Mitsubishi Triton VRX $62,990
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.