by Brad Leach - 21/12/09
Launching the 2010 Triton ute range, Mitsubishi has thrown down the gauntlet to segment rivals by introducing significant upgrades but keeping the pricing very competitive - entry level GL Cab Chassis models retain the $20,990 sticker of the now superseded ML model.
As well as the increased capability included in the new 2010 model year MN model range, Mitsubishi has claimed industry-leading safety standards with active stability and traction control plus side and curtain airbags on some models. All new Tritons now have standard driver and front passenger SRS airbags, front and rear door impact bars, ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and front seatbelt pretensioners
Car Showroom had the chance to put the new Triton lineup through its paces in Northern NSW - including some arduous off-road tracks where the 4x4 models showed their grit…Triton is still a very tough vehicle for work or recreation.
The big news is a new, 2.5-litre turbo-diesel engine for 4x4 models which has 11 per cent more power, 17 per cent more torque and nine per cent better fuel economy than the previous 3.2-litre engine.
Significantly for ute buyers, Mitsubishi has addressed some of the criticisms of the previous ML Triton range by introducing a larger ute 'tub'.
In addition, the towing capacity has increased - to 2,700kgs or 3,000kgs (depending on the model).
Entry level remains the GL (4x2 only), then there is the GLX (4x2 and 4x4), while the range topper remains the GLX-R (4x4).
A new model grade - the sharply priced GL-R - has been slotted underneath the GLX-R and is available in 4x4 and 4x2 versions. James Tol, Mitsubishi's Triton Product Manager says the GL-R Double Cab Ute 4x2, priced at $35,490, undercuts by $5,000 its nearest rival in the 4x2 sports ute segment.
Styling changes inside and out for 2010 include new seats and seat fabrics - another area where the previous ML Triton copped some flack.
Mitsubishi has jettisoned Triton's 3.2-litre diesel engine and its replacement - the HP (high-powered) 2.5-litre is a beauty. A common rail diesel with intercooled turbocharger, the HP powerplant delivers 131kW at 4,000 rpm and 400Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm.
Combined cycle fuel economy (manual model) is 8.3l/100kms.
This engine is only available in 4x4 GLX, GL-R and GLX-R models and when fitted with an automatic transmission, the torque figure is wound back to 350Nm.
For 4x2 GLX and GL-R models, the powerplant is the current 2.5-litre turbo diesel that's good for 100kW at 3,800rpm and 314Nm at 2,000 rpm.
The petrol engine for GL and GLX 4x2 models remains Mitsubishi's 2.4-litre four-cylinder with 94kW/194Nm.
Transmissions are a five-speed manual, four-speed automatic or (in GLX-R models only) a five-speed auto with sports mode.
Inside, Triton has gained new seats and fabrics with sports seats on everything except GL models - GLX-R trimmed in black while all others are grey. The console is new and there is a revised instrument cluster (titanium look on GLX-R).
Audio systems have been upgraded and include connectivity for remote devices while the GLX-R gains six speakers and Mitsubishi's Multi Communication System which includes a DVD, navigation and Bluetooth hands-free telephone system.
GLX-R also features a leather-wrapped steering wheel, gear lever and 4WD transfer level (these are options on some other models).
And alloy pedals are standard on GLX-R manual models (optionally available on others).
Pleasingly, the sharp and aggressive styling that highlighted the ML Triton has been left intact for the new range - this is a seriously good-looking ute that stands out from the crowd.
The big news on the outside is a new, larger, long-bed tub for Dual cab models. With a length of 1505mm and height of 460mm, the new tub is 17 per cent larger than the superseded ML model.
Other changes to the exterior are minor but include new front bumpers, grille and indicator lights.
There are also some new alloy wheels, revised side steps and paint colours.
In testing the new Triton lineup, we covered plenty of kilometers on sealed roads, dirt tracks plus some severe off-road mountain climbs and descents.
Clearly the new high-powered 2.5-litre turbo-diesel is a beauty. Compared to the standard 2.5-litre turbo-diesel fitted to 4x2 GLX and GL-R models, the new engine delivers increased performance thanks to its variable geometry turbocharger (with higher boost pressure) and revised combustion chamber shape and injectors.
We tackled the extreme off-road sections in a GLX-R model which features Mitsubishi's All Terrain Technology (MATT) which includes Super Select all-wheel-drive (the driver switches to 'Snow', 'Gravel' etc). There is also Active Stability and Traction Control and an optional diff lock.
The steep inclines tested the Triton's critical angles - Approach 33 degrees, Departure 21 degrees and Rampover 27 degrees.
Overall, the new Triton takes a step forward from its predecessor. On-road manners are nice and we can certainly vouch for its off-road prowess.
Likewise on the road, the new Triton doesn't quite match some for refinement and noise intrusion.
Inside, we reckon Mitsubishi missed-out on improving the tactile elements of the Triton - the plastics still feel a little hard compared to some segment rivals.
Whether for work or recreational use, looks do count and in our eyes the Triton still leads the pack in the exterior styling department - the fully kitted GLX-R rivals Ford's Ranger Wildtrac for car park 'cred'.
Mitsubishi has cleverly enhanced Triton's capability, safety and performance while keeping prices sharp.
It's a 'Who's Who' taking on the Triton in the Light Commercial Ute segment. Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, Mazda BT50, Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado all command consideration.
Other vehicles from Isuzu D-max, Ssangyong Actyon and Musso plus new vehicles from Great Wall are also in the mix.
2010 Mitsubishi Triton - Car Review
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