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2015 Mitsubishi Triton MQ GLS manual review

Robert Pepper’s 2015 Mitsubishi Triton MQ GLS manual review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.

Editor's Rating

How we rated the 2015 Mitsubishi Triton MQ GLS manual 91%
The manual GLS Triton is a decent workhouse of a ute and I'd certainly seriously consider it over the automatic. It has the he rare and useful ability to run in constant 4WD on-road, but beyond that is not exceptional. Still, it does nothing badly so is a worthwhile consideration if you're after a value for money ute.
91

PRICE $40,990 (+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 6-speed manual DRIVE 2WD/AWD/4WD with super-select, 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 1950kg 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 7.2 L/100km ADR81/02 combined cycle FUEL diesel SPARE full-size alloy

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WE’VE DONE a bit with the Triton of late. Paul Murrell was at the launch and wrote a first drive, I did an in-depth on/offroad test of the Exceed dualcab, and followed that up with a GLS/Exceed comparo. Then Hannah was lent a Triton to drive to the shops but ended up in Birdsville.

To finish it off I’ve now taken the Triton GLS manual for a drive, so this review will be focused on the manual transmission because the previous articles cover the rest of the vehicle in some detail.

Manual vs auto in the Triton

The automatic Triton is a five-speeder, which is behind the times in today’s world of seven, eight and even nine speed autos.  The manual is the conventional six-speed.   That extra ratio is one reason why the manual returns better fuel economy – 7.2L/100km on the combined cycle vs 7.6 for the auto.   And while Mitsubishi claim the same weight of 1970kg for both, that is unusual as manuals are normally slightly lighter.

The engine tune is identical for auto and manual, same power and torque and peak figures at the same RPM.  Again that’s slightly unusual these days as engines are often tuned slightly differently for each transmission, with the autos often getting a bit more torque.

On the blacktop

The Triton manual is easy, even pleasant to use. The shift action is precise by ute standards, the clutch is light but has feel and the lever is sensibly positioned so it doesn’t interfere with anything.

RMP_9867 This GLS model has tilt/reach steering wheel adjustment, the seatback tilts and slides forwards back, and there’s a semi-height adjuster which raises or lowers the rear of the seat base. Most people should get comfortable with all that, but a couple of us found the steering wheel column slightly interfered with our knees. There is a footrest, and enough space between the pedals and between the rest for the biggest of work boots.  

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Seat adjustment. The dial is for raising/lowering the rear of the seat, lever to the left for the seatback.

  The engine is tractable and reasonably quiet, but is certainly no rocketship.  There’s no turbo lag per se, but you can feel when you’re off boost low in the rev range although the turbo comes in smoothly and powerfully, as all modern turbo diesels should behave. Another modern trait is that some drivers need to recalibrate their use of gears. Ninety degree corners in the ‘burbs can often comfortably be taken in third gear not second, and the Triton comfortably lopes along at low revs in high gears, not using very much fuel at all. You can and should also skip shift.   RMP_9869

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The mud mats are not standard. I put them in all test 4X4s.

  At freeway speeds you can cruise in sixth until you see a gradient, and then it’s generally going to be time to slot it down a cog.  The car doesn’t really struggle, but there’s no mountains of torque.   Noise and cruiseability is quite acceptable.

Off-road

The manual Triton GLS has the same Super Select transmission (fully explained here) as the Exceed automatic. 4WD with the centre diff locked can be engaged at speed, but you’ll need to stop and select neutral for a range change. The car always changed between modes without complaint, but as usual with such things a measured approach and patience pays off.

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Super Select means the Triton has a party trick of being able to run in all-wheel-drive on road.  This is useful as it gives the vehicle much better road holding that would otherwise be the case – think wet roundabouts in a hurry.  It also helps on dirt roads too, think accelerating around a corrugated uphill corner.  I’d run the car in 4H at all times (refer explanation), but there’s 2WD if you must. 

On dirt roads I wouldn’t say the Triton is a rally truck, it’s not sharp enough for that. You can however make rapid progress. The stability control will kick in at about the right time too, it’s not overly intrusive if you run the car in one of its all wheel drive modes.

When you get to easy, slow tracks like the one below without any problem in high gears, there’s plenty of torque in the lower gears so you don’t need to get busy with the gearshift.

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The crawl ratio on a 4X4 is the lowest possible gear ratio, and on the Triton it is 35:1 for the auto and 39:1 for the manual. Both give quite acceptable engine braking, but neither are class-leading, and I’m mindful many owners will want to run taller tyres which will effectively slightly raise the gearing.    IMG_2008   The manual’s ease of use translates well into off-road scenarios, but there is a big criticism – it is not possible to start the vehicle in low range with the clutch up. Why on earth would you want to do that?  Answer is to make use of the keystart technique where you start the car in gear, useful for recovering from a failed hillclimb or in slippery conditions.  It’s not a dealbreaker, just disappointing that technique can’t be used in what is a serious off-road machine.   On the positive side there is an electronic anti-stall system, again like any modern cars. This means you can slot the Triton into first gear, feet off pedals and it’ll pretty much climb anything until it runs out of traction – power won’t be an issue.   There is a hill-start assist feature too, which holds the car’s brakes on a hill giving you enough time to get your foot from the brake to the accelerator so you can perform a hill start.  It works well enough, but like all such systems only does so for about three seconds.  Works on hills steep enough that you should be in low range. You need this because the parkbrake is pretty ordinary, doesn’t hold the car on steep hills unless you really haul on it.  Again that’s pretty much situation normal for utes and many wagons.  Tip – the way to hillstart low range manual 4X4s is to select first low, right foot on brake, left foot on clutch, bring clutch up to biting point and gently release brake to move off.  Can be done very smoothly, and I generally prefer that to relying on hill start assist.   The automatic Tritons have a mass balancer weight in front of the rear diff. While this is not the end of the world, for serious work you’d definitely want to remove it. Happily, the weight does not exist on manual versions. And here’s proof.    IMG_1935   Only the Exceed gets a locking rear differential, nothing like that on the GLS model but you can fit an aftermarket unit. There is traction control however, and it is effective. You can’t judge a manual’s traction control from the automatic version, so good to see Mitsubishi have done the job right with both transmissions.   

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Triton pulled itself out of this quite easily, uphill, very little weight on the rear right which was in mud. It’s not a question of whether a car can make an obstacle, it’s a question of how easily it can do it. You can throw any car at anything and it’ll make it over.

  Overall, there’s no issues whatsoever driving the manual Triton offroad, it’s a pretty capable and confidence-inspiring ute I’d be happy to drive anywhere you name.  The transmission works well, and the only change I’d make would be to enable keystarting.   It’s nimble too, tight turning circle of 11.8m, class leading, as Mitsubishi like to remind us, and I like to remind people there’s a penalty to pay given where the rear axle is relative to the tub.

Choose the auto or the manual?

Auto vs manual, the eternal debate. Well, for the next few years anyway. As ever, it’s very much a personal decision but it’s one coloured by how good the respective options are in the cars in question. Sometimes the auto (or manual) is so dire you have to avoid it regardless of your preferences.   In the case of the Triton, I think there’s a strong argument to buy the manual even though the auto isn’t too bad.  The manual is actually kind of a fun and easy drive, it’s $2500 cheaper, uses less fuel and there’s nothing the auto can do the manual can’t.  The 5-speed auto isn’t exactly the latest and greatest either, and you do not need the paddle shifters in the Exceed.    This is now the third Triton I’ve driven and the car is growing on me. I haven’t found anything to really dislike and now I’m thinking of the vehicle as “don’t mind it at all”, which for international readers translates to pretty decent.  The Triton isn’t the best ute on the market, I’d give that to the Ranger PX Mk 2, but for value the Triton would have to come in to play.  Worth also mentioning the 5-year 130k warranty which is market leading, and would lower ownership costs over time.

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That was NOT me! Someone else has given this car a mighty clout after dragging it over rough ground. The steel bashplate has done its job well, inspection revealed it could just be unbolted and a new one attached. Or pull it a bit straighter with a winch….

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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!