The value-packed ute with a point of difference
Utes are Australia’s new black in automotive fashion. Reminiscent of when Commodores, Falcons and Magnas ruled, now it’s dual-cabs that are on the sales dais.
Last month the biggest selling trio were the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton.
Business is driving the success, along with strong support from the private market.
For those spending their own coin, SUVs are maintaining an upward popularity trajectory, and when it comes to utes the Triton remains a favourite for those chasing a bargain.
Tougher looks came via design changes early this year, along with a hefty improvement in safety, and Mitsubishi has made additional changes ahead of the 2020 models arriving.
Among the winners in the update is the mid-spec GLX+. Mechanical and interior improvements have been introduced with current drive-away deals from $41,490 plus some extra sweeteners.
Headline changes for the GLX+ are a rear differential lock and the rear air circulator for improved cabin comfort.
Carryover gear includes a seven-inch touchscreen armed with smartphone mirroring apps Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, climate control aircon and side steps. White and red are the only two standard colours, with the silver, grey, blue and black options costing an extra $740.
Mitsubishi is pushing hard with added extras, and until December 31 Tritons come with a seven-year or 150,000km warranty (usually five) as well as two years of free servicing. The latter is a saving of $930.
The next two services cost $580 each, with maintenance recommended every 15,000km or annually.
There are accessories aplenty on offer, with the flush-look soft tonneau cover we had an extra $686 (hard options start from $618), tub liners will set you back $572 and towbar kits are $1120.
Not long ago, having a seat belt was fancy for a ute. Mitsubishi played a key role in raising the bar in this realm, and the GLX+ comes with autonomous emergency braking that can detect pedestrians as well as vehicles, lane departure warning, rear camera and back parking sensors. There is also a function which stops the vehicle from accelerating accidently at slow speeds.
The top-end gear, like blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert, is only standard on the range-topping models. Radar cruise control is missing from all variants.
Utes are no longer just confined to work duties.
More families are adopting dual-cabs for daily activities, which explains the additional safety kit and cabin technology.
The smartphone mirroring apps accessed via the central touchscreen provide a modern edge to an otherwise basic cabin.
During a long highway run ahead of a family weekend away, the kids appreciated a cooler cabin courtesy of the roof-mounted recirculatory, but the bounce and rebound on average bitumen provided an unsettled ride on occasions — a trait common in most utes when unladen.
Acceleration is smooth and quiet as long as you don’t get too aggressive with the right foot. Punch it too hard and the noise is testament the ask is excessive.
The new diff lock function comes with Mitsubishi’s “Easy-Select” four-wheel drive which makes shifting from two-wheel drive to four a simple dial twist on the console. Those who have driven a Triton in the wet unladen will attest that this is vital — at the first sight of rain it’s best to engage all four wheels otherwise prepare for some serious drifting.
There are various four-wheel drive options to choose from depending on the terrain and once you step off the bitumen the Triton remains a talented performer.
Serious off-roaders would be well advised to get some improved underbody armour and sturdier side steps than the standard fare.
Towing capacity is less than some rivals at 3100kg and a payload of 945kg, but it’s best to crunch the numbers as the Triton’s gross combination mass is 5885kg — which is superior to many.
Average fuel consumption during our test was 7.9 litres per 100km courtesy of the long highway journeys.
I’m chasing an all-round utility and this handles the brief without fanfare.
Tougher looks combined with the added new features make the new Triton a value-packed proposition.
SsangYong Musso $34,990 D/A
The brand recently made a comeback, and the Musso has a seven-year warranty and is motivated by a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel (133kW/420Nm). Safety tech includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, 360-degree camera and front and rear parking sensors, while it also has an eight-inch screen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Lacks the Triton’s polish.
Great Wall Steed $25,990 D/A
The bargain bin of dual cabs, powered by a 110kW/310Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel. Comes with a 1020kg payload, and a five-year 150,000km warranty. Not the greatest performer while lacking tech and safety features, but the price is hard to resist for those on a tight budget.
The Triton is a quality price-point offering. It’s a good price in comparision to rivals, and it’ll get you from point-to-point with a strong history of reliability.
AT A GLANCE
MY2020 MITSUBISHI TRITON GLX+
PRICE $41,490 drive-away (undercuts big sellers)
WARRANTY/SERVICING 7-year 150,000km w’ty; $1160 4yrs (new deal)
SAFETY 5 stars, 7 airbags, AEB, rear camera, rear parking sensors, misacceleration mitigation (OK)
ENGINE 2.4-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 133kW/430Nm (smooth)
THIRST 8.6L/100km (good, 7.9 on test)
SPARE Full-size alloy (doesn’t get better)
TOWING 3100kg (less than rivals)