EXCUSE me. Allow one to introduce the tradie with manners. Mitsubishi has launched its 2016 model Triton and it's raising the etiquette bar.
Designed to be more "car-like", it's a far improved ute than the model it replaces.
Rugged and hard-working, the Triton has been a success story. Low pricing has helped propel Mitsubishi to become the nation's second biggest light commercial/SUV seller in Australia.
Prices start from $24,490 plus on-roads for the single cab, while the popular double cab begins at $35,990.
The latter may sound expensive with the current model in run-out start from $29,990 drive-away, but Mitsubishi says it has dropped the prices across nearly all variants.
The old model will sell alongside its new brethren for a few months yet.
For now the Triton is only available with a turbo diesel. A 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine will be available later this year in base model guise only.
For the first time in a Triton there is telescopic steering wheel adjustment, while the seating has been vastly improved. Seat foam density increases and there is additional bolstering laterally and around the thighs…together these introductions make the cabin an improved location for taller passengers.
Interior treatments are more practical than pretty. Base variants are typically basic, which is fair enough given the market, while upper spec derivatives have various shades of grey combined with piano black and silver finishes.
Hefty strides forward have been made with cabin acoustics and the Triton is a far quieter ride. Passengers don't need to shout at highway speeds where there is only minor wind noise from the large side mirrors.
The diesel generates typical clatter when cold and during hard work on inclines, although it doesn't dominate aurally.
On the road
Improved behaviour is the hallmark of the new Triton.
With more power underfoot and better steering, it lends itself to work or family duties. The new oil-burner generates slightly more power, just 2kW, but the hefty gains come in pulling power. Peak torque is up 30 Newton metres in manuals and 80Nm in automatics to 430Nm.
Boosting the torque, as well as a new turbocharger which spools quicker, has delivered more instantaneous throttle response at low speed with greater acceleration prowess.
Changes to the steering ratio mean lock-to-lock takes 3.8 turns of the steering wheel, whereas the old variant took 11% more effort.
Mid-spec variants get the "super" four-wheel drive system, which simply means changing from two-wheel drive to four-high and four-low can be done via a console dial rather than a shifter. We tested the Triton in sand on Fraser Island where it was unfazed throughout the boggy inland tracks and never looked like getting stuck.
Soft sand saw the traction control step in on several occasions which proved frustrating, but it remained adept even without lowering tyre pressure. On the highway it proved composed, cruising at 100kmh around 2000rpm.
What do you get?
GLX models have 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity with voice command, speed limiter, CD stereo with USB port, trip computer, along with five-star safety courtesy of anti-lock brakes, seven airbags, stability control, trailer stability assist and hill start assist.
The GLS has the "Super Select II" four-wheel drive system, 17-inch alloys, high intensity discharge headlights, LED daytime running lamps, rear view camera, leather trimmed three-spoke steering wheel and gear shifter, interior with piano black and silver trim highlights, dual-zone air con, and an upgraded stereo with a 15.5cm touch-screen with digital radio and six speakers.
Exceed also get paddle shifters on the steering wheel, diff lock, leather-look door trim, push button start, leather trimmed seats (driver's pew is electrically adjustable), automatic lights and wipers, power driver's seat and 17.7cm touch-screen with sat nav.
Boasting outstanding fuel economy, the official figure is just above seven litres for every 100km. Our bitumen test route saw it climb into the nines but we'll do more analysis over a longer journey in future.
Capped price servicing is available for the first four maintenance intervals, and there is a solid warranty backed by a large, well established dealership network.
Hard plastics are used throughout the console and dash, and there is a pair of cup holders in the console and fold down arm rest in the back, along with a deep centre console and a handy spot for phones and audio players just below the USB port.
Back seats of dual cabs haven't typically been inviting in the past, but the Triton pew is contoured with a 25-degree recline.
Legroom is good enough for two adults, three at a push, while there are excellent roof-mounted handles above the front doors to aid entry and exit. Interior length has improved, as has shoulder space.
Looks are still distinctly Triton. Double cab models have maintained the "J-line" between tub and tray, yet about 80% of the body has been redesigned.
Changes have made it more aerodynamic, its drag coefficient is 0.42, which is among the best for a truck.
Triton GLX is available in white or metallic silver. All other models are also available in red, black pearl and metallic hues of grey, blue and green - metallic and pearl finishes cost an additional $550.
Carving a size niche within the market, the Triton builds on its well-liked attributes.
It's easy to drive, capable off-road and now offers a quieter ride.
Some will scoff at the towing capacity of 3.1 tonnes, but Mitsubishi was quick to point out its gross combination mass advantage. Its lighter kerb weight, combined with its payload and towing ability ensures it's one useful truck for work and play.
What matters most
What we liked: Serene cabin, supportive seats, strong diesel from low speed, grab handles up front.
What we'd like to see: More adventurous exterior styling, move away from grey interior.
Warranty and servicing: Five-year/100,000km warranty. Capped price servicing is available, with intervals annual or 15,000km. Average price over four services is $522.
Verdict: 4 stars
Model: Mitsubishi Triton.
Details: Single cab, club cab and double cab two or four-wheel drive utility.
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel generating maximum power of 133kW @ 3500rpm and peak torque of 430Nm @ at 2500rpm.
Transmission: Six-speed manual or five-speed automatic with Sport Mode.
Consumption: 7.0-7.6 litres/100km (combined average, varies slightly depending on body and transmission).
Towing: 3100kg (braked). Payload: 970-1240kg depending on variant.
Bottom line plus on-roads:
2x4 - Single Cab Chassis GLX (m) $24,490, GLX (a) $26,990. Double Cab Pick Up GLX (a) $35,990.
4x4 - Single Cab Chassis GLX (m) $32,490. Club Cab Chassis GLX (m) $35,290. Double Cab Pick Up GLX (m) $36,990, (a) $39,490. Double Cab Pick Up GLS (m) $40,990, (a) $43,490. Double Cab Pick Up Exceed (a) $47,490
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