The Triton utility appeared in 1989 however not too many early ones remain so we will look at the more easily found and still affordable 1996-2005 models.

These MK Series Tritons came in a huge combination of body styles, engine and trim variations. There was also the choice of 2WD or 4WD with manual or automatic transmission.

With value for money being a priority, most versions except the Dual-Cab 4WD diesel are currently available in decent condition for $5000 or less.

If you want a bare-bones work truck then the 2WD, single-cab GL comes power steering and a radio. Be aware that early ones don’t have air-bags. Most in the market include a basic alloy tray and some will have dealer-fit air-conditioning which is worth some extra money. The petrol V6 Dual-Cab will be of interest to the family seeking versatile weekday transport that can also visit a beach or favourite spot in the bush.

The GLX Double Cab 4×4 proved a winner with buyers who wanted to blend commercial and recreational use and keep the Fringe Benefits Tax bill to a minimum. The high-sided cargo space would take more than a tonne and towing capacity if your trailer was braked reached 2300kg.The GLX interior wasn’t plush but there is enough inside to satisfy buyers looking for practical, fairly comfortable transport. Air-conditioning, power steering and a CD player were among the initial inclusions with ABS brakes and cruise control as options.

Most common engine among MK-series Tritons was the 2.4-litre petrol version. Above that on the Powered-by-Petrol list is the 3.0-litre V6 with 35 percent more torque than the 2.4. This meant easier towing and faster overtaking without hurting fuel economy too badly.More expensive (usually) but worth the extra for long distance or commercial travel is the 2.8-litre turbo diesel with 92kW of power and loads of low-end grunt.

All Tritons may have done some rough running and need a thorough check of the underside. Look for damage to half-shafts on 4WDs, the exhaust, sump plate and scrapes to the floors and sills that have started to rust.

Providing they have been serviced, high kilometres aren’t a problem with any of these engines. Avoid any car where the vendor can’t produce recent service records.


  • underbody damage and rust.
  • gearbox whining and shifting difficult.
  • 4WD front axle locks jammed or diff noisy.
  • sagging rear springs and worn-out shock absorbers .
  • electrical problems cause lights and gauges to fail.
  • diesels that surge at constant throttle.
  • damage to door rubbers and sticky windows.


  • YEARS BUILT: 1996-2005
  • BODY STYLES: two & four-door utility
  • ENGINE: 2.4 four cylinder or 3.0-litre V6, 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
  • TRANSMISSION: five-speed manual or four-speed automatic
  • POWER & TORQUE: 133kW @ 5250rpm, 255Nm @ 4500rpm (3.0-litre)
  • SUSPENSION & BRAKES: independent front, live axle rear, disc front/drum rear
  • PERFORMANCE & FUEL CONSUMPTION: 0-100km/h – 11.6 seconds, 12.5L/100km (3.0-litre)


  • Affordability: 7./10
  • Durability: 8/10
  • Running Costs: 7/10
  • On The Road: 4.5/10
  • Practicality: 6/10
  • SCORE: 32.5/50
  • VALUE RANGE (1999-2005 4×4 3.0-LITRE DUAL-CAB)
  • FAIR $1800 GOOD $3500 EXCELLENT $5500

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