With the TRAIN law pushing gasoline prices past the Php 50 mark, I find myself seriously considering getting a diesel-powered vehicle. And I’m not here to argue the merits of diesel versus gasoline or vice-versa because that’s for another story.
But if you find yourself in the same situation I’m in, you’ll notice that most vehicles with a diesel engine are a tad more expensive than their gas counterparts.
Thankfully, the TRAIN law is a double-edged sword and the good side sliced away the excise tax for pickup trucks allowing them to be much, much more competitive. Which brings us to the Mitsubishi Strada GLS 2WD A/T — with a new engine, terrific features and at a budget-friendly rate, here are six reasons that make this truck a great pick up.
New 2.4L MIVEC engine
The GLS gets an upgrade from the decades-old 4D56 diesel engine to the new 4N1 engine family that now comes with variable valve timing, the world’s first for a diesel engine. You may recognize it under the name Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system or MIVEC.
Using a common rail injection system coupled with variable geometry turbo, the output is naturally much higher at 181 PS, forty-five more than the previous engine.
Much of its 430 Nm of torque is available from low-end to mid-range, so you can imagine the kind of fun available with this easily excitable large vehicle. It goes without saying that overtaking is a cinch, especially if you see an opening and want to break away from crawling traffic.
New steering wheel
Gone as well, is the plain old steering wheel that’s still available in the Strada GL. The one on this unit is so much more sophisticated and sort of catches up with the updated exterior to make it look as flashy, in and out.
While most of the cabin is of hard plastic, the chrome accents on the steering wheel make it more palatable to the office manager who’s decided that he or she wants to drive a pickup to work from now on. It sports audio controls on the left side and cruise controls on the right.
The best part is that this generation of the Strada can brag about its 3.8 lock-to-lock steering, which means that it only takes some 3.8 rotations from a full right turn to a full left. That number can rival even some sedans currently in the market. That’s saying something for a pickup truck.
Better fuel consumption
With MIVEC, which is essentially a technology to increase power and torque over a much wider speed range, another benefit is better fuel economy and reduced emissions. MIVEC allows this engine to use the lowest compression ratio of any diesel passenger vehicle at 14.9:1 while still improving combustion, cutting-down tailpipe smoke. That is why Mitsubishi calls this engine ‘clean diesel’.
In pure city driving for some six days, about half of them workdays, I averaged a very good 8.9 kilometers per liter. And that’s even counting the fact that I was mostly pushing the Strada to really test it out.
Tighter turning radius
Maneuverability is ‘no problemo’ as well for the Strada, which has the tightest turning radius at 5.9 meters.
I can consider you lucky if you don’t have any u-turns along your route but for most who have to go through it on a regular basis, you’ll love that this will save you from having to make two- or three-point turns anymore. While it may look bulky from the driver’s seat, it is surprisingly easy to take around even along narrow roads and even EDSA during rush hour.
We all know how traffic is not just bumper-to-bumper, it can also be sidemirror-to-sidemirror and seeing the Strada fit in with room to spare gives you confidence as a driver.
The reason I’m even talking about the Strada GLS is because most of us want a diesel-powered vehicle with a good enough ground clearance to save you from worrying when it rains.
It may not break records but at 205 mm, you can breathe easy when it starts pouring or when you see a pothole coming up. Aside from the height, it is made to tackle more than just road pimples.
Diesel-powered SUVs, which now range above P1.5 million, for some are just beyond budget. And if it’s just for a daily beater, I agree that it would be, unless you’ve got deep pockets.
I know the Mitsubishi Strada GLS 2WD A/T is a lot of vehicle for a simple everyday drive. It could be a handful for some and as easy as it is to maneuver, there will be plenty of situations where it just doesn’t fit unless the other car is moved.
But at just P1.228 million, it gives you ‘clean diesel’, the turbo and ground clearance. Consider that price the next time you’re looking for those three things.
Text and photos by Eric Tipan