4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

IN CRE­AT­ING the fifth-gen­er­a­tion (MQ) Tri­ton, re­leased in early 2015, Mit­subishi didn’t try to build a big ute like the Ford Ranger, Volk­swa­gen Amarok, Holden Colorado, or any other new-gen­er­a­tion ute re­leased a few years ear­lier. In­stead it took the pre­vi­ous-gen­er­a­tion Tri­ton, pulled it apart and put it back to­gether with a whole raft of new or re­vised parts. The most no­table of th­ese are an all-new 2.4-litre en­gine, new six-speed man­ual, heav­ily re­vised sus­pen­sion and a slightly big­ger cabin. The re­sult is a smaller ute than the Ranger (and friends), with a lower GVM and less tow­ing ca­pac­ity. The Tri­ton’s rel­a­tively short wheel­base also means just about the en­tire tray is be­hind the rear axle, which isn’t ideal for car­ry­ing heav­ier loads.

How­ever, the Tri­ton has a cou­ple of big aces up its sleeve in the form of ex­tremely sharp pric­ing and se­lectable full-time 4x4 in the mid- and top­spec mod­els – the Volk­swa­gen Amarok auto is the other main­stream ute to of­fer full-time 4x4.

The Tri­ton’s value for money comes to the fore in the top-spec Ex­ceed model, our pick of the range. For the price of most com­peti­tors’ mid-spec man­ual dual-cabs you get a five-speed auto as standard, Su­per Se­lect se­lectable full-time 4x4 sys­tem, a rear locker, key­less en­try, push­but­ton start, leather seats (with elec­tric ad­just for the driver), sat-nav via a seven-inch touch­screen, and a re­vers­ing cam­era. You also get auto wipers and head­lights, pad­dle shifters for the five-speed auto, dual-zone cli­mate, day­time run­ning lamps, side­steps, and all the safety stuff that’s standard across the rest of the range. Against com­peti­tors’ top-spec dual-cabs you’ll save be­tween $6K and $12K.

The Tri­ton’s new 2.4-litre donk is quite revvy given its max­i­mum torque isn’t avail­able un­til 2500rpm, but the auto ef­fec­tively masks any sense there’s in­suf­fi­cient power at low revs. The en­gine is rel­a­tively smooth, quiet and re­fined. By class stan­dards the Tri­ton also of­fers com­pet­i­tive per­for­mance thanks in part to its light weight.

On the move the Tri­ton has light and sporty han­dling com­pared to most in its class, and it ben­e­fits from the all-roads func­tion­al­ity of se­lectable full-time 4x4. With Su­per Se­lect the driver can also se­lect rear-wheel drive, which stands this sys­tem apart from con­ven­tional full­time 4x4 sys­tems.

The Ex­ceed isn’t class-lead­ing when off-road, but its rear locker puts it in front of lower-spec Tri­tons. The rel­a­tively short wheel­base helps in tight sit­u­a­tions and the Su­per Se­lect means you can have 4x4 drive with­out lock­ing the cen­tre diff, which can be very use­ful at times.

The Ex­ceed’s cabin is nicely de­tailed and the driver has the ben­e­fit of tilt-and-reach steer­ing wheel ad­just­ment, which isn’t standard on many com­peti­tor utes. All up, the Ex­ceed is great value.

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