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What is it?

Mitsubishi’s latest Triton utility features even more aggressive styling.

It’s called the Dynamic Shield Concept and is supposed to be an expression of the “Engineered Beyond Tough” tag that is being used to promote the latest model launched recently.

Personally, we’ve always thought the look evokes memories of Megatron and the rest of the Decepticon crew from the Transformer franchise of movies — you know, where the cars change into robots.

One way or another, the new Triton is a head turner, with strong road presence that will get you noticed if that’s your bag.

Sales are up and it’s currently the third largest selling ute in Australia, behind the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, with a 14 per cent share of the market.

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What’s it cost?

Before proceeding, there’s a few decisions that need to be made.

Whether you want petrol or diesel, two- or four-wheel drive (4×2 or 4×4), single, club, or dual cab, and whether you want a tub or tray on the back (pickup or cab chassis).

Normally, the tray is extra or you toddle off to an aftermarket supplier and ask them to fit a tray of your choice — either steel or aluminium.

Prices start at $22,490 for the petrol powered, two-wheel drive, 2.4-litre GLX Single Cab chassis model.

The same model with a turbo diesel is another $3500 — or $25,990.

The only other 4×2 model is the diesel, GLX Dual Cab at $36,290.

Entry level models come with a 5-speed manual, the rest add a 6-speed automatic.

4×4 prices start at $32,990 for the diesel GLX single cab chassis. The pickup kicks off at $40,990 for the GLX+ Club Cab (the subject of our review).

The single cab seats two, the club cab has four seats — two of them temporary — and the dual cab gets five seats.

With seven airbags including a driver’s knee bag, all models get a full five stars for crash safety and the GLX+ is equipped with auto emergency braking (Forward Collision Mitigation system with pedestrian detection) as well as lane departure warning and trailer stability assist.

This model however does not provide any anchor points for a child car seat.

Other features include cloth trim, single zone climate air, 7.0-inch touchscreen with digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four-speaker audio, cruise control, auto lights, wipers and rear view mirror, rear parking sensors and a rear view camera.

The tub measures 1850 x 1470 x 475mm, with 1085mm between the wheel arches, but does not come with a tonneau cover.

It’s rated to carry a 971kg payload, with a maximum rear axle load of 1840kg and can tow a braked, 3000kg load, with trailer assst to keep things tidy.

The full size spare is steel, not a matching alloy.

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What’s it go like?

There’s a reason they race utes.

They weigh less than sedans and that translates to better performance.

Humble as it may be, the Triton utility operates on exactly the same principle.

The difference in performance between the almost bog standard GLX+ and more sophisticated (and heavier) Pajero Sport that we tested previously is huge.

To be succinct, the Triton goes like a scalded cat.

The cloth trimmed seats are reasonably comfortable and you even get temperature controlled air conditioning, but the vinyl flooring says work vehicle.

The 2.4-litre turbo diesel produces 133kW of power and 435Nm of torque, and is paired with a 6-speed auto.

The new 6-speed has a taller sixth gear and ratio optimisation to lower engine speed at higher vehicle speeds for improved quietness, without sacrificing dynamic performance at low vehicle speeds.

Improved shock damping when the torque converter clutch locks up allows an expanded lockup range.

GLX+ rides on 16 inch alloys, with 245/70 rubber, and double wishbones with coil springs and a stabiliser bar at the front and traditional load-bearing leaf-spring suspension under the back.

The ride is on the firm side and be harsh and jarring at times and the steering lacks precision.

Like most of the utes on the market at the moment the rear brakes are of the old drum variety. You have to really tromp them when the situation calls for it.

The Easy Select four-wheel drive system is different to the Super Select II system in the top of the range dual cab which also acquires selectable, off-road drive modes and a rear differential lock.

Designed primarily as a work vehicle, the club cab sits a little lower than dual cab sports models — 20mm to be exact.

The upside of that is that it’s a little easier to get in and out of.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s got low range four-wheel drive, but it’s designed primarily for getting in and out of work sites, rather than bouncing up and down bush tracks.

The two, drop down seats in the club cab model are accessed via rear doors that swing open towards the rear, commonly termed ‘suicide doors’.

The fine print confirms Mitsubishi makes no claims that these seats are actually large enough to seat anyone.

In reality, they’re not.

“The Club Cab has space behind the front seats, double-doors which enhance accessibility and liveability for private use, and also provides the utility needed for commercial use,” Mitsubishi says.

Rated at 8.6L/100km, we were getting 7.3L/100km from the 75-litre tank after 740km.

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What we like?

  • Sharp performance
  • Uses hardly any fuel
  • Lower ride height
  • 7-year warranty

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What we don’t like?

  • Hard, jarring ride
  • Rear seats useless
  • No digital speedo
  • Crappy Android Auto
  • No tonneau cover

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The bottom line?

With its drop down rear seats, the Club Cab is designed to carry a couple of blokes at a pinch — or that’s the idea. The problem is, there’s no way a couple of blokes could actually fit in the back, not unless they’re the size of Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones — even then I have my doubts.

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CHECKOUT: Triton Absolute: it’s your call

CHECKOUT: Mitsubishi Triton: if looks could thrill

Mitsubishi Triton GLX+ Club Cab Pickup, priced from $40,990
  • 8/10
    Looks - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Performance - 7.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Safety - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Thirst - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Practicality - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Comfort - 7/10
  • 7.5/10
    Tech - 7.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Value - 7.5/10
7.5/10

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.