2019 Mitsubishi Triton.
2019 Mitsubishi Triton.

This is Australia’s benchmark dual-cab ute

MITSUBISHI has sold boatloads of Tritons by offering a reliable, capable, comfortable ute at prices that undercut rivals by up to $15,000.

Before the 2019 update, dealers were flogging the 2018 Triton GLX dual-cab 4WD for $32,990 drive-away. They've still got a few left, so they're unloading them at the same price and throwing in a $3000 factory "run-out" bonus. That's as cheap as a big name brand one-tonner gets.

In Triton's case, cheap doesn't mean nasty. In most respects the Mitsubishi can hold its own in this class, even against the top-selling Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux.

Value

Aggressive drive-away discounting makes Mitsubishi's list prices meaningless. For the record, the new 2019 Triton GLS double-cab automatic tested here will set you back (in theory) $46,990 plus on-roads.

The top-spec GLS Premium, listed at $51,990 plus on-roads, is already advertised at $50,990 drive away, saving about $3000.

Expect more drive-away discount deals on 2019 Tritons once the 2018 models have been cleared.

The Triton is the best value ute on the market.
The Triton is the best value ute on the market.

This update retains the 2.4-litre turbo diesel and six-speed manual. A new six-speed automatic (standard on GLS Premium and a $2500 option on other variants) replaces the 2018 model's five-speeder.

Mitsubishi's Super Select set-up, also carried over, allows for bitumen operation in rear or all-wheel drive (with an open centre differential) plus off-road running with the centre diff locked in high and low-range.

It's supplemented on 2019 Tritons with selectable drive and traction control modes including gravel, mud/snow, sand and rock. Hill descent control is also standard on the GLS and the GLS Premium adds a locking rear diff.

The obvious change for 2019 is a new front end. Apparently the previous model didn't look tough enough. I'm not sure exactly what tough is supposed to look like but in one-tonner world it's become a variation on the super-size American pick-up look: "If I run into you, you will die."

The Triton has driving modes for gravel, mud, sand and rock.
The Triton has driving modes for gravel, mud, sand and rock.

Comfort

Mitsubishi claims improved rear end compliance but it's still very stiff and the ride is harsh and unsettled compared with Navara, Ranger and Amarok.

Fit, finish and materials in the cabin get a noticeable lift in quality, there's plenty of handy storage, USB/HDMI sockets and a rake and reach adjustable steering wheel, still absent in most rivals. A digital speedo is missing.

Infotainment includes digital radio and voice control - which in the test car didn't respond correctly to most requests - plus Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, to which you must connect your phone if you want on-screen navigation.

Tall blokes in the elevated rear seat will test headroom and legroom. Kids will be comfortable and content. Two USBs plus roof vents are provided.

Safety

Mitsubishi goes big on driver assist safety tech for 2019 and the GLS is now a class leader, with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning standard. Toyota's HiLux SR5 has none of these features.

The GLS Premium adds 360-degree camera coverage and parking sensors.

The Triton has a max towing capacity of 3100kg.
The Triton has a max towing capacity of 3100kg.

Driving

Triton has come back to the pack here, with some newer rivals upping performance and refinement benchmarks while also claiming 3500kg towing capacity.

In reality, no one-tonner can legally pull 3500kg at maximum gross vehicle mass. The Triton's claimed maximum towing capacity of 3100kg becomes a legal maximum 2985kg at GVM. That's actually more than most rivals in 3500kg fantasyland. Maximum payload is 912kg.

The 2.4 lacks the immediate off-idle grunt of larger engines, and with peak torque arriving at a relatively high 2500rpm it can take a moment or three to get down to business.

On boost it's strong enough, acceptably refined and, in cruise mode, quite efficient, returning 7-8L/100km at a steady 100km/h.

However its small capacity means that in moderately challenging conditions the Mitsubishi has to work hard, so consumption can spike into the low-mid teens.

Six ratios are enough for any diesel and Mitsubishi's transmission does the job without fuss. Paddles are provided if you disagree with its selection or timing.

Handling is free of notable vices. Off-road, it's all too easy thanks to 220mm of clearance and PHD (press here, dummy) 4WD software.

The Triton is packed with modern driver aids.
The Triton is packed with modern driver aids.

The stiff suspension can produce a jolting, unpleasant experience in rutted low-range terrain, where the Triton tends to pogo from one rocky outcrop to the next.

Super Select's ability to run all-wheel drive on-road gives the Mitsubishi an extra measure of grip and security in the rain. Rivals with part-time 4WD/rear-wheel drive only (on bitumen), inevitably shod with class-standard, less-than-sticky rubber, tend to rely on traction control to keep the back end tidy under acceleration.

Heart says

I love the value, safety and specification but why did they make the front end so ugly? Did the designer use an axe?

Head says

Pay $60,000-$70,000 for a one-tonner? Tell 'em they're dreamin'. I'll take this anyday, especially at drive-away mate's rates.

Verdict

Triton's super-sharp pricing sells itself, especially when Mitsubishi goes hard on discount deals. A so-so drive but it's safe, reliable and cheap to run. Work or play, Triton is the one-tonner value benchmark.

Alternatives

Mazda BT-50 GT from $47,990

That's the drive-away price on the 2018 model GT dual-cab six-speed manual - very good value when you consider it's a reskinned Ford Ranger with 3.2-litre turbo diesel, minus some driver assist safety tech.

VW Amarok V6 from $49,990

Drive-away price of the 2018 Amarok Core TDi550 until March 30. A steal. Drive VW's V6 and you won't go near a four-cylinder ever again. Eight-speed auto standard. No rear airbags, though.

Mitsubishi Triton GLS

Price: $46,990

Warranty/servicing: 7 years (until June 30); $897 for 3 years/45,000km

Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 133kW/430Nm

Safety: Not yet ANCAP tested, 7 airbags, AEB, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning

Thirst: 8.6L/100km

Spare: Full-size

Towing: 3100kg



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