2023 Best Ute Under $50K: Mitsubishi Triton

At the most affordable end of the market, which dual-cab ute delivers the goods?

f0eb1537/wheels best utes 2023 under 50k hero 2 jpg

Dual-cab utes remain hot property in 2023, with the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger continuing to dominate the top of the charts for new-vehicles sales.

The problem is that the best versions of these models are found above $60,000.

That's not cheap by any stretch, while most ute manufacturers seem to be spending most effort on higher-spec variants that can bring wider profit margins.

Thankfully, there are a handful of jewels still to be found below $50,000 – and we’ve shortlisted three of the best options: Triton, Navara and Musso.

Honourable mentions go to the LDV T60 and GWM Cannon, which offer premium features for a great price. However, the three vehicles listed below nudge them out when combining both quality and value in equal measure.

Best Utes: Read the full series

Wheels Best Utes 2023 is your ultimate guide to the top picks in this vast and varied segment.


adee0953/2022 ssangyong musso xlv ultimate black towingabrook 220728 9432 jpg

Ssangyong Musso Ultimate XLV

$43,590 before on-road costs
Packed with creature comforts belying its price point, the top-spec Musso XLV impresses both on- and off-road.

What we liked

  • Engine refinement
  • Interior space and quality
  • Balanced on-road performance

Not so much...

  • Unrated by ANCAP
  • Rear-seat lap belt
  • Extra length can hinder off-road performance

If there’s ever been a ute that surpasses expectations more than the Musso, we’d like to hear about it. Granted, expectations may be low, but feedback is consistently positive once people exit the driver’s seat of the Korean-born dual-cab.

A real perk of the Musso is its cavernous cabin and well-appointed interior. The seats are wide, supportive and accommodating, and there are plentiful storage bins and sizable drink holders. The infotainment system is modern and speedy, and its user interface is intuitive and easy to navigate.

b88809e0/2021 ssangyong musso xlv update 54 jpg

A noticeable negative, and it’s a bit of an oversight, is the use of a lap belt for the rear middle seat. It’s just something not seen these days. To that point, it's worth noting the Musso is currently unrated by ANCAP.

An obvious compromise of its spacious interior is that it translates to a big exterior, with the Musso quite large compared with its contemporaries. Its extra 300mm length in XLV guise can make navigating steep off-road climbs quite difficult.

Still, it drives really well on bitumen, and the 2.2-litre engine is impressively refined for a vehicle at this price point. Steering is well dialled in, which makes the Musso a very practical vehicle for daily duties. Coil-sprung suspension front and rear provides a balanced on- and off-road demeanour.

The inclusion of a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) as standard is also a big tick.

b3b709c9/2021 ssangyong musso xlv update 24 jpg

In top-spec XLV guise, the Musso’s payload jumps from 790kg to a usable 880kg, and its 133kW/420Nm 2.2-litre diesel is mated to a six-speed automatic. It has a towing capacity of 3500kg.

A Luxury Pack is available for an additional $3000 (still keeping it below $50K). This adds more premium equipment such as Nappa leather seating and dual-zone climate control.

⬆️ Back to top

2023 Ssangyong Musso standard features
18-inch black alloy wheelsDual-zone climate (Ultimate Luxury)
Faux leather interiorNappa leather (Ultimate Luxury)
360-degree cameraPowered sunroof (Ultimate Luxury)
TPMSPowered front seats and driver lumbar support (Ultimate Luxury)
Heated seats and steering wheelHeated rear seats (Ultimate Luxury)
ba990a0d/2021 ssangyong musso xlv update 64 jpg
2023 Ssangyong Musso safety features
Autonomous emergency brakingRear cross traffic warning
Lane departure warningLane change collision warning
Blind spot detection
2023 Ssangyong Musso ownership details
WarrantySeven-year/unlimited kilometre
Service interval15,000km/12 months
Servicing costFive years at a cost of $1875
c1680a96/2022 mitsubishi triton glx 19 jpg

Mitsubishi Triton GLX+

$48,990 before on-road costs
This versatile fan-favourite is equally adept at work and adventure duties. Its exceptional value in GLX+ trim makes it hard to ignore.

What we liked

  • Nimble on- and off-road
  • Great value
  • Class-leading warranty

Not so much...

  • Basic and dated interior
  • Misses out on some advanced safety tech
  • Limited towing capacity

Look at the best-selling 4x4 vehicles in Australia over the past few years and you’ll notice there’s one that consistently lurks behind the heavy-hitting HiLux and Ranger on the sales charts – and there’s good reason for that. The Triton not only offers exceptional value for money, but it’s equally capable on and off road.

In GLX+ trim, the Triton sits comfortably beneath the $50,000 mark with a $48,990 drive-away price. For that coin, consumers receive a hard-working all-rounder.

There are obvious compromises in certain areas, and none more so than inside the cabin, where cost-cutting measures can be noticeable.

a04a08be/2022 mitsubishi triton glx 40 jpg

Unlike other budget vehicles – think Musso, Cannon and T60 – which feature more premium features as standard, the utilitarian cabin in the Triton GLX+ has cloth seats, plenty of plastic and thrifty-looking trims, single-zone air-conditioning, and a small 7.0-inch touchscreen housing a dated infotainment system.

Despite these flaws, the Triton is nimble and direct to drive on- and off-road, thanks to its smaller stature (in the dual-cab class) and settled suspension (leaf springs at the rear and coils up front).

Unlike more premium models in the Triton stable, the GLX+ uses the more rudimentary – but easy to use – Easy Select 4WD system instead of the more advanced Super Select II 4x4 system.

All Tritons are powered by a long-serving 133kW/430Nm 2.4-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder diesel, mated to a six-speed automatic in the GLX+.

b8f609db/2022 mitsubishi triton glx 64 jpg
You’ll save close to $10K opting for the GLX+ instead of the GSR, and we reckon that’s great value.

A decent payload of 945kg makes it a solid base to form a custom work ute and/or adventure vehicle, and there’s a tonne of aftermarket accessories to suit. However, you’ll have to wait for the next-gen Triton for a 3500kg towing capacity, as the current model is limited to 3100kg. It's due in January 2024.

There are more premium Triton dual-cabs in Mitsubishi showrooms (GLS and GSR), which offer a more luxurious interior, Mitsubishi's Super Select II 4x4 system, and added safety features. But you’ll save close to $10K opting for the GLX+ instead of the GSR, and we reckon that’s great value.

⬆️ Back to top

2023 Mitsubishi Triton standard features
16-inch alloy wheelsFront skid plate
Climate-control air-conSeven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
Rear diff lockHeavy duty suspension
Side stepsReversing camera
2023 Mitsubishi Triton safety features
Seven airbagsRear-view cameras
Forward collision mitigation systemParking sensors
Lane departure warning
2023 Mitsubishi Triton ownership details
Warranty10 years/200,000km
Service interval15,000km/12-month
Servicing cost10 years at a total cost of $6740
0fac11d6/2023 nissan navara sl comp 2 png

Nissan Navara SL

$48,575 before on-road costs
Entry-level Navara SL sneaks into the sub-$50K category

What we liked

  • Strong engine performance
  • Impressive payload
  • Highly customisable

Not so much...

  • A bit long-in-the-tooth
  • Dated interior
  • Lacks some advanced safety tech

The Navara line-up received a refresh toward the end of 2021, which gave it a more purposeful stance and bolder style.

As the base model Navara, the SL misses out on plenty of equipment introduced with the ST. This includes carpet flooring, a leather-bound steering wheel and gearshift knob, chrome interior details, a stainless steel sportsbar, black side steps, a suite of advanced safety tech, and more sporty 17-inch alloy wheels.

0f9911d6/2023 nissan navara sl comp 1 png
A strong suit of the Navara is its twin-turbo 140kW/450Nm 2.3L bi-turbo diesel engine

Upgrade again to the Premcar-fettled SL Warrior and owners are treated to a 40mm suspension lift, a front bash plate, bullbar with integrated light bar, fender flares, all-weather floor mats, a tub liner, 100kg GVM upgrade, and Cooper Discoverer all-terrain tyres.

However, sacrificing this equipment does save you quite a bit of coin when signing on the dotted line – about $5000 (ST) and $10,000 (SL Warrior).

A strong suit of the Navara is its twin-turbo 140kW/450Nm 2.3L bi-turbo diesel engine, which runs through a seven-speed automatic transmission. The capable engine is paired with dynamic and well-weighted on-road characteristics, with the Navara’s road-handling an impressive attribute.

bb920a93/2023 nissan navara sl warrior 015jpg jpg
SL Warrior interior pictured

The Navara comes with a generous payload – 987kg in SL auto trim – which makes it an ideal vehicle for work or play customisation. That there’s also a smorgasbord of aftermarket accessories available is a bonus.

The utilitarian cabin does feel a bit old – and we’ll have to wait until 2025 for a new model – but it gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen (bigger than the Triton) that is well mapped out and intuitive to use, and it features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (albeit wired rather than wireless).

The low and flat seating position does take a bit of getting used to, but it gets better with time. There’s plenty of USB ports and copious storage pockets, and the drink holders will swallow larger bottles.

There are more capable off-roaders in the Navara line-up, but the base model SL is the only model that sits beneath the $50K cut-off for this segment.

⬆️ Back to top

2023 Nissan Navara standard features
Eight-inch touchscreenLocking rear diff
Reversing cameraVinyl flooring
Six-speaker sound systemHalogen DRLs
17-inch steel wheels with full-size spare
2023 Nissan Navara safety features
Autonomous emergency braking systemDriver attention alert
Forward collision warningHillstart assist and downhill brake control
Brake assistSeven airbags
2023 Nissan Navara ownership details
WarrantyFive year/unlimited kilometre
Service interval12 months/20,000km
Servicing costSix years at a cost of $4113 (auto)
b12d0951/2022 mitsubishi triton glx 18 jpg

🏆 THE WINNER: Mitsubishi Triton

If you’re willing to forego a few creature comforts, the Triton’s smooth- and rough-terrain abilities make it a compromise worth making.

A decent 4WD system in conjunction with well-tuned suspension and a rear diff lock as standard makes it very capable off-road, and a huge range of aftermarket accessories makes it a great base from which to create the ultimate work or adventure rig.

Add in its unbeatable 10-year warranty (and mind the conditions) and you can’t do better in the sub $50K dual-cab ute category.

⬆️ Back to top

Visit our Best Utes page to find the right ute for you.

SsangYong Musso XLV specsMitsubishi Triton GLX+Nissan Navara SL
Engine2.2-litre 4-cyl turbo-diesel2.4L MIVEC turbo-diesel2.3L twin-turbo diesel 4-cylinder
Power133kW at 4000rpm133kW @ 3500140kW @ 3750rpm
Torque420Nm at 1400 to 2800rpm430Nm @ 2500450Nm @1500-2500rpm
Transmission6-speed auto6-speed automatic7-speed automatic
Transfer caseDual-range part-timePart-time 4x4Dual-range part-time 4x4
Front suspensionIFS w/ upper and lower control arms, coil springsDouble wishbone with coil springsDouble wishbone with coil springs
Rear suspensionLive axle, coil springs, stabiliser barLeaf springs (heavy duty)Multi-link with coil springs
Kerb weight2160kg1955kg1944kg
Tyres265/60R18245/70R16 111S RF255/65 R17
Towing capacity3500kg3100kg3500kg
Fuel tank75L75L80L
On-test fuel useN/AN/AN/A
ADR fuel claim8.2L/100km8.6L/100km7.8L/100km
Departure angle23.42224.5
Approach angle22.83032.4
Rampover angle23.42423.4
Ground Clearance215mm205mm224mm

⬆️ Back to top


Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.