The Mitsubishi Triton has always been a bit of an underestimated ute.
It has been an under-performer in terms of sales compared with the upper echelon of the category (i.e. the likes of Toyota’s HiLux and Ford’s Ranger), but it’s managed to retain a solid reputation as a value-for-money option, even though prices are on the rise.
So, does the Triton in top-spec GSR trim make sense as an all-around adventure vehicle? Read on.
The Mitsubishi Triton dual cab 4x4 GSR starts from $56,940 (as at February, 2023). (Image: Marcus Craft)
Our test vehicle was also equipped with black frontal protection bar (aka bullbar) with fog lamps ($4611), floor mats ($176), under-rail tub liner ($642), tow bar kit ($1308) and a Redarc electric brake kit ($770), bringing the total cost to $64,447, before on-road costs.
Exterior paint choices for the GSR variant include 'White Diamond' (prestige), 'Sunflare Orange' (metallic, on our test vehicle), 'Graphite Grey' (metallic), and 'Black Mica' (pearlescent).
Is there anything interesting about its design?
All contemporary utes have a generic look about them, but the Triton manages to sharpen that up a bit with Mitsubishi’s 'Dynamic Shield' treatment of the front end.
That re-style was introduced a few years ago; I didn’t like it at first, but I’ve grown used to it.
Upfront of the Triton is Mitsubishi’s 'Dynamic Shield' treatment. (Image: Marcus Craft)
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?
This is a respectable and well-proven combination in the Triton. It’s not over-the-top lively or exciting, in fact it’s more than a bit sluggish, but it does the job.
The GSR has Mitsubishi’s 'Super Select II' 4WD system and a rear diff lock.
There’s a Super Select II 4WD dial to the rear of the shifter, which enables the driver to switch from 2H (two-wheel drive), 4H (4WD high range), 4HLC (4WD High Range with locked centre diff), and 4LLC (4WD Low Range with locked centre diff).
The Triton has a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine. (Image: Marcus Craft)
The driver is able to safely switch between 2WD (2H) and 4WD (4H, 4HLC) at speeds up to 100km/h. I’m old school, though, and prefer to stop and switch, unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
The GSR also has a button-operated off-road mode system, with Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand or Rock settings, each of which tweaks engine output, transmission settings and traction control to best suit the terrain.
It also has off-road-focussed driver-assist tech, such as hill descent control.
It’s easy to feel comfortable in a Triton cabin because it all feels very familiar – which is part of this ute’s problem because it feels a bit old and dated.
The interior is easy on the eye, well laid-out, and everything is easy to locate and operate. The 7.0-inch touchscreen should be much bigger, but it is clear enough to avoid any usage issues. It also has in-built sat nav, but rather work off your phone than use that system.
The cabin feels rather squeezy, but I don’t mind the cosiness of it, and it’s a reasonable mix of leather accents on the seats and durable plastic surfaces almost everywhere else.
The interior is easy on the eye and everything is well laid-out. (Image: Marcus Craft)
Seats are supportive but borderline too firm. (Image: Marcus Craft)
Seats are supportive but borderline too firm, and the rear seat is, as always in a ute, better suited to accommodating two rather than three people, unless they’re children.
Storage spaces include the usual – glove box, two cupholders up front, centre console with storage box and lid, moulded door pockets with bottle holders – and for back-seat passengers, there are seatback pockets, bottle holders in the doors and a fold-down centre armrest with two cupholders.
The Triton GSR has a 7.0-inch touchscreen. (Image: Marcus Craft)
There’s also a roof-mounted air vent that recirculates air to the back seat from the front.
There are two USB ports up front and two 12-volt plugs, and two USB ports for those in the back seat.
All-around, the interior is a pleasant space, albeit one that’s feeling its age.
What's it like as a daily driver?
Not too shabby, but not fantastic either.
The Triton is 5305mm long (with a 3000mm wheelbase), 1815mm wide, 1795mm high, and has a listed kerb mass of 2000kg. Its dimensions almost always work in its favour on- and off-road.
It has an 11.8m turning circle and because of its light weight the Triton is quite nimble around the suburbs and even in the city.
The Triton has a listed kerb mass of 2000kg. (Image: Marcus Craft)
It’s reasonably quiet and comfortable and handles daily-driving tasks with very little fuss.
Visibility is generally fine all-round, except where it becomes narrowed by the design of the rear windows.
Steering is tilt-and-telescopic adjustable and well-balanced, but the irregular surfaces of rough country roads and bush tracks force some jitters into the steering wheel.
The Triton has a mostly smooth auto (with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters if you want to get lively) and decent acceleration from a standing start, but it does still exhibit noticeable diesel clatter on the move and reveals more than its fair share of sluggishness during overtaking moves.
Visibility becomes narrowed by the design of the rear windows. (Image: Marcus Craft)
It's pretty decent: nimble and torquey off-road, and it benefits greatly from Mitsubishi’s Super Select II 4WD system.
As mentioned, Super Select II offers four modes: 2H (two-wheel drive, rear), 4H (4X4 but in an all-wheel drive mode, safe to use at high speed on bitumen), 4HLC (4X4/all-wheel drive with locked centre diff; off-road driving at 30km/h or so) and 4LLC (4X4/all-wheel drive with locked centre diff and crawler gears engaged; only for low-speed 4WDing (below 30km/h).
Super Select II worked well during dirt-track driving in 4H and a prolonged bout of 4WDing through soft sand on this test, with tyre pressures dropped to 20psi.
Low-range gearing is good, off-road driver-assist tech, such as hill descent control, is handy, and the rear diff lock is, of course, a real boost when it comes to safe progress during low-speed low-range 4WDing.
The Triton GSR benefits greatly from Mitsubishi’s Super Select II 4WD system. (Image: Marcus Craft)
The Triton is easy to navigate along narrow bush tracks, tight turns and squeezed-in approaches to climbs, descents, and creek crossings that would force bigger utes to inch back and forth until they could successfully accomplish the manoeuvre.
Speaking of creek crossings, we never had the opportunity to tackle anything deeper than shallow mud puddles along bush tracks, but, for your reference, wading depth is a listed 500mm.
A soft tonneau cover covers the cargo area. (Image: Marcus Craft)
Its undercarriage feels prone to rubbing the dirt while traversing more difficult terrain so you must drive the Triton with focus.
The tub is 1520mm long, 1470mm wide (1085mm between the wheel arches), and 475mm deep, with 865mm from floor height to ground.
So, it’s a small tray in the grand scheme of things – short and narrow – and it’s higher off the ground, so loading gear in is that much harder for those of us (ahem, me) who have played Grumpy in the annual Snow White and the Seven Dwarves local panto.
Payload capacity is a listed 900kg. (Image: Marcus Craft)
A soft tonneau cover covers the cargo area and the tub has four tie-down points.
Payload capacity is a listed 900kg. Maximum towing capacity 750kg (unbraked) and 3100kg (braked).
The GSR has a GVM of 2900kg and a GCM of 5885kg.
As always, a set of decent all-terrain tyres and a mild aftermarket suspension lift would help make this an even more capable 4WD.
How much fuel does it consume?
Official fuel consumption is 8.6L/100km on the combined cycle.
On this test I recorded actual fuel consumption, from pump to pump, of 9.6L/100km.
The Triton has a 75-litre fuel tank, so going by those fuel-use figures I’d expect to get a touring range of about 750km, after removing 30km as a safe-distance buffer.
The Triton GSR has an official fuel consumption figure of 8.6L/100km on the combined cycle. (Image: Marcus Craft)
Note: your fuel consumption will likely be higher than that – and consequently your driving range will be lower – because all we had onboard were a set of four Maxtrax in a carry bag, a vehicle-recovery kit, a tyre-puncture repair kit, a first-aid kit, an air compressor, and some tools – and my embarrassingly large ego.
You’ll be carrying a lot more than that on a weekend out bush or along a beach with your mates or your family – think food and water, camping equipment, as well as everything else that gets taken on a trip away.
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
The Triton is a fun thing to drive because it’s simple to use, easy to feel comfortable in, and you can put plenty of faith in its combination of driver-assist tech and mechanicals – I’ve always been impressed with the efficacy of Super Select II.
While this ute is definitely feeling its age – and seems decidedly behind the times when compared to newer rivals – the Triton still makes a lot of sense as an adventure-travel platform.
There’s a new one on its way, in 2024, but in the meantime the current-generation Triton still manages to hold on to some credibility as a value-for-money purchase. And the GSR offers the most of the Triton line-up.
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