WORKSITE WHEELS: Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R turbo diesel

That’s a bit like being surprised when your Commodore gets bogged on a bush track somewhere in the boondocks. But choose the right vehicle for the conditions, and you’ll be as happy as a pig in the proverbial. This difference could not have been more clearly highlighted when I drove the new Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R turbo diesel. That’s because the car I was testing immediately before it was the new Mitsubishi Evo X (as in 10). That vehicle gets to 100 kilometres per hour in 5.2 seconds and has enough cornering grip to move your face around to where your ears are.But not everyone wants that. Something in between is most people’s choice. However, there are still plenty of buyers who want a greater emphasis on off-road ability, load-carrying capability and a level of all-round ruggedness that the typical SUV or soft roader simply can’t give. That’s where the Triton comes in. Sure, it’s a light commercial, but the way it drives is not much different to many of the full-sized four-wheel drives that are often used as family runabouts.The vehicle we tried was the automatic GLX-R, equipped with a 3.2-litre, common rail turbo diesel four cylinder engine which makes 118 kilowatts and 343 nanometres. Peak torque comes in at 2000 revolutions per minute, while power tops out at 3800rpm. Tritons are available in single and dual-cab form, with either a ute rear body style or a cab-chassis. There is also the choice of 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains. The 4×4 is available with the 3.2-litre V6 diesel as tested, or a 3.5-litre V6 petrol. The 4×2 can be had with a 2.5-litre diesel, 2.4-litre petrol or the 3.5-litre V6 petrol. The latest advance with the Triton (at the time of writing) was the collection of cogs sitting behind the engine. Mitsubishi has now endowed the 4×4 Triton VR, GLX-R and GLS models (but not the GLX 4×4) with the same four-mode transfer gearbox that is available in the Pajero, which it calls Super Select. While Super Select comprises the usual 4×2 high range and 4×4 high range modes, it also has high range 4×4 with the centre differential locked, and low range 4×4 with centre differential locked.4×4 high range and 4×4 high range with the centre diff locked can be selected on the fly – obviously very useful when venturing onto very loose or rough terrain and where the vehicle’s momentum is important.Mitsubishi says the Super Select 4×4 system gives the Triton a distinct advantage over its direct competitors, which continue to offer traditional part-time 4×4 systems across their 4×4 utility ranges. The Triton’s long-travel suspension, which includes leaf springs and a live axle at the back and independent double wishbones at the front, is simple but very effective when doing the tasks it was designed for. The setup is exactly what you need when hauling the vehicle’s rated capacity of almost 1 tonne in the tray over rough ground. The same would apply to its towing capacity, which for the GLX-R is 2500kg if the trailer is braked and 750kg for an unbraked trailer. The GLX-R’s interior is well appointed for a light commercial, with a built-in Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone kit, multi-function screen in the centre of the dashboard which includes an electronic compass and an altimeter.The rear window at the back of the cab is also powered, and can be lowered via a switch on the centre console to provide some extra flow-through ventilation. There are also cup holders in the cabin and in the doors, which can accommodate varying container sizes.The GLX-R comes with a hard tonneau cover, which is opened via two locks on top of the cover towards the rear. To open the tailgate, the tonneau cover must be opened first, which can be cumbersome when you want to quickly throw some gear in the back and get underway. While the styling of the current ML Triton may not be described as beautiful, Mitsubishi’s efforts in making a nonetheless attractive and refreshingly different-looking vehicle are deserving of praise.The rugged styling is backed up by what felt like bulletproof mechanicals, particularly in the diesel form we tested, and while the machine as a whole is not delicate, that is indeed its greatest asset.SPECIFICATIONSMitsubishi Triton GLX-R 3.2 diesel autoRRP: $48,990Engine: 3.2-litre common rail turbo dieselPower: 118kW @ 3800rpmTorque: 343Nm @ 2000rpmBrakes: front – ventilated discs; rear – drumsSuspension: front – double wishbones; rear – live axle, leaf springsMaximum payload: 920kg (auto); 930kg (manual)Towing capacity: 2500kg (braked); 750kg (unbraked) Crash rating: 4-star ANCAPFuel: dieselClaimed fuel economy: 9.9 litres/100km

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