The competition among the brands with pickups is tight, especially with their exemption from the excise tax on automobiles. More people are buying them, leading manufacturers to up their game with updates. Ultimately, the buyer is reaping the benefits with these pickups looking and performing better and better with each update. This week, we have a look at the new Mitsubishi Strada.
The biggest change is up front where Mitsubishi applied their second generation Dynamic Shield Concept fascia, giving it a more prominent front end. The LED projection headlights are tucked with daytime running lamps. The fog lights have been moved all the way to the edge of the bumper, paired with the larger turn signal indicators. You get new LED combination rear taillights to go with the new front end look. There are also new two-tone machine cut silver/glossy deep grey 18-inch alloy wheels.
It’s quite luxurious inside with double stitched edging leather on the seats, center console, rear arm rest and steering wheel. Drivers get a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, making it easy to get your own correct driving position. The instrument cluster is integrated with a colored multi-information display, which shows information like trip, fuel economy and 2WD / 4WD drive status.
You get the usual touchscreen multi-media entertainment system which surprisingly works with the iPod classic and serves as the screen for the back up camera. There’s also a dual-zone automatic climate-control system.
The second row gets a mobile phone tray and two USB charging ports. There’s a new feature for those who sit in the second row: a rear air recirculator which helps cool the rear cabin faster. The interior is roomy due to the J-line innovation which maximizes the space inside allowing the rear seats to be reclined for comfort, while shortening the wheelbase.
This Strada is powered by Mitsubishi’s 4N15 2.4L DOHC MIVEC Clean Diesel engine equipped with a Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT). It puts out 181-Ps at 3,500 rpm with maximum torque of 430-Nm starting at 2,500 rpm. It’s mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission with sport mode and paddle shifters.
The GT is equipped with Super Select 4WD-II with off-road traction control. This has four drive settings with four terrain controls: 2H is for regular city/highway driving, 4H is for when additional traction is needed and torque split is 40 percent front and 60 percent rear, 4HLc is 4WD High Range with a locked center differential, allowing for even torque distribution to all four wheels. 4LLc is 4WD Low Range with a locked center differential for real off-roading on challenging terrain. These are all conveniently accessed by shifting-on-the-fly, with the exception of 4LLc. The Off-Road Traction Control is very much similar to terrain response in other brands and it’s as easy as selecting Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand or Rock. This changes engine output, transmission settings and braking for the terrain type selected.
The GT has a suite of safety features, starting with a rear fog lamp for better visibility for drivers following you in bad weather. There are dual front, side, curtain and knee airbags. You’ll get Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, and Blind Spot Warning System (BSW). There’s also the Mitsubishi Active Stability and Traction Control (MASTC). Finally, Forward Collision Mitigation System and Ultrasonic Mis-acceleration Mitigation System (UMS) work together to alert the driver with a visual and audible warning. If you don’t apply the brakes, the system will initiate braking to reduce or prevent frontal impact.
The Mitsubishi Strada GT 4WD 2.4 6AT, like other pickups, offers good visibility, ground clearance, cargo space, comes with a faux sports bar (roll bar) and a bed liner. Its new look distinctly sets it apart from its competitors. It’s priced at Php1,670,000, near the higher end of the price scale of top of the line 4×4 pick ups. But, with its luxurious appointments, its off-road modes and terrain response features, make it very capable off-road. If you’ll use these features quite a bit, it comes out to pretty good value compared to its competitors that offer straight 4×4 without a locked center differential.
Text and photos by Neil Pagulayan