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