Car Reviews

2015 Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 Exceed Review

Robert Pepper’s 2015 Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 Exceed Review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.

Editor's Rating

How we rated the 2015 Mitsubishi Triton 4x4 Exceed 89%
Practical Motoring Says: This is the best Triton ever but not the best ute ever. However, Triton has its niche - safe, easy to live with around the 'burbs, reasonable value and overall nicely family-friendly for those who are considering changing from a wagon to a ute. Our Paul Murrell said he could see himself living with one and so could I. Triton is a 2 + 2 = 5 kind of vehicle that is a good, balanced package which is better than the sum of its parts.
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2015 Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 Exceed

PRICE $47,490 (+ORC) SAFETY 5 star (36.22/37, tested in 2015) WARRANTY 5 years / 130,000 km ENGINE 2.4L diesel 4cyl POWER 133kW at 3500rpm TORQUE 430Nm at 2500rpm TRANSMISSION 5-speed automatic with paddle shift DRIVE 2WD/AWD/4WD with super-select, locking rear diff, low range crawl ratio 35:1 tyres 245/65/17 BODY 4850mm (L);  1835mm (W); 1470mm (H) TUB 1520mm x 1470mm x 475mm TURNING CIRCLE 11.8m wheelbase 3000mm WEIGHT 1965kg payload 935kg GVM 2900kg SEATStowing 750kg unbraked, 3100kg braked, gcm 5885kg rear axle load 1840kg max tbm 310kg Ground clearance 205mm Approach/ramp/departure 30/24/22 degrees (excl towbar) FUEL TANK 75 litres THIRST 7.6 L/100km ADR81/02 combined cycle FUEL diesel SPARE full-size alloy

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For our launch-based first drive check out Paul Murrell’s review.

On the outside

Triton is a smart-looking, modern ute.  It’s not macho enough for some tastes, but it is pretty distinctive and has the unique J-shape tub – more on that later.  Our test model is the top-end Exceed, and we compare it to the GLS on this page. IMG_0506

The rims may or may not be to your taste, but they’re at least offroad-ready 17s – 245/65/17 to be precise. However, there’s a lot of flat, exposed alloy there which is going to scratch up badly on rocks, ruts and logs so not the best choice for offroading.  The alloy sidesteps hang low and are standard, but they can be taken off easily.

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Utes are a compromise. Take a look at this photo of the Triton and Ranger PX Mk2, which is which is to scale. We’ve lined up the rear axles on both utes:
 
triton-ranger
 
Triton has a short wheelbase for a ute, only 3000mm.  This means it has a nice tight turning circle (again, for a ute) of 11.8m.   As a comparison, figures for the Ranger PX Mk2 2 are 3220mm and 12.7m.
 
However, there’s always a drawback.  That short wheelbase means the rear axle is not well positioned for load carrying.  There is only about 200mm between the rear axle and the far end of the tub, so a lot of load will be behind the rear axle – more than 1300mm of tub in fact.  When loaded, this is not good for driving dynamics and stress on the chassis. It also means there’s a long overhang which reduces departure angle, and decreases towing stability (reasons why that’s the case are detailed in our Towing Heavy Trailers page).  The distance from the centre of the rear axle to the towball is around 1420mm, getting on for half the wheelbase. 
 
The bottom line is that Triton is nimble and has a great turning circle, but I wouldn’t want to load the tray in the same way as some other utes, or use it with one of those big carry-on campers.  To be honest, most dualcabs don’t have the axle far back enough as it is, but it’s particularly far forwards in Triton.  Maybe that’s why Mitsubishi adopted the J-curve to hide the design.  In this latest MQ model the rear overhang has been reduced by 50mm and the front increased by 65mm.

 
There is a rare thing under the bonnet in a modern 4X4… space! Yes indeed, there is room for a second battery and a compressor. Most of the usual kit looks easy to access. There’s a few more photos in the gallery at the end of this review.
 
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Not much in the way of tiedown points, and the tonneau is only a tarp, not lockable although there is a hardtop option. Tub size is 1470mm wide (excl wheelarches) and 1520mm deep, 475mm height. The Exceed includes a black plastic tub liner. No 12v socket in the tub either. There is a single handle to drop the tailgate.

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One advantage of the rear axle being a long way forwards is that there’s quite a bit of space behind the wheelarches. Otherwise it’s a pretty standard tub, no special tiedowns or anything clever.
There are a couple of recovery points at the front and a steel bashplate, all good news. I would recommend use of a 3m long bridle rather than placing all the force on one recovery point.
 
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Room & Practicality

Up front in the Exceed we have a glovebox, and a centre console, and some rather small door pockets.  That’s it for storage, unless you count the sunnies holder. 

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There’s grab handles on the A-pillar on both sides (pictured above).  I never use them, but many people love them so it’s a nice touch.

There’s just one 12v socket up front under the dash, with one USB port.  Would be nice to have two, there’s space for it.  However, inside the centre console is another one.  Would have preferred a bit more of a storage space ahead of the gearshift.  There’s two drinks holders which for once don’t get in the way.  The centre console itself is a bit small, and has this irritating lift-up lid which just gets in the way, and you can’t put anything in it as you’re always lifting it up.  I think I’d pull it off and convert it to a lift-out tray.

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In the second row there’s three seats. The second row base tilts forwards to reveal useful amounts of storage and the spare wheel changing kit, but the second row base does not lift up.  As you can see below there’s enough room for recovery gear, emergency kit and the like. The tyre changing gear also lives here.  A slightly irritating point is where the rear seatbelt is anchored, it does get in the way but it’s liveable. 

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There’s no 12v socket in the back, no vents, and only one seat pocket on the back of the front row, so kids will fight… for me, the Exceed name should mean these features are not missed.  There is a fold-down centre table though.  The rear windows don’t go all the way down, and only the driver’s is one-touch.

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Nicely adjustable headrests. Table too.

The rear seats are comfortable enough even for adults.

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Bit basic for the Exceed name. Why no dual rear seatpocket? This is how inter-kid warfare starts! Also, not 12v, no heating or cooling.  There is room under the front seats to stash gear (or even feet).

 The Exceed gets keyless entry, but you need to touch the black square to unlock the car, not just grasp the handle.

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More interior photos in the gallery at the end of this review.

On the inside

The infotainment unit is old.  It has a fiddly interface, is slow and unattractive, and doesn’t show much of interest. As a motoring journalist you become expert at hooking up phones to Bluetooth, and this one took a reboot and bit of swearing before it cooperated, tried both at the same time and one of them worked.   Anyway, the performance was definitely below par. It does Bluetooth audio streaming, though.  There is a hidden CD player – the screen tilts forwards to reveal it.

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Easy to use heating controls. Ancient infortainment. Rear locker switch next to two blanks, lonely 12v….with an actual cigarette lighter that works! Handy for starting campfires at least.
 
The rest of the interior is ok but not modern looking, all rather grey and uninteresting. There’s not much in the way of useful information, and to cycle through the dash display you have to press a stalk on the panel itself, which is not only irritating but unsafe as you don’t want your hand reaching through the steering wheel. 
 
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Low range, rear locker engaged.  This disables traction control on the front axle unfortunately.
 
The driver’s seat is electric, with front/rear adjustable and tilt.  No memory.  The steering wheel is now both reach and tilt adjustable, and everybody should be able to get comfortable, more so than in the previous model.
 
The Triton’s interior does not have any sense of upmarket luxury, interest or innovation.  It it just a workmanlike Japanese ute.

Performance, ride and handling

There is a 133kW five-speed automatic diesel controlled either automatically or by manually selecting gears via the gearshift, or paddle shifts. The paddle shifts do not move with the steering wheel – well done Mitsubishi, that’s what we need for an offroad vehicle as you may need to change gear with half a turn of lock on and those paddles that move with the wheel get confusing. It is possible to pull away in second gear, handy for slippery conditions. That is an off-road basic that is sometimes missed.
 

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Paddleshift. Pull back to return to Drive mode.
The 4WD system is Mitsubishi’s Super Select which is fully explained here. A great feature is that Super Select allows this Triton to run constant-4WD (all wheel drive) on the road, whereas most other utes drive only the rear wheels. The torque split is 40:60 front:rear which is good for a sporting drive.
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Super Select dial and gearshift. Yes, another one that’s still push-forwards-change up.
There is traction control, a lockable centre diff, low range (crawl ratio is an ok-ish 35:1) and a rear cross-axle locking differential that, irritatingly, also disables traction control on the front axle. There are two recovery points at the front.
 
Naturally Triton has traction control. Mitsubishi can be a bit confusing about their terms, so they helpfully sent me this:
 
ASTC is the MMC term for Active Stability and Traction Control – Mitsubishi Australia marketing uses the following terms to split it into its two functions – ASC (Active Stability Control) and (ATC) Active Traction Control.
 
Sensible Aussies, as the two are quite different technologies.
 
Under the front is a nice steel bashplate.  Unfortunately, the transfer case is unprotected. In front of the rear differential is a mass damper – more on that later.
 
Ground clearance is poor, worse than some soft-roaders at 205mm. A lift won’t fix that as the rear axle is live and is the lowest part. Tyres are 245/65/17, a sensible off-road size, and it comes with reasonable rubber too, Toyo Open Country. Still, would recommend light-truck construction tyres for serious off-road use although the stock tyres should see you go most places. No silly 18- or 19-inch rims on Triton, which hasn’t forgotten it’s a ute not a show pony. The tyre overall diameter is 29.5-inches, other utes run taller tyres, e.g. 265/65/17 which have a diameter of 30.5-inches. That accounts for 12mm of the low ground clearance and would see Triton on a more liveable 218mm if Mitsubishi upsized the tyres to say 245/70/17.
 
Around town
The engine output may be a bit below par, and five-speeds was impressive in about 2001, but nevertheless when lightly loaded Triton is sprightly enough. There’s no turbo surge, and the combination of engine/transmission is more impressive than you’d guess from the specs alone. The two-tonne kerb mass certainly helps.
 
The Super Select 4WD system can run in all wheel drive, so this means Triton has better roadholding than its peers and is virtually impossible to wheelspin even around off camber wet roundabouts. I handed the Triton to the owner of the most brutal right foot I know, Mrs P, and she was unable to make it misbehave so you won’t be able to either. Even in 2WD Triton does a decent job of getting power to the ground, and the electronics are fairly well sorted so they help gracefully as opposed to the sudden slap you get in the Pajero.
 
Visibility is good all round, the mirrors are big but don’t get in the way.  The Triton is smaller than some of the other utes, and has an excellent 11.8m turning circle. The reversing camera is pretty good too, has guidelines but they don’t move with the steering wheel.
 
The ride is harsh, it being a ute with a near one-tonne payload (935kg). You have to accept that to some extent, but I do think Mitsubishi could have done a better job. Still, the aftermarket will fix it up. Steering is slow-ish, but liveable and nicely weighted and certainly a lot better than the painfully slow steering on the previous model MQ. Idling can be bit a rough, and it’s not the smoothest engine on the market but you quickly get used to it.
 
This Triton Exceed weighs 1965kg unloaded which, for a top-end dualcab is light.  And light is good… helps with handling and performance, everywhere, every time.  Fuel economy is 7.6L/100km combined, good for a ute and the light weight will be a big part of that because it’s definitely not the transmission. A 75L fuel tank is also quite large, and gives decent range considering the frugal economy. Triton may only be a 2.4L 5-speeder, but if you look at the results not the specs then Triton performs well.
 
Overall, the Triton’s styling, size, visibility, all-wheel-drive and turning circle mark it out as one of the most friendly suburban-family utes. It’s safe too, but more on that later.
 
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The guidelines don’t turn with the car but are still useful.
 
Dirt roads
Here again Super Select all-wheel drive helps, as otherwise there’d be a bit of struggling to get the power to the rear wheels. A bit more grunt and an extra gear ratio or two wouldn’t go amiss, and I make an allowance for the fact the vehicle was mostly lightly loaded. Handling is average to good for a 2015 ute, which means it’s way better than older ones. 
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Triton does dirt roads well.
 
Off-road
Triton is a mixed bag off-road. The suspension is excellent, nicely flexible and able to do a good job of keeping all four wheels in contact with the ground. The engine is strong too, the gearing can be manually controlled and the vehicle never runs out of grunt. The tight turning circle and good visibility help too.
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You know it’s slippery when all four wheels spin!
 
The traction control is effective and flexible, and there’s a rear differential lock which unfortunately disables the traction control on the front axle. On two occasions we had three wheels spinning – both rear, one front – and the car was unable to move. We disabled the rear locker and then, with traction control working on all four wheels the Triton was able to progress. This is not to say that traction control is always better than a rear locker, but sometimes (often in fact) it is. Lockers are best when the vehicle runs out of suspension flex but otherwise has excellent traction for the wheels on the ground. 
 
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Engine braking downhill would have been classed as good a few years ago with a 5-speed 35:1 crawl ratio.  But now there’s 6-8 speeds and sophisticated hill descent control systems on other vehicles that work down to 2km/h, Triton is below par, albeit still workable.  You have to drive the car, remember that?  You can engage the rear locker of course to help with not losing engine braking over undulations, so that’s a bonus.
 
That’s the good news. Now here is the bad news:
 
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Mass damper is not the lowest point of the vehicle. Doesnt stop it getting in the way though.
That is a mass damper which fixes vibration problems, only fitted to automatic transmission vehicles.  It’s normal for vehicles to have such mechanisms, but this one is a problem because it hangs low in front of the differential, is prone to hang the car up and when it does touch, it’ll dig in and not slide over the obstacle.
 
So it was no great surprise to see what stopped the Triton when we ran it over what is a basic training ground obstacle for stock cars.
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Not good at all. This is a must-fix for offroaders, no question about it. The obstacle is just a normal rut, nothing special.
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Here’s what hung the Triton up, trying to straddle the lump it’s got its front right wheel on. Would have worked without the mass balancer, as it did for other vehicles. This also demonstrates something else. The ground is very slippery, and if we idled up with the locker it we got three wheels spinning (two rear, front left) and the car was going nowhere as the front diff is open when the locker is in. Disengage locker, reactivate traction control, bit of revs (per pic) and the one wheel that’s got decent traction (front right) pulls the car through. So in this case, traction control 1, lockers 0.
There would have been no problem if the weight hadn’t been there.  Even worse, you try cleaning the damn thing. It filled with mud on our test drive, and lucky it was the sort of mud that cleans out with a high-pressure hose, not the sort that bakes in solid in which case it’s down under the truck with a screwdriver to lever the mud out. Not my idea of fun.
 
I asked Mitsubishi about it and it said:

“It’s a mass damper that is fitted to AT variants only. Although it is a bolt on item we don’t recommend removing it. During development, MMC tested Triton in a number global regions including a considerable amount of off-road testing in Australia, we haven’t found that it gets in the way despite its appearance – in extreme conditions it may contact the ground but we have not encountered a case where it has impeded progress of the vehicle. Note that it is within the envelope of the tyre diameter in side elevation and no lower than the diff housing (lowest point of vehicle for ground clearance).”

Well, its testing is its testing, it took five minutes before we hung it up and no, we weren’t trying to do so.  Overall, I’d say that for easy off-road work don’t worry about it, but if you start touring off-road you will need to fix it. Apart from ruts the other problem will be bogging in sand and mud; it’s just extra drag. 

The other bad news is the clearance, only 205mm. The standard for off-road vehicles is 215-220mm plus, and those few millimetres make a difference as shown below, the Triton is out of clearance and only going backwards. Other stock vehicles can do this hill easily enough.

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Other utes and wagons can crawl this. Not Triton.
Off-road summary:  Triton has the basics of being a great off-roader. Effective suspension, agility, tractable engine, good electronics, short wheelbase, even the option of a locker for the Exceed variant. Serious off-road owners will upsize the tyres (alhough that will not improve gearing) and fit a suspension lift, fixing the clearance problems. The balancer weight can be deleted too. Once that’s done you would have yourself a rather impressive off-roading ute.
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Good traction control, torquey engine and flexible suspension.
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Flex is pretty good, and that’s with three people in the cabin and maybe 100kg in the tub.

Towing analysis
The methods used below are fully explained on this page.
 
Here’s the figures for Triton with a summary at the bottom:
 

 Triton
Kerb weight1965
GVM2900
Payload935
Max tow (braked)3100
GCM5885
Max tow +GVM6000
Difference between GCM and above115
Max car weight at max tow2785
Reduction below GVM115
Payload left820
With 310kg TBM allowance510
Max trailer weight at GVM2985
Payload (10% TBM allowance)625
Front axle load1260
Rear axle load1840
Combined axle loads3100
Difference to GVM200

 
Summary: Triton Exceed can tow 3100kg and still have 510kg of payload left over, which is a healthy margin, more than more utes.  That means while Triton can “only” tow 3100kg, it is more of a real figure than Ranger’s 3500kg, something Mitsubishi are gleefully playing up and good on them.
 
However, it’s not all roses. The 3000mm wheelbase and approx 1450mm distance behind the rear axle means that a 310kg towball mass is 460kg on the rear axle. Fortunately the rear axle load is 1840kg, but even so that’s quite a lot. There’s only 1260kg for the front axle.

Back in the real world, I hooked up 2400kg of double-axle tandem and went for a short drive with the owner of the caravan, who usually pulls it with a D40 Navara 550 – that’s got a seven-speed auto and 550Nm of torque. IMG_0916

Unsurprisingly, the Triton with around 100Nm and two gear ratios less was no match for the Navara, but didn’t have any trouble towing the trailer once we got the brake controller (Redarc) calibrated.  I wouldn’t say it was the best tow I’ve had of that nature, not up there with the likes of Discovery or LC200 but ok for a ute.   The torque convertor wasn’t shy about locking up when it could, and you didn’t feel the car was working particularly hard. We all agreed we’d be happy enough pulling the van with this ute.
 
While we didn’t get into any situations that really needed it, the constant 4WD is always going to be a bonus at both high and low speeds. Engine braking worked well, and it’s easy to get to with the paddle shifts.  Again, the tight turning circle will help in tight spots. Notice also how the Triton is still sitting pretty flat even with a fair load on the drawbar. Triton also has Trailer Sway Assist, explained below in Safety.
 
The factory towbar hangs down far too low to be seriously used for off-road, especially given the massive rear overhang common to Triton. I wouldn’t bother, get an aftermarket version, preferably one that reduces the rear overhang.

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No, I didn’t put that dent in it!
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That’s more like it. Side protection, no loss of departure angle and reduction in overhang.

Quality

The Triton isn’t the best built vehicle seen from Mitsubishi, although press vehicle has probably had a tougher initial life than most. Here’s what I found. Sat in the driver’s seat, pulling the door shut on a steep sideslope I noticed that the interior trim flexed relative to the door. There was play in the paddleshifts and the Super Select dial, both of which feel a bit too plasticky. I don’t think anything would break, but the vehicle doesn’t give you the sense of strongly built quality you’d like. The warranty is one of the better ones for utes; five years and 130,000km so that’s a mark of confidence by Mitsubishi.

Pricing & Equipment

We had a Triton GLS on test at the same time, so there’s a seperate post with lots of pictures and detail comparing Exceed and GLS.

Safety

Triton scores an impressive 36.22 out of 37 for the usual 5-star safety rating.  There are three child restraint points and two ISOFIX points, important for young families. All three rear headrests are height-adjustable, and there is a reversing camera with fixed guidelines.  Seven airbags are included.  The usual braking tech of ABS, EBD and EBA is standard.

 
Mention must be made again here of the full-time 4WD system, Super Select, which I’m putting down as a safety aid as it improves traction and cornering.  And also of the good visibility.
 

Triton has Trailer Sway Assist. This detects trailer sway and applies the front brakes to individual wheels to bring the car back into line.  It is automatic and always on when a trailer is connected, and a great safety aid.  Most 4WDs now have this technology.  The diagram below shows how it works, albeit with greatly exaggerated movements.

 TSA
Overall, Triton does pretty well on safety but will be shaded by the 2015 Ranger (in some trim specs) which offers active tech such as AEB in some variants.

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Taken at night. I was able to positon the towball precisely under the hitch first go thanks to the great camera.

2015 Mitsubishi Triton 4X4 Exceed photo gallery 


Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a motoring journalist, offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks, and that's when he isn't racing his Nissan Pulsar. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/ or buy his new ebook!