The bargain dual-cab ute that’s willing and able
WHEN you’re a ute owner, things get done.
Within hours of getting behind the wheel of Mitsubishi’s Triton GLS, one couch was moved. Then a desk, filing cabinet, chair, followed by a cross-trainer.
There’s good reason why dual cabs have become commonplace around Australian households.
Toyota’s HiLux has held the nation’s top selling mantle for the past four years with the Ford Ranger snapping at its heels. Typically higher dual-cab prices mean both are out of reach for many, while Mitsubishi’s five-seater workhorse appeals with prices starting from about $35,990.
The instant asset write-off makes purchases before June 30 even more appealing for business owners, but the current COVID-19 restrictions add further fuel to the ute fire. Given overseas and even interstate travel looks dicey in the short-term, there is no better time to explore our own backyard.
We’ve stepped into the GLS variant, which starts from $43,790 drive-away with a manual.
Base variants are bereft of alloy wheels and some extra style. GLS models are where the specification begins to gain the best creature comforts.
Currently there is a drive-away offer of $44,790 with an automatic transmission.
For the investment it comes with 18-inch alloys, seven-inch touchscreen featuring smartphone mirroring apps Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, side steps, rear diff lock for extra traction, keyless entry with push button start and dual-zone aircon.
White and red are the only two external colours complimentary, silver, blue, grey and black cost an extra $740, while the special diamond white is $940.
Warranty coverage is seven years or 150,000km.
The first three services are capped at $299, and maintenance is due annually or every 15,000km. Get in before June 30 and the dealer may throw those first three in as part of the deal.
Among the first utes to raise the safety bar, the Triton has a five-star safety rating but that was awarded five years ago and the criteria has become more demanding.
Still, Mitsubishi upped its game two years ago and the GLS comes autonomous braking, which can slam on the anchors if the driver doesn’t react quick enough to a frontal collision (it detects pedestrians, too), along with a blind spot and lane change warning system.
Measuring more than 5.3m, the front and rear parking sensors as well as a reversing camera are vital for successfully navigating your way through suburban car parks. Rear cross traffic alert is also standard, which is an extra set of eyes when reversing.
One interesting inclusion is Mitsubishi’s misacceleration mitigation feature that guards against the driver mistakenly punching the accelerator instead of the brake when stationary or below 10km/h.
Radar cruise control is one of the few latest tech items missing.
Nothing too flashy, the Triton interior combines work and play.
The driver has only height adjustment of the steering wheel, no reach, although we had no issue finding a good position behind the wheel with brilliantly supportive front seats.
Cloth trim (leather is available on the Premium model that’s another $4850) feels like it’s in for the long haul within a cabin predominantly black and straightforward in design.
Adding the smartphone mirroring apps brings the infotainment up to modern expectations. Once plugged in via the USB port, it provides easy access to podcasts, music and Google Maps.
Those in the back sit upright, but have a roof-mounted air recirculation system along with a fold-down armrest with cup holders.
Feeling sure-footed and robust, the Triton has developed an honest and reliable reputation.
The 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel engine may not look inspiring on paper in comparison to rivals, but feels strong and responsive.
Those who opt for the auto — even tradies prefer the self-shifters nowadays — can use the steering wheel paddles for manual-style control. The auto offers timely shifts and the Triton gets away off the line briskly. Jump on the throttle with too much enthusiasm and the wheels chirp as it battles for traction.
Easy to drive, the turning circle of less than 12 metres is reasonable for a dual cab.
Unladen the Triton can feel light and jittery over coarse surfaces. That’s not uncommon for utes, engineers have to balance the task of also allowing for nearly a tonne in the back.
While towing capacity remains 3100kg, about 400kg less than the segment leaders, those looking to haul need to undertake the gross combination mass numbers (5885kg in this case).
If you’re hooking up a caravan or boat, get the calculator out and this is where the Triton often surpasses expectations. The payload is 910kg.
Switching from two-wheel drive to four can be done on the fly via a console dial and the new diff lock addition to this variant means better performance when you leave the bitumen.
Without breaking the budget, I want the flexibility to carrying the family in safety and comfort as well as the ability to throw a heap of gear in the back.
The toughen new look which arrived two years ago meets the macho ute brief and the Triton is capable on and off the road.
Toyota HiLux SR 4x4 $53,700 D/A
Australia’s top-selling vehicle for the past four years. Has brilliant resale and a rock-solid reliability reputation. Powered by a 2.8-litre turbo diesel, good for 130kW/450Nm. Tows 3200kg with automatic transmission.
Nissan Navara ST-X 4x4 $50,490 D/A
Better on-road manners than the Triton, although can also feel unsettled on rough surfaces. Under the bonnet is a 2.3-litre diesel generating 140kW/450Nm with 3500kg towing ability.
Dual-cabs no longer equal a rock-hard ride and featureless travels. Blending car comforts and tough looks, the Triton is one most affordable utes around which has equipment and four-wheel drive ability tough to beat.
AT A GLANCE
Mitsubishi Triton GLS
PRICE $46,290 drive-away
WARRANTY/SERVICING 7 years/150,000km; $897 over three years
ENGINE 2.4-litre turbo diesel, 133kW/430Nm
SAFETY Five stars, seven airbags, AEB, blind-sport warning, lane-departure warning, misacceleration mitigation, rear cross-traffic alert