Mitsubishi Triton GLS 2010 Review

Mitsubishi Triton GLS 2010 Review

Talkback radio is usually the domain of the lonely and sometimes angry, but it is still a system with its own merits. While a radio audience is generally passive, talkback gives listeners the chance to not just stress an opinion but also actively change the landscape of the show. Radio may seem a far cry from the NZ utility vehicle market but it’s the talkback dialogue between Mitsubishi and its customers that has resulted in some vital changes to the facelifted Triton ute. To check the results of this mid-cycle refresh, long time listeners but first time drivers Car and SUV dialled up a new 2010 Triton GLS and took a long drive.

The biggest news for the updated Triton is lying under the bonnet where the previous 3.2-litre diesel engine has been replaced with a 2.5-litre unit for all the 4WD models. This may at first seem an odd response to customers wanting more grunt but the smaller diesel engine increases power 11% to 131kW and torque is up 17% to 400Nm in manual form. With the automatic transmission torque is rated at 356Nm. This increase is made possible by a fresh design to the engine’s internals and a hard-boosting variable geometry turbocharger.

The new common rail diesel engine takes the 2010 Triton to the top of the class in terms of power output and allows the vehicle very healthy acceleration. With maximum torque available from 2000rpm the Triton surges forward from standing. It also hums along nicely during motorway cruising and has ample mid-range poke for safe overtaking moves. The extra power hasn’t come at the cost of fuel economy, the new engine uses just 8.3L/100km with the manual transmission and 9.3L/100km with the auto box. The only gripe with the new engine comes from its noise. The rattling while the engine is cold is acceptable and that subsides when warm and idling, but under load the Triton’s motor is loud and intrusive at times.

The top-spec Triton GLS model is available with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Our tested vehicle had the auto ‘box with a sports shift mode for manual changes. There is some lag in receiving power but the auto box works hard to stay in the right torque-band and the manual change option is useful for holding a lower gear when required. Towing capacity is a useful 2,700 kg braked and 750 kg unbraked.

On-road, the Triton is well mannered with light, car-like steering and a compliant, comfortable ride. If you’re driving unladen and in 2WD mode there is still a tendency to spin the tyres and oversteer with too much throttle but this is easily controlled. On twisting roads some body roll is evident when changing direction but the Triton offers decent grip and rarely gets unsettled.

If there were ever any questions about the Triton’s off-road capabilities they have been answered with the reworked model. A ladder-frame chassis, elliptical leaf spring rear suspension and a dual ratio transfer case provide the Triton with rugged underpinnings. Sitting above the established mechanicals is some modern wizardry in Mitsubishi’s Super-Select 4WD system. This allows four driving modes and can make on-the-fly shifts from 2WD to 4WD at speeds up to 100km/h. The high range 4WD makes use of the centre diff with a viscous coupling unit, but the diff can also be fully locked in this mode by a button in the cabin. When the going gets even tougher, the Triton’s 4WD low range with permanent locked diff maximises the vehicle’s low-end torque to maintain traction. It’s a very competent set-up and proved capable in negotiating slippery, steep and uneven terrains. It would be tough to find a building site or paddock that could beat the Triton GLS.

One area that previously split opinion about the Triton was in its exterior looks, while some thought it was a sharp modern ute, others felt it was too curvaceous and not hard looking enough. Although the exterior updates are subtle on the facelifted model they may prove pleasing to both camps. The front bumper has been replaced along with the grille and indicators, the rear tray has been given a squarer look and enlarged. The hard plastic-lined tub is now 180mm longer and 55mm deeper, it’s a noticeable difference and one that will prove popular with tradesmen.

Overall the Triton GLS is a great looking ute, the curved line that runs along the cab’s rear won’t appeal to all but it’s distinctive and the colour-coded wheel arches, chrome mirrors and door handles are nice touches. The GLS model receives extras like fog lamps, side steps, 17-inch alloys and an electric rear window that’s perfect for shouting at a dog in the tray.

The Triton GLS cabin is fairly deluxe for a working vehicle and has received a new instrument cluster and seat fabrics in the facelift. The sports-styled seats are comfortable and help provide excellent visibility. The curved two-level dashboard is well laid out with minimal switchgear, the only small complaint coming with the stereo head unit that is dated in its appearance and has small untextured buttons, not ideal for thick fingers. That said, it’s a six-speaker unit that offers good sound for a ute system. The GLS model also receives a multi-function screen that can display a compass, barometer and altimeter. Other useful equipment includes power windows, leather steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, air-conditioning and a trip computer. Cabin space is very good with genuine legroom for rear passengers and a slightly reclined seat back to stay comfortable on longer trips. Interior fit and finish is sound, while not all materials feel high quality, there’s a general sense of durability to the Triton’s cabin.

Many voices have previously expressed an opinion that utes simply aren’t safe as a family vehicle. Mitsubishi has put extra effort into making the Triton one of the safest utes around and are the first to include active stability control and side and curtain airbags. Other safety features include ABS brakes, front dual-stage airbags, side impact beams and seat-belt pretensioners. Mitsubishi is really trailblazing in terms of ute safety with the Triton and the only let down is the inclusion of a lap seat belt for the middle rear occupant where a three-point belt would be optimal.

The 2010 Triton is evidence that if you listen to the talkback from your target audience and you have the available means, a mid-cycle refresh can be effective in really improving a vehicle. The new engine is a gem and although it’s noisy it does provide true grunt while returning good fuel economy. The styling has been subtlety improved to have a broader appeal and for my money the Triton GLS is the best looking new ute around.  It’s also very capable as a safe family hauler on the weekends, offering a good comfort level and space for all passengers. All this does come at a price and at $52,990 for the top-spec GLS it’s reasonably placed but not the cheapest option available. However, with Mitsubishi’s full five-year/130,000km warranty on all Triton utes you can have confidence that it will last. The facelift has taken the Triton from mid-pack to a true front-runner in the ute segment..

Price: $52,990 (4WD models from $41,990)

What we like:

  • Exterior styling
  • Powerful and economical engine
  • Comfortable ride
  • Outstanding safety features

What we don’t like:

  • Noisy diesel engine
  • Dated stereo
  • Rear lap seatbelt

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

To find out more click here to visit the Mitsubishi NZ website.

Other reviews of interest (click link):

Toyota Hilux SR5 (2009) — Road Test

Ford Ranger XL 4×2 (2009) — Road Test

Ford Ranger Wildtrak (2009) — Road Test

Mazda BT-50 2WD (2009) — Road Test

Nissan Navara ST-X (2008) — Road Test

Holden Colorado LT (2008) — Road Test

Mitsubishi Triton GLS (2010) – Specifications

Displacement – cc 2,477
Bore and stroke 91.1 x 95.0
Compression ratio 16.5:1
Max power (kW @ rpm) 133 @ 4,000
Max torque (Nm @ rpm) 356 @ 2,000
Valves 16
Fuel consumption – L/100km 9.3
CO2 – g/km 242
Battery 95D31L
Alternator 90 amp

Overall length with wellside – mm
Overall width – mm 1,800
Overall height – mm 1,780
Wheel base – mm 3,000
Track front – mm 1,520
Track rear – mm 1,515
Ground clearance – mm 205
Turning circle – m 11.8
Kerb weight – kg 1,920
Gross vehicle weight – kg 2,930
Pay load – kg 1,010
Maximum front axle load – kg 1,260
Maximum rear axle load – kg 1,800
Seating capacity – persons 5
Approach angle – degree 33.4
Ramp breakover angle – degree 26.7
Departure angle – degree 20.9
Towing braked – kg 2,700
Towing unbraked – kg 750

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