2012 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R review – quick spin

For some, having ute space and four-wheel drive capabilities is vital. The 2012 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R, representing the third best-selling 4×4 ute in November behind the HiLux and Navara, seems to do a good job of combining such things into a vehicle that not only looks sporty, but goes pretty darn well, too.

2012 MITSUBISHI TRITON GLX-R – PROS AND CONS:

PROS:

  • Tough appearance says ‘get out of my way’
  • Here at PerformanceDrive we love quirky gadgets, so the sliding up and down back window is just fantastic
  • Ship-loads of torque (400Nm) on demand (the automatic transmission variant is limited to 350Nm) from its 2.5-litre turbo-diesel engine
  • Factory suspension offers a nice combination of city and off-road driving capabilities
  • Auto transmission is pretty smooth for a light commercial vehicle
  • Cabin is a pleasant place to be
  • Standard driver and front passenger SRS airbags, front and rear door impact bars, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and child restraint points.
  • The extensive list of accessories available

CONS:

  • The steering is about five turns lock to lock, so it needs a fair amount of steering input to change direction
  • It’s a handful during tight manoeuves and tricky parking spots
  • Chunkier tyres needed for decent off-road use
  • It’s so handsome, would you really want to get it dirty, or scratch it up in the bush?

2012 MITSUBISHI TRITON GLX-R – WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE:

What we have here is Mitsubishi’s top of the range truck for the tradies, or families who need the ute space and/or four-wheel drive. No one will argue that the 2012 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R is a masculine car to look at, with features like chrome mirror covers, chrome roll bars and front nudge bar, six-spoke alloy wheels, and side runners. Finished in metallic black, it has somewhat of a ‘gangster’ look about it.

The diesel is by far the pick of the engines in the Triton stable, with torque coming on like a hurricane through the Wild West, it propels the 2012 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R through the gears as fast as your average family sedan. The second you demand power, the engine responds with a rush of boost from the single turbo layout, with minimal turbo lag.

The five-speed automatic found in the 2012 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R (all non-GLX-R diesel automatic Tritons are four-speed automatic only) feels like it’s easily up the job of carrying a boat, or trailer. It holds the gears very relative to how much acceleration you want like a good lock-up automatic gearbox should.

It’s general operation is smooth, however kick down can be a tad ferocious if you really slam your right foot down. If manual transmission is more your thing, you’ll be glad to hear you also get an extra 50Nm of torque for your trouble.

Off road, we put the 2012 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R through its paces over some rather large dirt mounds and narrow trails. Using the lever located next to the gear shifter, it’s easy to select between 4×2, and 4×4 low and high-range drive modes.

If you’re worried about wheel spin when you’re off the tarmac, you can lock the rear-diff with a button located on the dash (the rear diff lock feature is a $750 option on the GLX-R). Through our test section of dirt, the GLX-R performed well, with its factory, more-suited-to-the-street rubber the initial limiting factor to its off-road potential. With chunkier tyres, we have no doubt it will get you through most leisure weekend trails.

Suspension-wise, the front is double wishbone with coil springs, and the rear is rigid elliptic leaf spring. It showed decent wheel travel, and great climbing potential – the diesel/auto combo also helps during the ‘slow and steady’ bush trails when you’re trying to keep traction loss to a minimum, as there’s no sudden jolts often associated with changing gear, or releasing the clutch too quickly.

Front overhang is short, but the rear is quite long (it’d be even worse with a towbar) so you need to stay mindful of not driving up short steep stuff, or your Triton will turn from tidy 4×4 to farm plough – you’ll ruin the nicely-presented rear step, too.

Cargo area in the back is deep, and long enough to fit two dirt bikes, provided you keep the tail gate down. Cargo area length is 1505mm, width is 1470mm, and it’s 1085mm wide between the wheel arches.

As far as braking performance, front ventilated discs with single piston calipers and rear drums (leading and trailing shoes) feel solid, but perhaps a tad spongey. It is a braking system that is engineered to pull up epic payloads; 935kg, 3000kg braked trailers full of sand… you get the picture.

2012 MITSUBISHI TRITON GLX-R – INSIDE SPACE AND COMFORT:

The 2012 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R’s cabin is a comfortable, nice place to be. While it might not appear overly exciting, it’s purposeful, and is full of hard-wearing materials and plastics, for those who give their trucks a lashing. The front seats are supportive, and comfortable for long journeys, as well as soft enough in the rough stuff.

The back seats do have adults in mind, although leg room is only just okay. You can find yourself quite relaxed in the Triton up front, with your arm on the window sill. It’s a comfortable place to be as you go about your daily duties.

The in-dash display will keep you amused at traffic lights, displaying current temperature, barometric pressure, height above sea level (elevation), and a compass so you know your way home in case you get lost out bush. It also comes with power windows, power mirrors, and even a button-operated sliding rear window so you can tell ol’ bluey to stop barking at sheilas.

The stereo looks a bit dated, as is often the way with some Japanese vehicles, but as a light commercial truck, the sound quality is acceptable. While it does its job, it’d be nice if the dash console area was a touch more up to date with current technology, by featuring everything in one unit rather than buttons and options spread down the dash fascia, after all, these large 4×4 utes aren’t cheap.

2012 MITSUBISHI TRITON GLX-R – IS IT A WINNER:

The top-line four-wheel drive ute market is a buyer’s game. There’s at least six models we can think of (VW Amarok $58,490; new Mazda BT-50 $52,710; Isuzu D-Max $47,510; new Ford Ranger $55,490; Toyota HiLux $53,490; and Nissan Navara $60,990) all posing similar features and specifications. They all offer four-wheel drive and similar sporting styles. So how do you make a choice?

The Triton in our opinion is one of the better looking of the bunch, it has curves in the right places, and even a face that appears to be smiling… in a Mitsubishi kind of way. It performs well, and is relatively easy to drive, though the five or so turns lock-to-lock might tire some people. It does feel as if it’s built to last, rather than cheap and tacky. Tough is a good way to describe it.

If you’d like a touch more luxury in your truck, then go for the Luxury Pack offered by Mitsubishi. For the extra $3100 you get leather seat trim with leather console, driver power seat with slide, height and recline, body-coloured side protection moulding, and the rear diff lock option. The list of available accessories for the dual-cab 4×4 Triton GLX-R is pretty much endless – you can view the full range of Triton accessories by clicking here.

In the end, like with any new car you buy, it comes down to personal preference. The new-generation Triton is a thoroughly equipped and capable machine. Our advice, like always, is to test drive them all before you make a decision to make sure you find what suits your needs the best.

2012 MITSUBISHI TRITON GLX-R SPECIFICATIONS

MODEL
2012 Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R

ENGINE
2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel

DRIVETRAIN
Five-speed automatic, dual range, four-wheel drive

POWER
131kW@4000rpm, 400Nm (350Nm@2000rpm for auto)

WEIGHT
1995kg

PAYLOAD
935kg

TOWING CAPACITY (BRAKED)
3000kg

HEIGHT / WIDTH / LENGTH
1780mm / 1800mm / 5389mm

WHEELS
F: 17 x 7.5 inch 245/65 R17
R: 17 x 7.5 inch 245/65 R17

FUEL TANK CAPACITY
75 litres

FUEL CONSUMPTION
Tested average: 10.4L/100km
Official average: 9.6L/100km

PERFORMANCE
0-100km/h: Not tested

PRICED FROM
$51,490 + ORC

Josh Bennis

About 

Position: Journalist
Expert in: Car culture and aftermarket performance
Josh is one of the original co-founders of PerformanceDrive Pty Ltd. Josh was the editor at Hot4s Magazine for a few years. Since then he’s gone on to work at Fast Fours, Zoom, and as a journalist for The Project Group. Josh spends a lot of his free time working on one of his many car projects; the most interesting would have to be his five-speed manual 1986 BMW E28 525e. His claim to fame is surviving a trip to the Outback in an FPV F6 Ute.
Get in touch with Josh at josh@performancedrive.com.au

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  • John

    Love the look of the Triton. Really thinking of getting one. Your advice is spot on about driving a few before I make a decision, I’ll defo be going to drive the Navara and Amarok also, just to make sure I’ll be happy with it. Looks sweet in black!

    • Flying high

      I disagree. It looks a bit Chinese, a bit Ssangyong-ish at the front and back in my opinion.

      • clay

        a bit chinese ? your a dick

    • Chris

      Just got my Triton and I am stoked with it.. Obviously the black is harder to keep clean but it looks dam nice! Drives a dream..

  • Wade

    For those who care about surviving crashes, the Triton also has a 4 star ANCAP rating which is higher than the Navara (3 stars) but the Amarok has 5 stars with a price to match.

  • Donovan Jackson

    I got one of these with all the extras (leather, etc), brand new for NZ$44000. Use it for towing a boat, mainly. Awesome truck, love it.

  • MALCOLM DUNN

    THIS IS MY 3RD TRITON UTE MY 1ST DIESEL VERY IMPRESSED
    ONLY USE IT TO TOW CARAVAN AND INSTALLED A CHIP- IT COMPUTER
    SYSTEM TO GET JUST A BIT MORE TORQUE EXCELLENT
    NOW 4 MONTHS OLD AND BLEW A REAR SEAL ON THE TRANSFER CASE
    OIL EVERYWHERE – MITSUBSHI REPLACED COMPLETE CASE
    SMOKES A BIT WHEN TOWING BUT ECONOMY GREAT AND TORQUE/POWER EXCELLENT
    OVERALL LOVE THE TRUCK – DISAPOINTED WITH THE PROBLEM

  • Mark

    I have had my 2012 Triton for 10 weeks (however, I was promised I would have had it 11 weeks earlier).
    I was tossing up between getting the amarok, BT50 and the Triton. I must say that I REGRET getting the Triton. Even though they say you get a great warranty, the service doesn’t match. My 1500km service at toowong mitsubishi wasn’t a good experience and yesterday I put the car into MtGravatt Mitsubishi because my air con wasn’t working. I picked it up last night only to find that it died again today (all they did yesterday was put more gas into it, which should ring alarm bells on a 10 week old car). When I asked if they checked for leaks they said yes but obviously not well enough. I was told today that it will need to go back in next week but Mitsubishi MtGravatt will not give a courtesy car.
    What you are not told when buying is, that all dealerships are privately owned and it is at their discretion how long they keep your car and if they give you a courtesy car even though you have a so called great warranty. I found this out when I rang Mitsubishi corperate in Adelaide.
    The car chews diesel at a rate much higher than my friends BT50. I am lucky to get a combined 13lt/100km with a lot of highway driving by myself, zero cargo, and nursing the throttle. Mitsubishi’s stats are way, way, way off.

  • Nick

    It is blindingly obvious that the user comments from “MARK” are being made by a rival manufacturer. If you don’t believe me, go and google “2012 triton reviews”….then scroll through and you will, inevitably find the above comments from “Mark”, cut and paste, in the comments section of whatever website you’re reading. Really? I suspect we have a Toyota rep playing silly buggers…a little too convenient, and I seriously doubt a member of the public would bother to cut and paste the same comment in multiple forums. What a knob thing to do.

  • Craig

    The Mitsubishi Triton is a fantastic vehicle, I have had mine for a few months now, very impressed with the vehicle and the build quality is very good. The previous poster Mark obviously works for another manufacturer or he has drilled a 1/8 pilot hole into his fuel tank for fun. I get in the city 8.5 L/100 tank after tank. 13L/100 with no cargo is absolute bullshit and Mark from “insert other manufacturer here” knows this.

    I did quite a bit of research before purchase and yes, Ranger/BT50 has 5 cylinders, Colorado has highest tow capacity, Amarok has 8 speed auto but no low range, Navara has utili-track tie down points, Hilux has best resale and Triton has Super Select 2WD/AWD/4H/4L and rear power window.

    You can’t argue with the value proposition of the Triton (you can get the GLX-R for around 37K at the moment). It also the last of this shape before they release the next model so if you purchase a 2013 model, Mitsubishi appear to have fixed most warranty issues on previous years.

    At the end of the day, you can split hairs over this feature or that auto or that tow rating, but they all do pretty much the same thing. None of them handle like sports cars or do 11 down the quarter, so pick the brand you like and go enjoy the outdoors.