Mitsubishi MY10 Triton

words - Steve Kealy
Mitsubishi throws down the safety gauntlet to 4x4 ute brigade

Mitsubishi Triton MY10 range

Local Launch
Lake Gairdner, SA

What we liked
>> Higher safety levels
>> More power and torque from smaller engines
>> Improved refinement

Not so much
>> Cinderella's coach lookalike
>> Ordinary departure angles
>> Clumsy lengthened load bed

Overall rating: 4.0/5.0
Engine and Drivetrain: 4.0/5.0
Price, Packaging and Practicality: 4.0/5.0
Safety: 4.5/5.0
Behind the wheel: 4.0/5.0
X-factor: 3.5/5.0

About our ratings

OVERVIEW
With its new MN Triton range, Mitsubishi has introduced something which has been missing for much too long on local four-wheel-drive utes -- stability control.

Hard to believe it, but until now no mainstream manufacturer had fitted this potentially life-saving electronic driver aid to the one class of vehicle that arguably needed it most -- the traditionally tail-happy, load-variable working ute.

Although the system adds some cost and is only available on high-spec models, Mitsubishi deserves long and loud applause. And the good news for buyers is the MY10 Triton update is not a one electronic-trick pony -- there's more! The new iteration of the Triton gets a more powerful, more efficient (yet smaller) turbodiesel engine, greater towing capacity and (on some models) a bigger load bed to boot.


PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
When it launched news of the MY10 Triton upgrade, Mitsubishi promised price increases across the range would be modest and has kept its word.

The upgraded MN Triton range kicks off the baseline petrol four-cylinder two-wheel drive GL single cab cab-chassis at $20,990 plus normal statutory charges. Adding ABS boosts price by $500 and metallic or pearlescent paint is available throughout the range for an extra $450. There is no auto option.

The single cab entry-level model comes without a load-bed -- whatever you specify costs extra and there are a variety of alternative trays available -- aluminium, heavy-duty aluminium, galvanised, with a timber or checker-plate floor. Various nudge-bars are on offer too. As befits the quintessential tradie's tool, there's manually-adjustable exterior mirrors, a tough and durable vinyl floor and a dark grey cloth-covered split bench seat in the cab.

It's not a 'stripper' however. You still get remote central locking, electric windows, two-speed wipers with variable intermittent, a tilt-adjustable steering column, two bottle-holders and a lockable glovebox. The sound system has an AM/FM radio and single disc player with MP3 capability and two speakers.

The basic workhorse has a kerb mass of 1388kg and a maximum towing capability of 750kg unbraked and 1800kg braked. Its maximum payload is a commendable 1362 kg.

Power steering, air-con, an engine immobiliser, a front skid plate and a rest for the driver's left foot are standard across the Triton range, as are halogen headlamps.

The cheapest diesel 4x2 GLX single cab comes in at $25,090 with a $2000 premium for auto, while the stability and traction control systems add $750.  Extra standard features include power mirrors, a limited-slip diff, cruise control on all diesels and a carpet on the floor when there's an auto gearbox. Optional side and curtain airbags make an appearance in the double cab.

The 4x2 double cab GLX pick-ups start at $28,390 for a petrol manual, while going to the diesel queue at the servo adds $4100, with an auto transmission adding another $2000. The safety pack (stability control, side and curtain airbags and side-steps) adds $1900, taking the price to $36,390.

The petrol-powered GLX double cab gets standard ABS brakes with EBD and details like a double-walled load bed with a rear window protector, body-coloured bumper-bars and black grille, power mirrors and rear mudflaps. Inside, there's sports front seats, rear seat headrests, a centre console bin, a 12v power outlet, bluetooth connectivity and the sounds system gets USB and iPod connectivity.

Mitsubishi offers a choice of hard lockable tonneau covers with gas struts, soft covers or canopies. Introduce your Triton to the aftermarket and the sky's the limit.

With a kerb mass of 1691kg, the double cab's towing capacities are the same as its single-cab sibling, but the payload is down to 1029kg.

The top-flight 4x2 is the double cab GL-R which starts at $35,490 with $2000 extra for auto and $850 for side and curtain airbags. The GL-R grade is a new spec level for the MY10 model range and while it misses out on the limited slip diff, it adds body-coloured wheel arch flares, a rear step-up bar, nudge bar, front mudflaps, 16-inch alloy wheels, carpeted floor, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and Active Stability Control over the GLX spec.

The manual GL-R has a kerb mass of 1815 kg and its braked towing capability grows to 2500kg. All GL-R models, plus the top-of-the-range GLX-R, have sports suspension to replace the heavy-duty suspension found on other models. As a result, maximum payload is down to 962kg in the auto; 972kg in the manual.

Above this is where the higher-output turbo-diesel 4x4 alternatives start -- the manual GLX is slightly cheaper than the 4x2 GL-R at $34,590 with auto adding $2000, stability control an extra $750, diff locks an extra $700 and sports seats (in manual versions only) another $300.

The single cab comes without a load-bed -- whatever you specify costs extra, but on the double cab, if you want just the bare cab-chassis without a load-bed tray, you save $750. The single cab is the pick if towing is your game -- it can haul a 3000kg braked trailer, caravan or horse float and withstand a 300kg down-weight on the tow ball.

Options at this level include the $2000 auto transmission and variations of stability control, traction control, diff locks and side and curtain airbags and side-steps -- ticking all the boxes will cost an extra $2600. Unsurprisingly, the specification list at this level is pretty-much lineball with the 4x2 GLX, barring the additional features appropriate to a 4x4. Added to the inventory at this level include free-wheeling front hubs, Easy-select 4x4 system and mudflaps; the LSD and heavy-duty suspension are back in too.

The GL-R manual double cab high-output diesel pick up starts at $44,990 with diff lock and extra side airbags adding $1550. The four-speed auto version commands an extra $2000. This is a less utilitarian, more attractive, sporty family-type vehicle which weighs a hefty 1928 at the kerb. It's still capable of hauling a braked 2700kg trailer.

Once again, the sports suspension and Active Skid Control (stability control) are fitted and the limited slip diff is off the list. Like its 4x2 cousin, body-coloured fender flares, 16-inch alloy wheels, sidesteps, nudge bar and a rear step-up bar, driving lights, a carpeted cabin floor, adjustable front seat safety belt anchor points and a fold-door rear seat armrest, with cupholders are standard. Like other double cabs, the GL-R has four speakers for its sound system.

The top-spec GLX-R double-cab 4x4 pick-up manual is $47,990, with the five-speed auto adding $2500. This is very much the 'Executive' model in the range and comes with a well-packed specification list.

The GLX-R model grade adds Mitsubishi's clever Super-select 4WD system with an optional diff lock (see MECHANICAL for an explanation of the difference between the two Triton all-wheel-drive systems), sports suspension, a sports (faux rollover) bar, a cable -- as opposed to chain -- tailgate retainer, a fancy honeycomb radiator grille, smart 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, unique tube-style sidesteps, nudge bar, ear step-up and tinted glass.

Remarkably, the GLX-R is the only model that offers a vanity mirror in one sun-visor and a ticket holder in the other, an illuminated ignition lock, map-reading lamps and a sunnies cubby. A powered rear window, with auto up and down, is also a feature unique to the GLX-R.

The driver gets alloy sports pedals; there is black cloth fabric on the sports seats, chrome door handles and a titanium-look dash surround to the colour multi-function display, six speakers, and leather on the steering wheel and both gear-lever gaiters. Side and curtain airbags are standard in this model only

A rear-diff lock is available as a $700 option on the GLX-R. Another box to tick is Mitsubishi's multi-communications system -- a large touchscreen that provides navigation, climate and audio control features and which adds another $3000.

Payload in the five-speed manual version of the GLX-R is 953kg, while the five-speed auto's is the lowest of the entire Triton range -- at 938kg. Despite this, towing capacity is the highest -- a full 3000kg with a braked trailer.

If you were to take the GLX-R auto and tick all the boxes, including fancy paint, you'd be looking at $54,640 before normal charges -- and any good salesman would manage to swing most buyers into extra mats, seat covers and a towbar... Look out! A Triton with the lot will probably roll out the showroom for about $60,000.


MECHANICAL AND PACKAGING
Subtle exterior changes differentiate the new MY10 Triton from its predecessor, including new front bumpers, grilles and indicator lenses. In addition, the Triton dual-cab 4x4s get a 180mm longer and 55mm taller tray.

Mitsubishi has also increased the Triton's towing capabilities. The 4x4 'long-bed' dual cab models are now rated at 2700kg, while all other 4x4s have increased their maximum braked towing weight from 2500 to 3000kg. Should the full 3000kg be needed, a shorter tray can be fitted by Mitsubishi dealers.

Visually, the longer bed is a little odd; the rear wheels are at the very front and at first sight, it looks awkward. Its extra capacity is a welcome improvement however.

As well as safety, the main talking point of the new models is a new 2.5-litre turbodiesel engine. Four-wheel drive variants of the new Triton benefit from the high output oiler which Mitsubishi claims "delivers the highest output and performance in this segment". 

Displacing 2.5-litres, the new four-cylinder Mitsubishi turbodiesel develops 131kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm of torque at 2000rpm in the manual variants. Both power and torque levels have increased (11 and 17 per cent respectively) compared to the previous diesel -- a 3.2-litre mill.

In addition to the beefed-up output, the new 4x4 models return improved fuel economy. Coupled with five-speed manual transmission, the high-output equipped dual-cab Tritons register 8.3L/100km -- a significant improvement compared to the previous model's 9.1L/100km.

The new five-speed automatic transmission fitted to the top of the range GLX-R Triton delivers an improvement of 0.6L/100km. The new model's fuel consumption is 9.3L/100km, compared to the old Triton's 9.9L/100km.

Mitsubishi says that power and efficiency gains of the new smaller diesel engine were achieved via optimised injectors, the addition of a variable-geometry turbocharger (with increased boost pressure) and a modified combustion chamber shape.

Automatic turbodiesel Tritons don't quite have the full complement of Newton-metres, however. In deference to the automatic transmission, the new 2.5-litre high-output diesel has been wound back -- outputting 350Nm instead of 400Nm.

For MY10, the top of the range GLX-R 4x4 Triton turbodiesel includes Mitsubishi's All Terrain Technology (MATT), which matches the Super Select four-wheel-drive system with stability and traction control, multi-mode ABS, electronic brakeforce and diff Lock.

This means there are two different all-wheel-drive systems under the MY10 Triton range.

Most models feature the standard Easy Select 4x4 system. This offers three modes ('2H', '4H' and '4L') which are engaged using a conventional secondary transfer case lever next to the gearshift.

The 2H setting is two-wheel drive in high ratio, where the rear wheels only are driving with normal gearing and is used for everyday road conditions.

The first of the 4WD settings, 4H, connects drive to the front wheels too, doubling traction. This mode is suitable for conditions such as grass, loose gravel surfaces, mud, snow and sand. It's a 'shift-on-the-fly' system, so 4H can be engaged on the move at speeds up to 100km/h.

However 4H is not for use on dry, high-grip road surfaces. As the front and rear axles rotate at the same speed this can cause transmission 'wind-up' which strains tyres and transmission, causing vibration and raising fuel consumption.

In 4L or 4WD low range, the overall gearing drops so the vehicle can crawl along at very low speed with instant response to the throttle. The gearing allows the engine to deliver more power and torque at very low vehicle speed, which provides more traction on difficult terrain.

A Triton in 4L should make it pretty well anywhere, but for the most extreme conditions some models also have a rear differential lock, engaged electrically. Instead of a driver-activated locking rear differential, some models have a limited-slip rear diff which partially locks itself if rear wheel traction is being lost.

The Super Select four-wheel drive system fitted to the GLX-R models allow the driver to choose between four driving modes

Two-wheel drive high range is used for regular asphalt in fine weather and improves fuel economy. Full-time four-wheel drive in high-range provides better traction when the road surface is rough, in rain or on muddy or gravel roads.

'4HLC' gives four-wheel drive in high range, but with a locked centre differential to deliver power equally to all four wheels. And for the real serious stuff, '4LLC' four-wheel drive low range with locked centre differential is suitable for rough terrain like crawling over rocks, up slippery inclines and anywhere you'd need a crawler-gear.

A rear-diff lock is available as a $700 option on the Super Select equipped Tritons.

The sole petrol engine in the MY10 Mitsubishi Triton range is the 2.4-litre 100kW/194Nm powerplant, which is fitted to the base-model 4x2 only. It delivers a fuel economy rating of 10.9L/100km when shifting through a five-speed manual gearbox. No auto is offered.

Drivers looking at 4x2 models can get also their hands on a turbodiesel in the form of the carry-over 2.5-litre 100kW/314Nm unit, which consumes 8.6 litres of diesel per 100km. This carry-over engine is teamed with a five-speed manual or four-speed auto.

In an interesting insight into what they perceive to be the Triton's natural place in the world, Mitsubishi Motors Australia expect only 30 per cent of all Triton sales will have automatic gearboxes. Currently about 550 Tritons leave dealer showrooms every month; with the upgraded model comes on stream MMAL expects this to rise to about 700.

All models are available as single or dual-cab variants except the base GL and range-topping GL-R and GLX-R models, which are four-door only. This means that just between engine, transmission and body styles, there are 15 different variants available; then there are seven colour options...

Only the basic Triton runs on utilitarian 16-inch steel wheels; higher-spec models get 16 or 17-inch alloys and appropriately street-oriented tyres.

All Tritons pack in a useful 75 litres of fuel and there are minor interior and exterior styling and comfort updates. At the launch, one of the models had leather and a sunroof; don't expect to see these features on locally-available vehicles. Yet.

With the longer load-bed, the new Triton is 5.39m long, but still offers a kerb-to-kerb turning circle of 11.8m. On all models the approach angle is a useful 33 degrees, the departure 21 and the breakover is 27 degrees; ground clearance is an unremarkable 200 to 205mm depending upon model.


SAFETY
All 2010 Tritons now have dual front airbags and ABS brakes with brake-force distribution can be specified to replace the standard load-apportioning valves. The range has achieved a class-leading four-star ANCAP rating with its side-impact bars, front and rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and child seat anchor points.

Stability control and traction control is available on all diesel models and passenger side and curtain airbags are available on double-cab versions as extra-cost options. These features are standard on the top-drawer GLX-R versions and at this point in time gives the Triton range a unique position in the one-tonne all-wheel-drive ute marketplace.


COMPETITORS
Both Nissan and Toyota -- the two main Japanese rivals -- offer two and four-wheel drive, single and double-cab versions of their petrol and diesel Navara and HiLux utes. If anything, Mitsubishi has been playing catch-up to get into all the various market segments.

In addition to the three main Japanese manufacturers, Holden and its previous supplier Isuzu, are now both active in the marketplace, with the Colorado (formerly the Rodeo) and D-Max ranges of utes respectively. With a large degree of commonality, it's tempting to regard these three badges as one.

The Mazda BT50 and Ford Ranger twins, and even manufacturers on the fringe, such as new entrants Great Wall Motors from China and Mahindra from India, all have models in this bustling corner of the market.

Naturally, Mitsubishi is claiming to have the edge over its competitors. With the newest entrant, a power advantage and the benefit of being the latest rival in the ring, there's every reason to believe they might be right. Time will tell. Certainly they've addressed the issue of safety and towing capabilities and they've made the load-bed bigger. There's more power and refinement and while there are external aesthetic issues, most aspects of the upgraded Triton interior design are contemporary, clean and harmonious.

In the 4x2 pickup  and cab-chassis light truck market, Toyota's the leader of the pack for the first eight months of this year, selling 9716 HiLux followed by Triton with 4880, the Ranger with 3810 and the BT50 with 3551. Interestingly, if the Holden Rodeo, Colorado and Isuzu D-Max sales were combined, they'd total 3575.

In the 4x4 pickup and cab-chassis sales arena, the HiLux is again tops, with 14,287 sales, Navara is second on 10,561 and Triton is third on 7027. Again, combining Holden Rodeo, Colorado and Isuzu D-Max figures total 7738 sales -- a clear case of dividing and failing to conquer.

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discount new cars  » Get the best price on a new Mitsubishi Published : Friday, 2 October 2009
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