Three-diamond Performer

$10,000 - 30,000 AUD

Mitsubishi Triton ML



  • Versatility
  • Aftermarket accessories
  • Optional factory locker



  • Small tub capcity
  • Rear overhang
  • Carbon build-up




In the middle of the 1980s, Mitsubishi decided to drop the model number L200 to avoid confusion and replace it with a catchy name. Apparently there were lengthy discussions before the engineering, sales, and marketing departments settled on ‘Triton’. It sounds like the name was an evolution of some legendary Greek army, but it’s simply a combination of the three Mitsubishi diamonds making up ‘Tri’ and the carrying capacity bringing up the ‘ton’.


The success of the Triton has seen the model evolve over the years from a basic workman ute into a more family-friendly form of transport that can still lug the work gear around all day long.


The launch of the 2006 Triton was a real turning point for the model. Mitsubishi decided that the success of the GLX-R from 2005 had shown them that Australians wanted a ute that was also as comfortable and stylish as many of the available 4WD wagons, and the Triton pioneered the sport ute market with this model.


The rear comfort levels in the dual cab did mean that the size of the rear tub suffered and is not as long as its rivals. The improved comfort comes from the rear seats having a greater angle of backward tilt, so to maintain legroom, the cab was lengthened backwards to accommodate this.


In 2006, the ML Triton gained the Mitsubishi ‘Advantage’ extended warranty scheme. This offers the new owner a five-year new vehicle warranty as well as a 10-year drivetrain warranty, which is great reassurance.


However, as a used buyer it should be noted that only the five-year new vehicle warranty is transferrable.


The 4WD ML Triton arrived in Australia in 2006 with the petrol engine offering both manual and automatic transmissions, while the diesel was only available with a manual box. The automatic diesel didn’t make an appearance until the middle of 2007. The petrol engine produced average power (135kW @ 4750rpm) with average fuel consumption (13L/100km).


The diesel was also a bit of a disappointment when it first arrived, putting out 118kW @ 4000rpm and 309Nm @ 2000rpm; the 2006 HiLux put out 126kW, 343Nm and used 0.6L/100km less fuel. The inclusion of the extended warranty was great peace of mind for new buyers and does offer some cover for used buyers.


There have been a few faults with both the petrol and diesel engines since their release, so make sure the following issues have been rectifi ed or make sure you have either time remaining on the manufacturer’s warranty or the dealer you buy from offers a solid used-vehicle warranty.


The petrol engine appears to be the more reliable of the two, but there have been far fewer of these sold, so mechanical issues are potentially rarer as there are fewer to go wrong. The main issue involves gudgeon pins that fitted the piston poorly.


This causes a slapping noise as the pistons move around on their mounting pins. If you’re looking at a petrol motor, then listen out for excessive ‘knocking’ noises from the engine, and if there aren’t any noises, then check that this Triton has had the recall warranty work carried out before buying.


The diesel engine has been known to develop a few issues. The main complaint from owners is that they develop a loss in power. The main culprit for this is a poorly developed intake manifold system. The turbo boost hose is located in a spot where carbon builds up and blocks the hose.


There is a redesigned intake manifold that solves this problem, but some Tritons still have the original design cleaned and put back, which only cures the problem temporarily. Check to make sure the new manifold has been fitted (see the photo to learn how).


The other problem that causes poor running is related to the ECU mapping. The throttle is fly-by-wire and in some cases the map is poorly calibrated and can cause surging in the engine or sudden, heavy engine braking when coming off the throttle – check that it doesn’t do this when on a test drive. Some injectors have been found to be noisy and an ECU reset can solve this problem too.


A sticky suction control valve in the fuel system can cause poor performance as the system struggles to deliver the correct volume of fuel to the engine. Dirty air filters can also cause problems with the running of the DiD engine, so make sure that servicing is carried out regularly.


With many modern common-rail engines we’d recommended that servicing intervals don’t go beyond 5000km – not the 7.5K or 10K recommended by manufacturers. This is especially true for 4WDs that spend a lot of time in dusty conditions or are worked hard off-road.


The manual transmission can be a bit notchy, but this is normal. The box should still work without any grinding or jumping out under load, with a smooth clutch action.


Take the time to get underneath any Triton that you’re looking at. It’s not a common fault, but some have been known to leak around the gearbox gaskets. It’s easy to spot once you’re under there, just check along where any covers are bolted to the main gearbox housing.


If there are any noticeable vibrations or judders when pulling away, particularly in manual vehicles, the rear propshaft could be causing the issue. Petrol motors have a single-piece prop so shouldn’t be affected. Diesel Tritons come with a two-piece prop and the centre bearing design can make it feel like the clutch is shot, with judders and vibrations.


Fitting a suspension lift kit can make this problem worse. Mitsubishi hasn’t officially recognised this issue, but some suspension specialists have had success using castor wedges under the front of the rear leaf pack or rotating and spacing the centre bearing to solve vibration issues.


The suspension and steering are very well suited to the Triton and offer excellent on-road handling. However, it is a compromise between comfort and load carrying. Some owners find the suspension too soft and just as many find it too hard. When you are buying a Triton, it is best to buy one with standard suspension and then modify it to meet your needs.


A lift kit fitted by a previous owner may have been set up to include carrying lots of work equipment and towing a heavy trailer. The springs that they chose are likely to be too hard for someone who’s only using their ute to go camping at the weekend. The Triton can look odd to some as the rear sits a little higher than the front, but this is normal.


The rear suspension has also suffered from poor design and is known to develop an annoying squeak from the rear leaf packs.


Mitsubishi announced a recall to rectify this problem. On some models the U-bolts fitted to hold on these springs can fail due to a bad batch, so check to make sure the Triton you’re considering doesn’t have any cracked bolts.


Mitsubishi may not have gotten it perfect prior to release, but has certainly worked hard to solve any flaws that have cropped up and most Tritons will now be better than new.




Design inspiration came from Mitsubishi’s Dakar racers and some love the style while others hate it. There are no reports of bodywork issues, which isn’t surprising considering how young the ML Triton is. However, the actual tub area is very small; it suffered due to the larger cabin that Mitsubishi designed. This larger cabin means that rear passengers are offered excellent levels of comfort.


However, the front seats aren’t a great design, being very flat and hard. The seats offer very little lateral support, no height adjustment, and require regular stops to get the feeling to return to your rear end. If the seats are aftermarket, make sure they meet any engineering requirements. There are plenty of electronics in and around the Triton, so check that all of these work.


There are no specific dramas to look out for, so simply check that the air-con blows cold, windows go up and down (including the back window), all switches work, and (where fi tted) the electronic display in the dash works – especially the altimeter reading the correct height above sea level.


It’s worth taking the time to check the chassis and any other hidden components for hard use.


If you can see lots of surface rust under the vehicle, then the chances are that it has spent a lot of time on the beach. Walk away and search for one that looks better underneath.


If the hard sports rear cover is fitted, then the load height is severely limited. With the sports lid fitted there isn’t even room to fit a decent fridge under it.


The struts for the hard cover are also prone to failing and can be replaced under warranty. If a soft tonneau is fitted, check the clips haven’t broken – there is a later design that is far more robust than earlier ones. If there is damage, then budget or haggle for the cost of a complete new cover – it’s the only solution.


Check along the bottom of the tailgate once you’ve taken the time to open it. There is a rubber sealing strip along the bottom that is prone to coming unstuck. Once this fails, there is the perfect opening for dust and water to get into the rear tub, which is annoying if there is a canopy or lid fitted.


Overall, there aren’t massive amounts of problems with the ML Triton’s interior and body, it’s just whether or not you can live with some of the flaws.




Mitsubishi spends a lot of time and money developing winning vehicles in various off-road competitions, especially the Paris-Dakar rally.


This race-developed technology filters down into the Triton’s DNA. The handling on fast dirt roads is great, with good balance between front and rear ends. The standard suspension is well set up for light to medium loads, so is perfect for getting off-road with the family and camping gear whenever time permits.


Although the tub is small, there is still quite an overhang. When dropping down off steps or into ruts, don’t forget about the rear end. This is a common problem with a lot of utes and just requires careful planning or the fitment of a more solid rear bar.


Mitsubishi fitted a useful limited-slip differential to the rear of the Triton, which greatly improves off-road traction.


However, there are quite a few Tritons that are fitted with a rear diff lock as Mitsubishi offered it as a $500 option. The locker adds significantly to the off-road abilities of the Triton, so look out for this when buying used.


When working the Triton hard off-road, you should be aware that the front bash plates are not strong enough for the job in hand. What makes matters worse is the fact that the 4WD system is activated by a solenoid that sits right above the second (from the front) bash plate. These solenoids are vulnerable and prone to failing.


The Triton does not respond well to big lifts. The design of the suspension, propshaft geometry, and the lack of a slip joint in the propshaft all limit maximum lift. This isn’t great news for those of you who intend to go crawling over obstacles, but for the 4WD tourer it isn’t bad news. Clearance can be gained with a mild lift, while maintaining the Triton’s excellent handling.


The towing capacity compares well at 2300kg with rivals HiLux 2250kg and Navara D40 3000kg.


Unless you’re planning on towing a very heavy trailer during the week and/or a huge boat at the weekends, it will be fine.


The standard suspension is very well matched to the weight of the standard vehicle, but as soon as a steel bar goes on the front, the springs and shocks should be upgraded. The same goes for any changes to the rear or if carrying/towing a heavy load regularly.


When worked hard off-road, the suspension bushes will obviously wear faster, but the rear spring bushes are particularly vulnerable to premature wear. The front suspension rods and steering arms are reasonably strong, but take care not to hit washouts and wombat holes too hard as the alloys can collapse.




There are plenty of aftermarket companies offering accessories for the Triton. We recommend speaking to a few suspension specialists about your vehicle’s use before making a decision on what works best for you. The Triton already has good clearance for a standard ute and a mild lift will make any issues even less of a worry.


If you can’t find a Triton with the optional locker installed, there are various aftermarket options available. The fitment of a locker will mean that the Triton will go much further than one without, but more importantly, you can take on obstacles more slowly and with greater overall mechanical sympathy.


A Triton that is destined to be used for long-distance touring (and they make great touring vehicles) will benefi t greatly from the fitment of a canopy. This will enable more gear to be stored, will keep it safer, and protect it from dirt.


The ample clearance under the guards means that it’s possible to fit 32in tyres, with a few more mods allowing 33s.


When buying a Triton with larger tyres, be sure to check that they meet local regulations or come with an engineering certificate.




The Triton is a versatile ute that can be used for work during the week and then comfortably take the family camping at the weekend. Off-road performance is good, improving to excellent with the factory locker option fitted. This makes it perfect for job site work as much as 4WDing.


The lack of space in the rear tub of dual cabs limits its practicality as a load-lugger for work, so won’t suit every tradie.


The good ground clearance and performance mean that it fares better as a weekend warrior. The petrol engine offers more, but at a much greater cost at the servo, so we’d recommend a mid-level diesel manual GLX-R as the pick of the bunch. Just don’t forget to find one with that optional off-road secret weapon – the rear locking diff.




A 30-year-old male living in western Sydney could expect to pay between $1358 and $1980 for a 2006 diesel GLX cab chassis per year, and around $2079 per year for a 2009 petrol GLX-R dual cab. This makes running a Triton less than you might expect.

(Please note: insurance costs vary greatly depending on your driving record and place of residence).






DiD 4M41
3200cc common-rail turbo diesel
118kW @ 4000rpm
347Nm @ 2000rpm


3497cc SOHC V6 multi-point fuel injection
135kW @ 4750rpm
309Nm @ 3500rpm


MANUAL: Five-speed manual
AUTO: Four-speed automatic


FRONT: Double wishbone, coil springs, swaybar, and hydraulic dampers
REAR: Rigid live axle, leaf springs, swaybar, and hydraulic dampers


FRONT: Discs (ventilated)
REAR: Drums


STEERING: Power-assisted rack and pinion, up to 12m turning circle




GLS Single Cab
GVM: 2840kg
HEIGHT: 1775mm
WIDTH: 1750mm
LENGTH: 5030mm

BRAKED – 2300kg
UNBRAKED – 750kg


GLX Double Cab

GVM: 2930kg
HEIGHT: 1780mm
WIDTH: 1800mm
LENGTH: 5070mm
BRAKED – 2300kg
UNBRAKED – 750kg


GLX-R Double Cab
GVM: 2930kg
HEIGHT: 1780mm
WIDTH: 1800mm
LENGTH: 5174mm
BRAKED – 2300kg
UNBRAKED – 750kg






GLX – steel wheels, air conditioning, remote central locking, power windows, vinyl floor, cloth trim
GLX-R – alloy wheels, air conditioning, remote central locking, power windows, carpet, sports cloth trim, retractable power rear window
GLS – alloy wheels, climate control air conditioning, remote central locking, power windows, carpet, leather trim, retractable power rear window
OLYMPIC EDITION – alloy wheel, sports suspension, climate control air conditioning, remote central locking, power windows, carpet, leather trim, retractable power rear window, hard sports cover, sports bar, nudge bar
VR – alloy wheels, sports suspension, fog lights, six-speaker stereo, side steps
FASTBACK – alloys wheels, electric sunroof, climate control air conditioning, sports bar, nudge bar, leather trim



JUL 2006 New Mitsubishi Triton released in Australia
JUL 2007 Diesel automatic introduced
MAY 2007 VR model introduced
MAY 2008 Olympic Edition introduced
JUL 2008 Mitsubishi’s Super Select four-wheel drive system now
fitted to diesel Tritons
OCT 2008 Fastback variant released
AUG 2009 New MN Triton model announced