The first pickup trucks constructed by Mitsubishi were designed solely for utilitarian purposes. Since 1996 however, things started to change a little bit and the old Triton (also known as the L200) truck was now suited for family transportation too.
The Triton was still a working-class truck, but thanks to its high versatility it started to be used as a lifestyle vehicle.
The fourth-generation Triton was sold until 2006, when it was replaced by the new model but during its lifespan, it was among the best pickups you’d find around.
The Mitsubishi Triton range included ute models, chassis cabs, club cabs and dual cabs. The vehicle was also offered with either 2WD or 4WD configurations.
As most trucks of its type, the Triton had a rugged exterior design, but its robust sheet metal underlined the tough character of the truck.
Up front there is a big radiator grille that bares the company’s badge in its center. On each side of the grille you’ll find a set of big headlights which are a bit dull for our tastes and look out of place.
The front bumper continues the robust design initiated by the headlights and it’s fitted with a big air intake and a pair of rectangular turn signals.
Mitsubishi tried to give the Triton a touch of dynamism and added a few smart placed creases that can be found on the hood and along the sides. Viewed from the side, the Triton comes with a set of oversized wheel arches, big wheels and a huge ground clearance which betrays its off road capabilities.
Around the back there was a generous load bad fitted with a wide opening tailgate. To offer easy access to the load area the rear bumper was build with an integrated foot step.
Drivers will be happy to know that the cabin is fairly spacious and you won’t complain about head or leg room. On the other had the dashboard looks pretty dull and you’d find more attractive interiors at other pickup trucks in the segment.
The materials aren’t something to rave about either, but this is the usual treatment found in this class so we won’t complain too much about it.
The center stack is designed with the HVAC controls above the audio system which is a bit odd as most vehicles offer a different layout. Though you’ll get used to it pretty fast, so it’s not a major disadvantage. The rest of the controls are placed pretty intuitively and the instrument cluster comes with huge, easy to read gauges.
There are also plenty cubby holes and storage spaces to keep your things, so the cabin it’s fairly practical.
The seats however won’t impress you too much as they offer only basic adjustments and are too flat and hard to make you feel comfortable. The steering wheel it’s also a bit too thin and comes with a pretty rudimentary design.
On the other hand, the all around visibility is great and you won’t complain about the huge door mirrors either.
Engines and performance
Initially the Triton was equipped with a naturally aspired 2.8 liter diesel that was pretty efficient but wasn’t strong enough for the utilitarian nature of the truck. In 2003 however, the company replaced the dated unit with a new turbocharged 2.8 liter unit. This engine cranks out 92kW and 292Nm and was able to deal with the heaviest loads without breaking a sweat. Though, it wasn’t exactly efficient.
There was also available a three liter petrol V6 that was the strongest unit in its class and delivered a maximum output of 109 kw and 234 Nm. For those seeking for a better efficiency, Mitsubishis offered natural gas versions for its V6 petrol unit.
Ride and handling
The Triton sits on stiff suspensions, so the ride quality had to be sacrificed to make the truck suited for carrying heavy loads. The good part is that stiff suspension means less body lean, so the Triton stays pretty well planted on its wheels. As it was expected the ride will slightly improve if there is some load at the back.
The steering is a bit lazy and doesn’t help with parking. Though, at higher speed it will offer a proper response.
The brakes consists of discs up front and drums on the rear wheels, as is common practice in this class. They offer a quick stop and are sure-footed.
The 1996 Mitsubishi Triton was one of the most reliable pickup in its class. The truck’s build quality was pretty strong and it also had a generous payload capacity which gave it a fairly versatile character.
The cabin wasn’t the most refined in its class, but it had anything it needed to offer a decent environment.
The engines were among the strongest units you’d find around, but the fuel consumption wasn’t exactly stellar.
Luckily, the handling and off road abilities were part of the high class, but as most truck of its type, the ride quality was more on the bumpy side of things.