The Mitsubishi Triton is the third most popular ute in Australia and it’s fair to say the attraction to the trusty Thai-built Japanese ute rests on value and off-road ability, more than anything else. That might change soon, with a comprehensively upgraded model not only looking much better but bringing a suite of high-end safety features — and even better off-road capability.
Front seats have great support and there’s ample seat adjustment and room. The updated Mitsubishi Triton’s rear bench isn’t a welcoming space for three adults — it isn’t wide enough — but at least the seating position is comfortable with a surprising amount of leg and head room.
Upper-spec 2019 Triton models will continue with Mitsubishi’s excellent full-time/part-time Super Select II 4WD system. You can run it in fuel-saving 2WD mode like part-time 4WD (such as the Easy Select system, on lower-spec Triton models) but also run 4WD unlocked for paved roads like a full-time system.
Super 4WD system
Hill descent control is only available with Super Select II, while the off-road modes are available with both Easy Select and Super Select II.
While the six-speed manual Thai-spec cars we drove on-road to the off-road course featured idle-stop, vehicles sold in other markets including Australia will not.
The engine gets boomy from about 2500rpm but is keen enough to rev all the way to its 4000rpm redline. Diesels are all about torque, but when reaching for the peak 133kW at 3500rpm at least the Triton’s diesel won’t complain about doing it.
We only got to drive the new six-speed auto model on the off-road course and on about 2km of narrow, winding local secondary roads, so we need more — and faster — wheel time to get a proper feel for it.
Having said that, the automatic did shift decisively and smoothly, both on- and off-road, but as with the five-speed auto before, part-throttle gear changes can be surprisingly abrupt.
The off-road course was slow and technical, so there wasn’t a great deal to learn from it. Hill descent control did appear to be unobtrusive on the set-piece descent, while the difference between each of the four off-road modes (Gravel, Mud/snow, Sand and — in low-range — Rock) was not very clear.
Traction control was slow to engage but then you’ve got a rear diff lock (on higher-spec models) to get you out of trouble.
Neither HDC nor off-road modes work when the rear diff-lock is engaged or when 2H or 4H (unlocked) are engaged. And the new autonomous emergency braking system does not function in low-range (or when the rear diff-lock is engaged).
The new around-view monitor screen is quite clear and is a great help off-road, as was and front camera (which only works at speeds up to 10km/h).
While we were given very few technical specs, the new Mitsubishi Triton appears to have the same tight turning circle of the last one. Unlike a few other utes in this category, it doesn’t require a few bites at getting in and out of carpark spaces. Steering is accurate and the Triton corners well for a 4WD ute.
Towing capacity was been confirmed as being identical to the current model — that is, 750kg (unbraked) and 3100kg (braked).
Mitsubishi will release the new Triton locally with a full range of accessories, such as an alloy bull bar and nudge bar. The new tub has been designed so that it can accommodate existing accessories (such as a tub liner).
With its new ‘Dynamic Shied’ front-end design, the facelifted Mitsubishi Triton looks much more masculine and cohesive in the metal, and its new safety and off-road features are the icing on the cake.
Provided that Mitsubishi Australia can keep price rises to a minimum, the MY19 Mitsubishi Triton should be firmly on the shopping lists of new ute buyers.