Toyota Hilux vs Mitsubishi Triton
Which is best, the Toyota HiLux or the Mitsubishi Triton?
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Competing against Toyota is like trying to battle a giant. In the last financial year, the company saw profits of 2.49 trillion yen, or approximately $33 billion. Toyota doesn't just have a heap of cash larger than some country's yearly GDP, it also has a rock solid reputation. The HiLux is a vehicle with a stature that is almost legendary. But, could the plucky Mitsubishi Triton topple the HiLux in a head-to-head battle? And which one should you spend your hard-earned cash on?
April 2020 update: small business tax break
Did you know that that the in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Australia government has increased the small business instant tax write-off to $150,000. If you are currently looking for a work vehicle you may be eligible. You can learn more with our guide to the instant asset tax write-off.
Toyota HiLux history
In 1968, Toyota began building a two-door ute it called the HiLux (a portmanteau for high luxury), itself based upon a Toyota subsidiary company's model called the Hino Briska. The ute was a RWD pick-up with just four gears. The second generation model came in 1972, with a nickname given to it by the Japanese that translated to Rocket HiLux. This model had a larger engine and more gears. It wouldn't be until 1979 that Toyota engineers finally married the third-generation HiLux with a 4WD transmission and a low-range transfer case.
The 80s saw a new generation of the HiLux arrive, as well as an improved turbocharged diesel engine, plus a famous appearance in the Back to the Future series of films.
Later generations began to grow, with long wheelbases and more-powerful engines. Two seventh generation HiLuxes were entered in the Dakar Rally, scoring a top-three finish. We're now onto the eight generation Toyota HiLux, which is incredibly popular and in 2018 it was the bestselling vehicle outright in Australia. Over the years, the HiLux has formed a perception that it's exceptionally tough, reliable, willing to off-road and capable to take a few knocks and bumps.
This Toyota ad from 2012 sums up how the company markets the ute: unbreakable.
Mitsubishi Triton background
The Mitsubishi Triton isn't quite as old as the HiLux and it first debuted in 1978 under the name Forte in Japan. In 1981, Mitsubishi made the first 4WD model, with a unique chain drive transfer box. After another name change to the L200, in 1986 the Triton moniker was employed. Like the HiLux, the Triton entered in the gruelling Dakar Rally.
Fourth generation Tritons were built from 2005–2014 in Thailand. The current model is a face-lifted iteration of the fifth-gen Triton.
Around the same time as the Toyota ad above, Mitsubishi went with a more toned-down marketing campaign:
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Toyota HiLux vs the Mitsubishi Triton
Using our 4x4 ute comparison reviews, which is better, the HiLux or the Triton?
- The entry-level petrol Triton is cheaper than the HiLux. A single-cab chassis, 2.4-litre petrol, manual transmission, 4x2 Triton has a driveaway price of $24,990 in postcode 2000, with a free tray! A 2.7-litre manual, petrol, RWD WorkMate Toyota HiLux will cost you over $2k more, with a driveaway price of $27,027, unless it's on offer, as it was in May 2019, for $22,990.
- Car reviewers said the Triton sets a benchmark for value. You get a lot of tech and features for your money.
- Longer warranty. Mitsubishi offers buyers a seven-year warranty, while Toyota's is only five years.
- Styling. The work-orientated Triton models look clean-cut, modern and aggressive. We prefer it to the HiLux design.
- Triton 2.4-litre diesel uses 7.0L/100km. The brochure numbers for the comparable 2.4-litre diesel HiLux engine is 0.1 litres higher, at 7.1L/100km.
- The Triton has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It's so easy to navigate using Google Maps from your phone, respond to texts and while away long journeys by listening to your music on Spotify. The HiLux doesn't have this option. It's not standard on all Triton models though, just the GLX+ and upwards.
- The Triton's 2.4-litre diesel engine is more torquey and powerful. The Mitsubishi 2.4-litre turbo diesel produces 133kW@3,500rpm and 430Nm@2,500rpm, vs the HiLux's 110kW@3,400rpm and 343Nm between 1,400rpm and 2,800rpm on a manual gearbox model. A HiLux with an automatic transmission can handle 400Nm@1,600–2,000rpm. However, the HiLux also sells with a more powerful and grunty 2.8-litre diesel.
- Mitsubishi publishes payload and cargo bed dimensions. Toyota does not. The Triton can carry up to 1,284kg as a RWD petrol chassis cab and 858kg as the top spec GLS Premium Double Cab 4x4.
- The Triton has 98 4- and 5-star ratings from owners. On a site that lets owners leave reviews of their utes, the Triton had 98 4- and 5-star ratings from buyers. The HiLux only had 55.
- Diesel Tritons have a six-speed automatic or manual. The HiLux has a five-speed manual and a six-speed automatic on its 2.4-litre diesel.
- Motoring journalists said the 2019 Triton is class-leading in safety equipment.
- 2019 model rose in price. The motoring media marked the Triton down as prices rose for the 2019 model.
- The Triton has a low towing capacity. Toyota claims some HiLux models can tow 3,500kg, whereas the Triton maxes out at 3,100kg. Most utes aim for the 3.5-tonne towing benchmark. You could argue that after factoring in payload, trailer ball download and GVM, the Toyota would actually measure nearer to the Triton's brochure figure.
- HiLux price per service is cheaper. Toyota charges $240 per service on a HiLux. You'll pay $299 per service at a Mitsubishi dealer for the first 3 years. However, the HiLux servicing costs more over two years due to shorter servicing intervals.
- The HiLux has three engine choices. In the Triton, Mitsubishi only offers two engines, a 2.7-litre petrol and a 2.4-litre diesel. In addition to these engine options, Toyota also produces a meaty 2.8-litre diesel.
- The 4x4 system on the HiLux is only part-time. The Triton has full-time 4WD.
- The HiLux has a wider turning circle. The turning circle for the HiLux measures 12.8 metres, against 11.8 metres on the Triton. In tight inner-city carparks, this could make a huge difference.
- Resale value. According to car valuers, the HiLux retains a higher resale price than the Triton.
- More HiLuxes have a rear diff lock. Essential for keeping going in sticky mud and slippery off-road conditions, only WorkMate HiLuxes lack a rear diff locker, whereas only the top-spec Triton dual cab gets one.
- The HiLux has a manual DPF switch. A nice inclusion on the HiLux diesels, you can manually activate a DPF burn-off when your driving hasn't triggered a regeneration cycle. A clogged DPF can be very costly to replace and the Triton lacks this feature.
- Journalists commented that the HiLux has a very firm ride. With more and more utes taking the place of the family sedan, expectations for car-like handling rise.
- Reputation. For some people, having the HiLux badge gives them the image and name they desire.
|Mitsubishi Triton||Finder Score: 78.6%|
|Value for money||Not as big as rivals|
|Handy around town||Towing performance|
|4WD system||Wish it had an eight-speed automatic|
|Toyota HiLux||Finder Score: 73.33%|
|Built tough||No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto|
|Good off road||Average fuel consumption|
|Huge model range||Sparse equipment for money|
|Resale values||Clunky infotainment system|
|2.8-litre diesel option||Unladen ride|
Verdict: Which is best, the Toyota HiLux or the Mitsubishi Triton?
Taking all the above information and the brochure figures, if it were our money, we'd go for the Triton. It offers better value for money, lots of safety tech, cheaper servicing overall and the ability to use the all-wheel-drive system on tarmac.
However, it's hard to discount the HiLux, which routinely tops the overall new car sales figures each month. It's well made, does everything pretty well and only has a few cons that may or may not be dealbreakers. If you buy a HiLux, you'll be sure to lose less money as they hold value better than the Triton.
You may also be interested in our Toyota HiLux vs. Ford Ranger comparison.
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