Mit­subishi Tri­ton

MIT­SUBISHI TRI­TON Mit­subishi’s new Tri­ton is the light­weight in this mob of utes, but does that re­ally mat­ter?

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

LOAD TEST

The Tri­ton is an-all new de­sign as of early 2015. Most no­tably, it has a new-gen­er­a­tion 2.4-litre en­gine – the small­est en­gine here bar the Navara, which is 2.3 litres but has the ben­e­fit of two se­quen­tially ar­ranged tur­bos to pro­vide ex­tra grunt.

The Tri­ton is also no­tably smaller and lighter than the Ranger and the Mazda BT-50 in par­tic­u­lar, and it’s also smaller than the Colorado and the D-Max.

The Tri­ton’s tub has four small and less use­ful tie-downs to se­cure the 800kg pal­let. Once loaded, the Tri­ton’s rear drops some 105mm – al­most twice the droop of the utes least af­fected by the load.

The trou­ble is, the Tri­ton has a no­tably short wheel­base, and most of the tub is be­hind the line of the rear axle.

The 800kg pal­let plus the driver/ob­server/tow bar also stretches the Tri­ton in terms of le­gal pay­load. The base-spec model is okay, but the top-spec Ex­ceed falls 40kg short, so tech­ni­cally the ob­server has to get out and walk!

The Tri­ton def­i­nitely feels nose up head­ing up the hill with the 800kg in the tub, al­though the steer­ing feel and gen­eral chas­sis sta­bil­ity is still okay, even if the rear sus­pen­sion does bot­tom out a few times on the big­ger bumps.

It’s worth not­ing the Tri­ton is the only ute here to of­fer full-time four-wheel drive via Mit­subishi’s ‘Su­per Se­lect’ sys­tem, which also has a two-wheel drive mode. This is no big deal on dry roads, but full-time 4x4 brings sig­nif­i­cant driv­abil­ity and safety ad­van­tages when haul­ing or tow­ing heavy loads on wet roads.

While the Tri­ton’s chas­sis cer­tainly re­acted to the weight of the pal­let, the 2.4-litre en­gine made a much bet­ter fist of things. It needs more revs than the other en­gines here to do the job (max­i­mum torque is 2500rpm), but it still did it well none­the­less. And while it likes to rev, it’s still quiet and re­fined.

If there’s one way to make a smooth-run­ning and quiet diesel en­gine, it’s to drop the ca­pac­ity to over­come the in­her­ent vi­bra­tion of the in-line four. Big fours vi­brate more than lit­tle fours, it’s as sim­ple as that.

What’s more, the Tri­ton’s 2.4 also has a low com­pres­sion ra­tio of 15.5:1 – an­other way to im­prove re­fine­ment and cut down NOx emis­sions, a ‘main-game’ is­sue right now for diesel en­gines.

The en­gine does well de­spite hav­ing only five ra­tios to play with in a gear­box that now feels old in terms of shift qual­ity.

One pos­i­tive here, how­ever, is the Tri­ton is the only ute with pad­dle shifters, which are more than handy for de­cent con­trol given the Tri­ton doesn’t have much en­gine brak­ing.

TOW TEST

I have to fess up and say that I wasn’t hold­ing out high hopes for the per­for­mance of the Mitsi on this test.

It’s specced for lighter tow­ing, and the short wheel­base and long rear over­hang of the Tri­ton has it pegged as not be­ing the most wor­thy of tow­ing con­tenders.

Well, I have to say I was most sur­prised.

Our lighter 2800kg trailer didn’t have as much vertical im­pact on the Tri­ton’s pos­te­rior as our crew thought it might. Put it this way: we knew it was there, but the ute cer­tainly wasn’t drag­ging its bum along the ground.

The big­gest star of the Mit­subishi show, how­ever, was the per­for­mance of the 133kW 2.4-litre en­gine. The diminu­tive donk punches above its weight once it gets some boost and some rpm up, and puts the 430Nm it cre­ates into play.

Sure, it’s a revvy lit­tle unit, and it suf­fers from turbo lag off the line. But at peak torque be­tween 2500-3000rpm, with the snail suck­ing in some at­mos­phere, the lit­tle Mit­subishi re­ally stepped up to the mark.

While the trans­mis­sion still needed a nudge to do the right thing at times, this was negated by the rather nifty pad­dle shift on the steer­ing col­umn.

This meant man­ual in­ter­ven­tion was a fin­ger­tip away, and Mit­subishi is to be com­mended for leav­ing the pad­dles fixed on the col­umn rather than spin­ning with the wheel it­self.

It ain’t a sports car, and the fixed pad­dle po­si­tion is much more prac­ti­cal on a 4x4 load hauler.

The smaller en­gine on thus ute meant that it doesn’t have much to give in the back pres­sure stakes. Us­ing en­gine rpm to try and hold back the Tri­ton un­der load re­sults in flight revs rather than any real brak­ing ef­fect.

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