Let’s not beat around the bush. If you’re in the market for a ute that has heaps of power, a bunch of luxury and will make the guys at the jobsite or your mates at camp turn a little green, then the GWM Cannon and Mitsubishi Triton are not for you. Sorry.
What this pair do represent, however, is arguably the two best bang-for-buck utes available on the market today. Both ring in right around the $50K mark, both have plenty of comfort, both have exceptionally excellent warranties and both will handle anything you throw at them (within reason).
If you’re chasing a new ute and don’t want to drop over seventy-grand on a vehicle that will lose a bunch of value just by driving it off the showroom floor, then cast your eye over our shootout between two of the most well-priced 4X4s on the market.
2023 Mitsubishi Triton GLS
Price: $51,490 (exc. on-roads)
Warranty: 10 years; 200,000 km
Engine: 2.4L MIVEC 4-cyl turbo-diesel, common rail injection
Driveline: 6-speed auto; Super-Select II transfer case, rear diff locker
Fuel Consumption: 8.6L/100km combined
Fuel Capacity: 75L
Suspension: IFS double A-arm coilover struts; Solid axle rear with leaf springs
Towing Capacity: 3100kg
Kerb Weight: 1958kg
Interior Appointments: 7.0in touchscreen infotainment unit with Apple Carplay and Android Auto; six-speaker stereo; dual-zone climate control; paddle shifters (auto)
Safety: 5-Star ANCAP rating; front and rear parking sensors; reverse camera; blind spot monitoring; rear cross-traffic alert; autonomous emergency braking; lane departure warning; traction control, stability control
Tray Dimensions (mm): 1520Lx1420W
Wheelbase (mm): 3000
Overall Dimensions (mm): 5305Lx1815Wx1795H;
2023 GWM Cannon X
Price: $45,490 (drive away)
Warranty: 7 years, unlimited km
Engine: 2.0L 4-cyl turbo diesel; common rail injection
Driveline: 8sp Auto; dual range transfer case
Fuel Consumption: 9.4L/100km combined
Fuel Capacity: 78L
Suspension: IFS double A-arm coil-over-strut front, solid axle leaf spring rear
Towing Capacity: 3000kg (braked)
Kerb Weight: 2100kg
Interior Appointments: 9.0in touchscreen infotainment unit with Apple Carplay and Android Auto (no navigation or DAB though); leather seats; 360deg. camera; climate control; 7.0in digital instrument cluster; hill start assist
Safety: 5-Star ANCAP rating; front and rear parking sensors; autonomous emergency braking; lane departure warning; lane-keep assist; blind-spot monitoring; rear cross-traffic alert; adaptive cruise control; traction control; stability control
Tray Dimensions (mm): 1560Lx1614W
Wheelbase (mm): 3230
Overall Dimensions (mm): 5410Lx1934Wx1886H
Top of the range meets second from the top
The Triton is a mainstay on the Aussie 4X4 ute scene, consistently placing third behind the HiLux and Ranger in the sales figures, competing strongly thanks to its lower price point than the other two. However, with the influx of Chinese utes (such as the GWM), not to mention increasingly aggressive pricing from Isuzu, Nissan and Mazda, the triple-diamond is under increasing pressure to keep their noses out in front of the rest of the pack.
Especially when the top-of-the-line GWM Cannon X is five gorillas cheaper than the mid-tier GLS Triton. The cheaper, and arguably better-appointed, newcomer becomes a harder to argue against proposition. It’s got a (admittedly lacklustre) fuel-efficient powerplant, a solid ZF 8-speed box, a massive warranty, all the bells and whistles and a payload that’ll put most of the other utes in class to shame. It really represents the new age of budget utes and value for money. It’s not (yet) as nice to drive as the established brands on the market, and is a little rougher around the edges, but for the customer looking to buy a second-hand late model HiLux or Ranger – both of these utes will be roughly the same price to buy brand new and are well worth a second (if not a third and fourth) look.
Unsurprisingly, the Triton is a lot more sure-footed and comfier to drive on-road. Mitsubishi’s rally heritage is obvious when you get behind the wheel, and the Super Select II transfer case’s versatility – changeable between RWD to AWD as well as centre-diff-locked High and Low ranges – continues to make it one of the best on the market. The rear leaf springs are well dialled to the weight of the vehicle, and for a stock ute, is one of the nicest riding suspensions in the game.
The Cannon’s ride, on the other hand, is best described as agricultural. Throw half a tonne in the back and the overly stiff leaf packs will undoubtedly soften up nicely, but when riding unladen you’re aware of the skittishness from the back, and the steering input feels decidedly vague when compared to the Triton.
Inside the cab, the Triton feels nice without being luxurious. Mitsubishi have long held a good-but-not-great mentality to decking out the cabins of their utes, and not much has changed. The GLS gets a few more appointments than the lower spec variants but overall it’s not exactly what you’d call opulent. Still, it has everything you need – comfy seats, lots of cupholders, a USB or two and a (small these days) 7in touchscreen infotainment unit.
The GWM has a higher appointment level, yet still features plenty of hard plastic and only a couple of cupholders. Hardly deal-breakers, and you still get heaps for your dollar, but a top-spec Amarok itis not. A 9in touchscreen, leather and all of the mod-cons you’d expect from a vehicle that’s twenty-grand more than this one, so you have to give them credit here.
Both of these vehicles engines are not up to standard, a fact reflected in their below industry standard 3100kg and 3150kg for the Triton and Cannon respectively. The Triton’s 2.4L turbo-diesel puts out 130kW and 430NM, which would have been respectable back in 1997, but keep in mind the next-gen Rangers are putting out 40% more power and torque and, frankly, Mitsubishi will lose sales because of it. But this is a comparison between the Triton and Cannon, and despite the 2.4L being a little anaemic it still easily gives the GWM engine a spanking.
The Cannon’s 2.0L turbo-diesel is nothing short of disappointing. Slow to accelerate, laboured, and just feels doughy in pretty much all scenarios. While both engines offer decent fuel economy, there really isn’t much excuse for bringing a Swiss army knife to a bazooka fight these days, yet both these guys thought they could wow us with their nifty fold-out corkscrews. Ok, you get the point, moving on.
for them to turn them into track-eating weapons. The GLS also comes with a rear diff-lock which makes harder trails a lot more doable. The GWM, unfortunately, is still a bit too new on the scene to have much in the way of off-the-shelf accessories for them, although nothing is impossible. At the time of writing, the Cannon did not have a long range tank on the market, whereas the Triton does – given both have fairly paltry fuel capacities (under 80L), this gives you an idea of how one is well-suited to remote travel and the other isn’t. At least, not yet.
If long-distance touring is on the cards, you’re probably better off with the Triton for now, but don’t be surprised if the price-point of the GWM nets them a big enough market share to change that within a few years.
Look, neither are what you’d call bad at towing, and if you’re looking to lug a box trailer to the tip on the weekend or a lighter camper trailer for camping missions with the fam then both will do the job nicely. If you have a large caravan, big boat or anything nudging 2.5-3T then maybe look elsewhere. Low torque numbers, low GVMs and low tow ratings unsurprisingly don’t lend themselves to pulling a car trailer with an F-Truck on it all that well.
The Triton has a respectable carrying capacity of just over 900kg, which is really pretty bloody good, but the GWM’s standout feature has to be it’s strongman-spec 1050kg of payload. Pretty impressive we reckon (and sure to loosen up those rear springs nicely).
It’s achieved through having a GVM of just north of 3T yet keeping the kerb weight down to a svelte 2100kg. Regardless, another feather in the GWM cap and something that’ll definitely be appreciated by concreters, bricklayers and Clive Palmer’s Uber drivers.
Are either of these vehicles the outright best on the market? No. Are they two utes that’ll tick a hell of a lot of boxes for a lot of folks without requiring a second mortgage and a kidney? Absolutely. Neither are uncomfortable, neither are unreliable and neither are underbuilt. They’re also not a day-spa on wheels, more powerful than a prime-mover nor capable of winning a rock-crawling competition then towing a triple-axle van up the Cape.
They’re middle of the road 4X4s which is not a negative at all. For a whole bunch of people, these vehicles will be ideal for their use and, most importantly, will not require an outlay of six-figures to be ready for whatever you want to throw at it. Buying a new car is largely dependent on determining what you need, what you want and how much you want to drop on a depreciating asset, and it’s hard to imagine a set of criteria where these two don’t at least fill out a fair number of the check boxes. If you’re on the hunt for Australia’s best value ute – then do yourself a favour and add Triton and Cannon to your shortlist.