Mit­subishi Tri­ton VRX $62,990

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - 4WD UTE COMPARO -

The last time we tested a Tri­ton was (be­lieve it or not) two years ago when all our testers were im­pressed with Mit­subishi’s then new Mivec-equipped 2.4 litre turbo diesel en­gine and well-matched five-speed auto trans­mis­sion. We also agreed that the new, edgier styling was a def­i­nite im­prove­ment on the old... but were not so keen on the ride (on as well as off the road) and were split on the rel­a­tive size vis a vis the (larger, roomier) Ford/mazda/nisan/vw and Toy­ota. Fast forward 24 or so months and the key when you are pay­ing a pre­mium for a top-of-the-line model is that you are get­ting bang for your buck. In the VRX’S case you are on two dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent lev­els. One is the trans­mis­sion which uses Mit­subishi’s premier Su­per Se­lect sys­tem with its four modes – 2H, 4H and 4HLC (where LC de­notes locked cen­tral diff) and 4LLC. If you’re a tradie or ur­ban lifestyler there’s noth­ing wrong with the three-mode ‘Easy Se­lect’ op­tions (2H and 4H and 4L) plus man­ual

rear diff lock on the other, cheaper Tri­ton mod­els, mean­ing you can use your ute like any other – in 2H on tar­mac, and 4H or 4L off the road. How­ever, as well as hav­ing the ex­tra low 4LLC Mode for ex­treme mud­plug­ging or rock-step climb­ing, the Su­per Se­lect sys­tem fit­ted to the VRX al­lows you to use 4H on tar­mac. This mightn’t sound like much but if you ever take the time to read the hand­books of typ­i­cal ‘4WD’ utes like Ford’s Ranger you will find dire warn­ings that 4WD mode is only to be used on loose sur­faces. With Su­per Se­lect you can use the 4WD ca­pa­bil­ity of your VRX on gravel, snow, boat slip­ways etc etc with im­punity. Some­thing worth think­ing about if you are cur­rently ‘in the mar­ket’ for a new ute. Speak­ing of which, if the sheer size and pres­ence of a new Ranger/hilux/ Amarok/ldv, etc, leaves you wor­ry­ing about ma­noeu­ver­abil­ity, park­ing or even just bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity over the bon­net, any Tri­ton model is worth a look. Mit­subishi in­creased cabin space and with it leg and head room when it de­signed the cur­rent Gen 5 model but it is still both 100mm shorter and nar­rower than a Ranger and 200mm shorter in the wheel­base. The sharp arch of the A pil­lar does com­pro­mise head­room with the seats in their high­est po­si­tion, but oth­er­wise the cabin is a very nice place to spend some time. Like the Toy­ota’s the leather- trimmed seats lack a lit­tle bol­ster and back sup­port com­pared to the softer, more mal­leable fab­rictrimmed Mazda seats. But elec­tric ad­just­ment (driver’s only) and heating are both nice fea­tures to have. Dy­nam­i­cally, how­ever, the Tri­ton, re­mains a bit of a mixed bag. On the road the ride had a harsher edge to it than either the Mazda or the Toy­ota, while off it, things get a lit­tle too choppy a lit­tle too quickly for my ul­ti­mate lik­ing.

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