roof.
The rear vents are controlled from this roof-mounted panel
The GLS also comes with high-grade cloth upholstery, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control and a raft of safety tech that includes AEB, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, trailer sway control and even accidental acceleration mitigation. This, for me, makes for a pretty decent set of kit.
It misses out on a few things; electric driver’s seat adjustment for one, while butt warmers are a personal favourite – but I’d need to opt for the GLS Premium, which nets leather upholstery with electric driver’s seat adjustment and heated front seats, a sports bar for the rear tray and a 360-degree camera for easier parking.
For me, though, I’d pocket the required $4000 uptick and deal with life sans a warm backside; I’m not a big fan of sports bars in ute trays, either, so I won’t miss that.
Our rig comes equipped with a few extras, including a $4200-odd bullbar with an additional pair of halogen driving lights, a $708 LED lightbar and a $1200-odd towbar kit. An old-school tonneau cover is included, but the tray has no liner.
The towball cap is just five bucks from a dealer!
All told, the GLS compares pretty well in the value stakes when you look at its two key rivals in terms of specs and price, the Toyota HiLux SR and the Ford Ranger XL (equipped with the brand’s smaller, older 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine).
Steel wheels and entry-level cloth interiors are just the start, with neither offering much above AEB in the way of active safety mods, nor niceties like LED lighting or rear USB chargers.
There are other competitors in the space, notably the Ssangyong Musso XLV Ultimate Plus, which sells for a shade under $44,000 before on-roads, while the $46,900 Isuzu LS-M dual-cab ute would be only marginally more expensive once an automatic transmission has been added.
I’ve run one tank of diesel through the Triton – that’s 65 litres – and first impressions are mostly good. It’s taken a bit of time to get the seat position just so – a lack of meaningful reach adjust on the steering column is a small frustration, but I’ve found a decent compromise.
I love the deep centre console bin, and the 7.0-inch screen, while a bit smaller than the average nowadays, works well for my preferred Apple CarPlay set-up.
My two live-in kids – Miss 13 and Master 17, both tall children – are happy enough in the rear, where they have their own fan control to use and a pair of USB ports to not squabble over. When the eldest child lobs home, they can all fit across the rear bench, but not for long.
The 2.4-litre diesel is gruffish, but its magic trick is an almost silent idle when off-throttle. It actually feels like a sailing mode in a more expensive car. Our first economy figure is higher than the claim by some distance – 11.5 versus 8.6 – so we’ll keep an eye on that.
Real fuel figures and dash-indicated figures are impressively close
So what are our plans for the Triton? Well, it’s going to get pressed into largely civilian duties, plying its trade over my 145km-return daily commute, helping to ferry mountain bikes to fun places, moving our increasingly more useful race car to various events (and probably more workshops) and – hopefully – take a couple of weekend jaunts away to places that regular people can take their near-stock dual-cabs without damage to the car or themselves.
The first thing I do when I get a new long-termer
I tweak the stereo. I’ve done in every car I’ve driven over 20 years of reviewing cars and I’ll do it til my last day. Bass up, midrange up a bit less and treble equal or a mite higher.
Balance between front and back? About centre. Sound stages and all that guff? I turn ‘em off, usually. The Triton runs a six-speaker system with digital radio and smartphone connectivity, and it sounds pretty handsome once my tweaks are applied.