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Save up to $6,455 on a new Mitsubishi Triton
Tim O'Brien | Oct 5, 2009 | 51 Comments

2010 MN Triton GLX-R And GL-R First Drive Review

IT'S GRUNTIER, is considerably more refined, uses less fuel, has a longer and larger cargo tub, and is more comfortable at the wheel than the outgoing 3.2 litre turbo-diesel ML Triton.

So, Triton enthusiasts, you can stop panicking now. The new MY10 MN Triton is better. It’s as simple as that.

And don’t get all het up about the downsizing of the diesel up front – down from 3.2 litres to 2.5. The new 4D56 HP (for ‘high-power’) unit is a cracker. Sure, it’s smaller; but it’s a much smoother, quieter and lustier piece of work.

Its 131kW of power is class-leading; and the 400Nm (in manual versions) it produces at just 2000rpm, is only shaded by the Navara’s 403Nm. That’s a gain of 11 percent in power and 17 percent in torque outputs over the previous 4M41 3.2 litre diesel engine.

(Automatic variants get similar power but a lower 350Nm of torque.)

Those numbers work very well on the road and even better in the rough. Importantly, if you are considering a Triton for work duties – you know, concrete mixer, three lard-arses and a cubit of mud in the tray – or your boat has the dimensions and subtlety of a bulk ore carrier, the MN Triton also has improved towing capacity.

By how much? Up to 2.7 tonne (braked) for the dual-cab pickups, and 3.0 tonne (braked) for cab-chassis models.

With standard driver and front passenger SRS airbags, and stability control and side and curtain airbags available on diesel dual-cab models, the MN Triton is also safer.

We took two of the new models out of Byron Bay for a stint of highway, gravel road and off-road driving; the new GL-R manual for the on-road sections, and the GLX-R in automatic into the rough.

We’ll talk about the fight in the dog shortly (and the news is encouraging), but what’s the MN Triton got – inside and out – and where has it been improved?

 

The Drive

It’s no secret (read through our earlier reviews): we like the way the Triton drives here at TMR.

The previous ML model, in our view, led the segment for its superior mix of on-road comfort and off-road capability. Its replacement, the MN, is better again – or so it would seem after this first drive.

Of course, a longer test across a wider range of driving conditions and surfaces will tell the tale (the test vehicles were also carrying a little ballast in the tub, arguably to better emulate real-world driving conditions).

But, on first impressions, the MN would appear to have raised the bar for the versatile workhorse cum family transport commercial sector.

The GL-R we had for the highway and gravel roads leg proved again just how well Mitsubishi sets up a ‘compromise’ suspension. When you’re buying a 4x4 work-ute with real off-road capability, you probably prefer not have your eyeballs shaken out of your head whenever you point it at the tarmac. Probably.

Some can be a tad wearing to live with on this score, but not the Triton. It’s quite at home on the highway and surprisingly well-balanced and easy to live with even on secondary roads.

Its double wishbone front suspension and leaf-spring rear with solid axle works better than a bald description of its engineering might suggest (it’s a well-worn and well-proven combo).

The Triton though manages to do it better than most. The suspension tuning provides good initial compliance, allowing the suspension to ‘soak-up’ road imperfections, while being firm enough to carry nearly a tonne in the tray (972kg to be exact) without scraping along the road on its belly.

Relative to its light commercial sector, it is quite free of jarring over poor roads and broken bitumen. It is also commendably quiet with very little wind noise and road roar finding its way into the cabin – the Triton is better, in fact, than the new Outlander on the road roar front.

It’s the gutsy 4D56 2.5 litre HP diesel however that most transforms the drive.

The evident (and sometimes wearing) diesel rattle of the older 4M41 3.2 litre unit is much improved with the 2.5 litre in the new model. At the wheel it is all-but absent. On road, and when working, there is just a nice rounded ‘hum’ accompanying things which is neither intrusive nor unpleasant.

Also helping things is the smooth-shifting and nicely weighted five-speed manual transmission we had in the GL-R for the road legs of the trip. The clutch action is a little long, but the ratios are well suited to the characteristics of the engine and the right gear falls nicely to hand when rowing the MN along.

It is quite car-like and well-mannered on the road, and it’s only when pushing through turns or on undulating secondary roads that you’re reminded of the MN’s commercial underpinning.

Sure, it’s a high-riding ute so it’s not designed for hunting down the apexes. But, provided you make allowances for the inevitable understeer, it is surprisingly stable and can be rowed along with confidence.

Even over the worst stretches, you wouldn’t describe it as harsh or unforgiving. But the quality is in the breeding. From the day the first Pajero arrived twenty-five plus years ago, Mitsubishi has always managed the highway and off-road compromise better than most.

For the off-road work, we swapped into the GLX-R automatic. With Mitsubishi’s ‘Super Select’ 4WD system below, diff-lock and ample torque underfoot, the GLX-R made short work of things in the rough.

While the tracks were dry, and would have presented more of a challenge to the Bridgestone Dueler boots had there been mud underfoot, the Triton had no trouble with the deeply rutted steep climbs and descents.

The Super Select system is little short of brilliant. By directing traction front and back to where it can be used, it allows you to tackle things steadily, to simply rely on the 400Nm of torque underfoot and to ‘wind’ your way up and over obstacles.

We’ve come to trust and appreciate the ML over even the toughest off-road tracks. On the basis of this first drive, the MN would appear to have lost none of its predecessor’s ability as a hard-working and almost effortlessly capable 4x4.

 

The Verdict

The new MN Triton is, in our view, still class leader in the dual-cab 4x4 segment. Its combination of on-road compliance and comfort, coupled with workhorse robustness and genuine off-road capability, tip the scales its way.

Others do some things better, sure, but for sheer versatility and all-round capability, the Triton makes very appealing buying.

Now with a longer tray bed, a stronger but more refined and fuel-efficient diesel, plus some noticeable interior and exterior refinements, the MN is an improved car in nearly every way over the ML.

For those who may have been worried that the move to the smaller diesel would be a retrograde step for Mitsubishi, the reality would appear to be otherwise.

So, whether you have work, play or family duties in mind, put the MN Triton on the list for consideration.

You will likely find, as we have, that sequels can sometimes be better than the original.

The Drive

It’s no secret (read through our earlier reviews): we like the way the Triton drives here at TMR.

The previous ML model, in our view, led the segment for its superior mix of on-road comfort and off-road capability. Its replacement, the MN, is better again – or so it would seem after this first drive.

Of course, a longer test across a wider range of driving conditions and surfaces will tell the tale (the test vehicles were also carrying a little ballast in the tub, arguably to better emulate real-world driving conditions).

But, on first impressions, the MN would appear to have raised the bar for the versatile workhorse cum family transport commercial sector.

The GL-R we had for the highway and gravel roads leg proved again just how well Mitsubishi sets up a ‘compromise’ suspension. When you’re buying a 4x4 work-ute with real off-road capability, you probably prefer not have your eyeballs shaken out of your head whenever you point it at the tarmac. Probably.

Some can be a tad wearing to live with on this score, but not the Triton. It’s quite at home on the highway and surprisingly well-balanced and easy to live with even on secondary roads.

Its double wishbone front suspension and leaf-spring rear with solid axle works better than a bald description of its engineering might suggest (it’s a well-worn and well-proven combo).

The Triton though manages to do it better than most. The suspension tuning provides good initial compliance, allowing the suspension to ‘soak-up’ road imperfections, while being firm enough to carry nearly a tonne in the tray (972kg to be exact) without scraping along the road on its belly.

Relative to its light commercial sector, it is quite free of jarring over poor roads and broken bitumen. It is also commendably quiet with very little wind noise and road roar finding its way into the cabin – the Triton is better, in fact, than the new Outlander on the road roar front.

It’s the gutsy 4D56 2.5 litre HP diesel however that most transforms the drive.

The evident (and sometimes wearing) diesel rattle of the older 4M41 3.2 litre unit is much improved with the 2.5 litre in the new model. At the wheel it is all-but absent. On road, and when working, there is just a nice rounded ‘hum’ accompanying things which is neither intrusive nor unpleasant.

Also helping things is the smooth-shifting and nicely weighted five-speed manual transmission we had in the GL-R for the road legs of the trip. The clutch action is a little long, but the ratios are well suited to the characteristics of the engine and the right gear falls nicely to hand when rowing the MN along.

It is quite car-like and well-mannered on the road, and it’s only when pushing through turns or on undulating secondary roads that you’re reminded of the MN’s commercial underpinning.

Sure, it’s a high-riding ute so it’s not designed for hunting down the apexes. But, provided you make allowances for the inevitable understeer, it is surprisingly stable and can be rowed along with confidence.

Even over the worst stretches, you wouldn’t describe it as harsh or unforgiving. But the quality is in the breeding. From the day the first Pajero arrived twenty-five plus years ago, Mitsubishi has always managed the highway and off-road compromise better than most.

For the off-road work, we swapped into the GLX-R automatic. With Mitsubishi’s ‘Super Select’ 4WD system below, diff-lock and ample torque underfoot, the GLX-R made short work of things in the rough.

While the tracks were dry, and would have presented more of a challenge to the Bridgestone Dueler boots had there been mud underfoot, the Triton had no trouble with the deeply rutted steep climbs and descents.

The Super Select system is little short of brilliant. By directing traction front and back to where it can be used, it allows you to tackle things steadily, to simply rely on the 400Nm of torque underfoot and to ‘wind’ your way up and over obstacles.

We’ve come to trust and appreciate the ML over even the toughest off-road tracks. On the basis of this first drive, the MN would appear to have lost none of its predecessor’s ability as a hard-working and almost effortlessly capable 4x4.

Verdict

The new MN Triton is, in our view, still class leader in the dual-cab 4x4 segment. Its combination of on-road compliance and comfort, coupled with workhorse robustness and genuine off-road capability, tip the scales its way.

Others do some things better, sure, but for sheer versatility and all-round capability, the Triton makes very appealing buying.

Now with a longer tray bed, a stronger but more refined and fuel-efficient diesel, plus some noticeable interior and exterior refinements, the MN is an improved car in nearly every way over the ML.

For those who may have been worried that the move to the smaller diesel would be a retrograde step for Mitsubishi, the reality would appear to be otherwise.

So, whether you have work, play or family duties in mind, put the MN Triton on the list for consideration.

You will likely find, as we have, that sequels can sometimes be better than the original.

Save up to $6,455 on a new Mitsubishi Triton
Get the best deal on this car!
Get a great deal from our national accredited supply network. Fill in the form or call 1300 438 639
 
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