Mitsubishi Triton Review; we like it, but wouldn’t get one

Many of you will know that we’ve had our 2016 Isuzu Dmax now for about 5 years, and had a heap of fun with it. What you won’t know though, is we’ve also had a 2019 Mitsubishi Triton for the last couple of years as well, and I’ve had a lot of time to get acquainted with it. 

Mitsubishi Triton
The Mitsubishi Triton I’ve been using for nearly 2 years

Truth be told, we don’t actually own the vehicle and by the time the post comes out I won’t have it any more, but it has been a work provided company car for the better part of two years, and I’ve driven it around 30,000km to and from work, for general business purposes and a small amount of private use, as needed.

Before we go any further, there’s a few things that you should know. The first is that the Triton has barely been off road, and I’ve never taken it on anything worse than the sand track to the side of our building at work, and some gravel roads.

I’m not sure if its insured off road, and we have a purpose built vehicle for that, so when we head away the Triton stays at work. As such, I won’t comment on its off road ability, as it wouldn’t be fair to do so.

I haven’t paid for fuel for the Triton either, and just fill up at a Caltex or Ampol fuel station using a work funded fuel card.

Lastly, you should know that despite quite liking the vehicle, I wouldn’t ever get this model Triton for my own use and I go into this further down.

Mitsubishi Triton
The interior of the Triton

Triton vs Dmax

I’m only going to comment on things that I can accurately review, and one of those is a direct comparison between our Isuzu Dmax and the Mitsubishi Triton, which is quite a bit newer.

Both vehicles are base model, so a fairly reasonable comparison, with the Triton having a tub and a well body canopy on top. So, here’s my assessment:

The Triton would destroy the Dmax in a race

If you were to compare our Dmax against the Triton I’ve been driving around, the Triton would absolutely kill it in acceleration from 0 – 110km/h.

I actually find it quite surprising, because the Dmax is 130kW and 380nm, and the Triton is 133kw and 430nm. The Dmax is 5 speed, and a 3 litre turbo diesel motor, whilst the Triton is 6 speed and a 2.4 litre, but it packs a surprising amount of punch.

Loaded up I would say there is much less of a difference, and you have to remember that our Dmax has bigger tyres and is much heavier, but even in its stock form it was a lot slower than the Triton.

Either way, its not really something of great importance to me, as I don’t need a fast 4WD, but its certainly interesting.

Well bodies and their canopies are a pain

The Triton came with a well body and a normal fibreglass or metal well body canopy. These are totally impractical for me, and not something I would ever buy.

I’m really passionate about advising you to re-consider getting this sort of setup; its just not as good as a gull wing canopy. If you want to know more about canopies, we have a huge guide here – Buying a 4WD Ute Canopy.

At work it would be much more convenient if it was just an open tray, or at the very least if it had roof racks.

Well bodies are just frustrating; you can see into them and have very limited security with flimsy locks and a piece of glass that can easily be broken.

Then, they are impossible to access from the sides as the windoors are tiny and hard to reach into, and from the rear you have to lean over the tail gate.

They are good for throwing small gear in the back that you don’t want to get wet, and you don’t care if people see, but they are certainly not my cup of tea.

Triton canopy and wellbody
A tub and canopy like this is so impractical and frustrating
Gull Wing Canopy
I’d take a gull wing canopy any day of the week

The Dmax seats are far less comfortable

It’s funny how you only know what you know. When we had our Dmax initially I was quite happy with the seat in terms of comfort, and never really complained about them.

However, since getting the Triton, I can clearly say that the seats in the Mitsubishi are so much more comfortable to sit in, and I actually hate the fact that I now know this, as it makes long drives in the Dmax annoying!

The Mitsubishi seats are better shaped, and have better lumbar support, which is nice on a long journey. I much prefer the seating position and room in the Dmax, but the actual seats in the Triton are a lot nicer, and Sarah agrees.

Triton seats
The Triton seats are a lot more comfortable to sit on

Triton problems

The Triton has been basically flawless. I can feel the automatic transmission flare a little on a really cold morning for the first hundred metres, I’ve gotten a couple of punctures from screws on the road and that’s it.

To be fair, with only around 50,000km on the clock you shouldn’t have had any problems either, but its a good start.

Triton fuel economy

I can’t say I’ve ever really been one to pay too much attention to the economy of the Triton, but it seems to comfortably do under 10L/100km, and despite having a speedo that is way out (which is quite normal), it goes well.

If you’ve just got a new 4WD, check the speedo against a GPS. You’ll find its common to read nearly 10% out. We have to do 109 on the speedo to actually do 100km/h, which can be annoying.

The fuel economy of this should be as good as it gets though; its bog stock, has barely any weight in it and is running the factory suspension and tyres.

Triton fuel economy
The Triton is decent on fuel

I wouldn’t get one for myself

I mentioned above that I wouldn’t get one of these model Mitsubish Triton’s for myself, and its for two big reasons.

I don’t fit comfortably

The first, and more minor reason is that a part of the door digs into my knee, no matter how I put the seat and it drives me nuts. 

For some strange reason, Mitsubishi have put the square section where your window controls sits down really low, and it sticks out quite far and has a 90 degree, barely rounded section. No matter how I sit, the side of my knee ends up resting on this and I get a painful knee.

This is not a normal person problem. I’m 6″6, or around 200cm, and my legs are giant, and I have a unique set of problems as a result of it. The Mitsubishi Triton makes this particular issue quite annoying and uncomfortable.

I’ve resorted to pushing the chair slightly further forward, which makes it as comfortable as possible, but I remember being quite frustrated when I first got the vehicle.

Triton hurts my knee
The Triton kills my right knee, and I hate it

The load distribution problem

The second, and more major issue is to do with the rear axle location. Despite having been moved backwards slightly in this model, its still far too forwards, and results in it being almost impossible to put any weight in the tray without it overhanging the axle.

Weight behind the rear axle of a dual cab is never a good thing, and contributes hugely to the number of bent chassis experiences that people are having every day of the week.

In fact, many of you might have seen the photo going around of 4 or 5 Mitsubishi Tritons running giant campers on the back of a dual cab, and they are all bent where the cab ends and tray starts.

Out of curiosity, I went and grabbed a tape measure to see what the distance is from the centre of the rear axle to the centre of the tow ball, and its almost 1500mm.

Our Dmax is 1397mm, which although its only 100mm is far better in terms of breaking your chassis. If you have an older Triton, the length is going to be even more, which is just scary.

Triton overhang
Mitsubishi Triton’s have always had bad overhang, and its not a good thing

I also had a quick measure from the back of the cab of each vehicle to the centre of the axle, and the Triton is only 280mm, whereas the Dmax is nearly 410mm.

This extra room allows for anything heavy to be placed on top, or even in front of the rear axle, which is the best place for it to go.

On the Triton, any weight you add is virtually on or behind the rear axle, which explains why so many of them have bent in the past. I’ve not seen any new ones do this, but its still a major worry for me.

Thinking about those two measurements, you can see that there’s 130mm less room on the Triton from the centre of the axle to the back of the cab, but the rear axle is only 100mm further from the tow ball.

The back of the Triton’s cab slopes quite substantially, and this stops you from putting the tray close, which just amplifies the load distribution problem.

If you use a Mitsubishi Triton for towing, you’d have to be very wary of the tow ball download, which is potentially why they only rate them at 310kg instead of 350kg like most vehicles.

The further the distance between the tow ball and the rear axle relevant to the wheel base, the worse it will handle towing.

Triton Tow Bar
The further forward the rear axle, the more leverage from tow ball weight too

Don’t get me wrong, both of these points are specific, and potentially only relevant to a small portion of buyers, but they are a show stopper for me. As a general vehicle for putting around town and taking light loads, its fantastic, but its not for me as a touring 4WD.

Mitsubishi’s have historically been very under-rated

There seems to be a bit of hate and shade thrown towards Mitsubishi’s, and I’ve never really understood why. I’m long past the point of caring what people drive; if it does what you want it to, its doing a good job. 

My Dad has always had Pajero’s, and I reckon has a bit of a soft spot for them. I’ve never really loved or hated them, but I can say with complete honesty that Mitsubish 4WD’s have always been a bit under-rated, and in many ways are great value for money.

The Pajero for example has always been a bit less refined than the Prado, but a much better value vehicle, and Mitsubishi make good quality gear most of the time. Yes, they are different, but they are competing in the same niche.

Towing with a Pajero
My folks are onto their 3rd Pajero, and love it

Overall thoughts

I’ve often said that the Triton is the cheapest, well known dual cab on the market, and provide excellent value.

Yes, you can get a Mahindra, or another much less known dual cab, but they aren’t popular enough to comment on (and I’ve had zero experience with them too).

Triton’s have gone up in price a lot recently (what hasn’t), and a lot of fleet vehicles have moved to the Mitsubishi Triton, with limited negative feedback.

As a vehicle, I really like it, and I’d hop in the Triton any day of the week for driving around town over the Dmax, but despite both being dual cab Utes they are quite different, and for our purposes the Dmax is far better.

Hopefully these thoughts have been of use to you. I’d have liked to compare their abilities off road, but I’m not keen on taking the vehicle where it probably shouldn’t be going!

Mitsubishi Triton thoughts
We like it, but wouldn’t get one for ourselves

Whilst I can’t continue this review as I’ve handed the keys in, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have!

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  1. Hey Woody,

    Thanks for your detailed, and interesting comment. Sounds like the Dmax is going very well for you, overall.

    At the time of purchasing, the Dmax was the most reliable, and best value option for us. I ruled the Ford Ranger out based on reliability issues (transmission, and engine, plus a whole realm of smaller issues). To be fair, they are sold in higher quantities, but after owning a 2WD Ford many moons ago I don’t have any inclination to get another one.

    The Hilux is a solid vehicle, but I wasn’t sold on the 2.8L engine with its DPF issues, which is still an ongoing legal battle in Australia, and I was keen to see how other vehicles compare to our past of owning multiple Toyota’s. Isuzu have been building diesels for a long time, and their motor was a huge selling point for me.

    In Australia at least, a lot of the sales go to fleet customers, that buy hundreds of 4WD’s for their work, and there’s always a new flavour of the month, depending on what is available, what mood the accountants are in and how much they want to spend. Traditionally its always been Hilux’s, and then they moved to the Ford Rangers, and now it seems the Tritons are the fleet favourite.

    Popularity is certainly a good indicator, but I look at what is most suitable for us as a family, and don’t pay too much attention to the sheep mentality.

    If I went through the exercise again, I’d happily look at everything again; we are not brand or model biased in any way, but for us, reliability is significantly more important than other considerations. Our Dmax has just about ticked over 100k, and whilst we’ve had issues, its been a good vehicle, and I can say I’m happy with it.

    All the best

  2. Harland Wood says:

    Hi Aaron,
    Thanks for a really informative and balanced, practical 4 wheel driving, camping & over-landing website.
    I am interested to know a bit more about your assessment of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger which both enjoy higher sales in both Australia and South Africa and reasons for choosing the Isuzu D-max ahead of them, in the context too of the Toyota’s (Hilux and 70-series & other Land-cruisers) being more popular with the over-landing and off-road crowd (not to say that popularity means better; many factors at play here).
    We have owned a 2006 Isuzu KB (D-max) 300 double-cab (crew cab) with the 4JH1 motor from new, has about 380000 km on the clock and has giving good service; a bit on it:
    The KB 300 engine has been near bullet-proof and drive-line very good too
    – had an issue along the way with TPS needing replacement twice now (not bad in nearly 400 000km) as well as with the EGR system functioning but that seems to be par for the course with diesel engines (no diesel pump or injector issues so far).
    – no gearbox issues (5-speed manual; could do with overdrive top gear – revs 3000 rpm at 120 km/h))
    – original clutch was replaced pre-emptively at 235 000 km (with associated components while on that job) and the replacement is still good at 380,000 km (145 000 km on it to date).
    – diff still good (2 WD with diff-lock)
    – prop-shaft centre bearing and u-joint have been replaced (can’t remember frequency but performed as part of routine maintenance and not been an issue)
    – an unusual but understandable issue and worth checking on higher-mileage vehicles was that of the wiring harness and some individual wiring insulation abrading through where it goes around the left front corner of the cylinder head leading to a short in wires to the ECU & some others, the engine cutting out and vehicle needing to be loaded on a roll-back truck and taken to auto electricians for wiring repairs. Fortunately happened in town :).
    – power steering pump and steering rack have each been replaced (once in 380 000 km – pump at about 200 000 km and rack at about 350,000 km)
    – have had to replace wear components on front suspension (eg ball joints, tie-rod ends) and also wheel bearings, try to use best quality parts including OEM on ball joints for safety and longevity (Isuzu & probably other Ute mfrs would do well do work on strengthening the front IFS components and making the setup more robust).
    The vehicle is serviced every 10,000 km with replacement of oil and oil filters every service and air and fuel filters every second service – will probably replace fuel filter every service in future; motor still standard.
    Thank you,
    kind regards,
    Woody (from South Africa)

  3. Hey Scott,

    Cheers for your perspective. Sounds like you’ve had a good run out of your Triton, and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.

    I don’t really have an issue with the Dmax seats, in terms of arriving in pain, but the Triton ones are noticeably more comfortable.

    Mitsubishi are also a bit smarter with their ratings; 3.1 is far more suitable for your average dual cab Ute.

    All the best

  4. Scott Jenkins says:

    I could not agree more on the light years of difference in the seats between a Triton and a D-Max/ Colorado. (Same cars, same interiors, just re-badged)
    I have owned my 2016 MQ Triton since new and a few years ago, had a Colorado as a company car.
    I likened the seat comfort issue as comparing a Leyland Mini to a Lamborghini. It was so bad in the Colorado, that I often took my own car with my own fuel to work just so I didn’t get a sore back for days.
    I spoke to my brother-in-law in passing about this issue and he stated that was the sole reason he sold his 1yo Colorado Z71 and bought a second-hand Triton.
    I agreed with his statement that I don’t really care what it can and can’t do if I am not comfortable. No way would I spend what Isuzu (or previously Holden) were asking to be uncomfortable especially if was for the purpose of touring. I don’t want to get to my destination and have to spend precious leisure time recovering from a cheap interior build that cost more than a comfortable, comparable, cheaper vehicle.
    Oh, and once you compare actual GVM, GCM, payload and all other towing figures, the Triton comes out on top too. I think the D-Max towing 3.5T only has a payload of 200-300kgs. The Triton still has 795kgs towing 3.1T. That payload figure includes driver, passengers and accessories, so if you have a bullbar, that will eat into it too.

    Just my 2 cents worth anyway.
    Keep up the good work. ?