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2008 Elvis Festival

Road Test

Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R   (petrol/auto)

by Ken Walker

6th June, 2008

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The Mitsubishi Triton has a good record and, now, we find that it is getting even better!

The ML series Triton 4x4 double cab range is offered with a choice of 2 engines, a petrol-fuelled 3.5 litre V6 or a 3.2 litre common rail diesel. Transmission choices are between a 5 speed manual and a 4 speed automatic, depending upon the engine and model chosen. Numerous trim levels are currently on the market for the expansive 4x4 range, namely GLX, VR, GLX-R and GLS. Additional versions include a single cab 4x4 cab/chassis and a big variety of 4x2 single and double cab utes and cab/chassis models.

Our test package, on this occasion, is the Triton GLX-R double cab 4x4 utility with a 3.5 litre V6 (petrol) engine with a 4 speed automatic transmission. This model fits into the price list at a quite competitive $44,240 (RRP). Metallic paint is an option at just $350. The unit was fitted with highway tread tyres, seemingly based on the premise that most 4x4s only drive the well travelled road (bitumen, in other words). Not that Mitsubishi is the only manufacturer to do this, as it is common amongst all the Japanese brands.

There are 27 options available for the ML Triton series from a tow ball protector costing $4.50 to a fibre glass canopy retailing for $2,750.00 (single cab), but there are no off-road tyre options. As indicated, anecdotal evidence suggests that a high percentage of 4x4 vehicles do not leave the black top, although they are more than capable of doing so. Particularly in the case of the Mitsubishi Triton which we have had off-road on a number of occasions. It is a most pleasing style of vehicle, well suited to be a 'work horse' or, as is quite commonly the case, a recreational machine.

The built-in Thailand ML series Triton is the forth generation version of a model that has sold more than 2.6 million since the L200 was introduced in 1978. This is a very easy on the eye vehicle that turns a lot of heads wherever it goes with its new styling and, particularly as a GLX-R, with its standard features.

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Indeed, it has loads of features that enhance its stylish appearance, such as sports bar, chrome grille surround, nudge bar, side steps, 17" alloy wheels, wheel arch flares, hard tonneau cover, rear step bar, chrome exterior rear view mirrors (electronically controlled) mud flaps, fog lights and body coloured bumpers. On the inside, features such as sports cloth seat trim, six speakers for the audio system, trip computer, multi-function display, leather bound steering wheel, leather bound 4WD transfer–shift lever and carpets with "GLX-R" mats are standard with the sporty GLX-R. Other Triton features complete the package. These features provide comfort without losing its admirable ability to go off-road. A 'sports' suspension system is standard with the GLX-R, as it is with the VR and GLS models.

Creature comfort items include – air conditioning (standard on 4WD models), power steering, power windows and mirrors, vanity mirror on passenger side interior sun visor, rear and side window demisters, driver’s foot rest and passenger assist grab handles. The power windows have an auto down only function on the driver’s window and auto up/down function on the rear window. As mentioned, the GLX-R test vehicle had a multi function display (MFD) in the centre of the dash which has a digital read out for outside temperature, clock with date, barometer, compass, altimeter, trip computer with fuel, speed and distance to empty functions. The MFD also shows the information for the audio system. A Bluetooth hands free mobile phone system is also available. The audio system and other controls for the air con are also located here.

Power to the wheels is provided by a smooth 3.5 litre V6 coupled to a 4 speed automatic transmission which, according to the trip computer returned an average fuel usage of 10.3 litres per hundred kms during our time with the vehicle, which was mostly highway travel, with some suburban excursions and one minor off-road diversion. The 24 valve, electronically injected, single overhead cam engine produces 135 kW of power at 4,750 rpm and 309 Nm of torque at 3,500 rpm, while not quite stump pulling power it is more than adequate to propel the vehicle with a 1 tonne load.

Changing from 2WD into 4WD off the black top is simple and easy in the Triton with the shift lever being well located. It's almost under the driver's hand. The front axle hubs are fitted with an automatic locking device meaning the driver does not have to get out of the cabin, very handy in inclement weather. This is a very capable vehicle off the main roads and I for one would not hesitate to take the GLX-R on any of the outback trails of South Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland’s corner country. As I continue my dream, I realise that, in fact, if the vehicle was properly prepared I would take it anywhere.

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On a loose gravel surface the rear wheels lose traction due to light rear end, but with a load and all terrain tyres I can’t see that this would be a problem. The Triton is fitted with a limited slip differential (LSD) on all 4x4 models as standard and a rear diff lock is optional on this package.

Steering is by power assisted rack and pinion with a turning radius of 5.4 metres. The suspension is well sorted. It features double wishbone and coil springs at the front. Rear suspension is the proven leaf springs method, with shock absorbers.  The ride quality is good.

Payload for the Triton range is 1,000 kgs and the towing capacity is 2,500 kilogrammes, provided the trailer is fitted with brakes.

Stopping the Triton is not a problem, front disc and rear drum brakes effectively provide more than adequate capabilities. ABS with EBS is standard with the GLX-R.

The package is well finished, which is what I expect with a Mitsubishi product. The company is on a high, at the present time by the way, as they continue their success in the nation's vehicle showrooms.

Overall though, I must say, that the Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R is a terrific vehicle, I like it greatly.

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