Text: Tito F. Hermoso / Photos: Tito F. Hermoso | posted November 16, 2011 17:13
The Designer Truck Gets A Boost
The Strada's sweeping compound curves makes it stand out from a sea of pickups making it rather futuristic in looks. The interior is faithful to the avantgarde concept introduced several Tokyo Motor Shows ago. Its got very pleasant fabrics in two tone colors and mesh textures. Plastics have modern textures and are quite artistically molded. Mitsubishi is saying utilitarian need not mean boring.
Underneath its un-truck like exterior lies classic upsized compact pick up truck with rear wheel drive, ladder frame chassis, solid floating rear axle suspended by semi-elliptic leaf springs and wishbone-coil spring front suspension. Its also got a limited slip differential, as many of its rivals are already including this as standard equipment.
One of the overwhelming impressions one gets from a Strada is the feeling of solidity in the way it muffles bumps and holes taken at speed. The switches and controls feel tight and well sprung. This consistency of feel carries through with steering wheel, wands and the A/T shift lever; no flimsy inconsistency here. This feel affects one's perception of the Strada's handling and performance, which, in actuality is more or less par for the course for high quality Thai-made pick ups. The VGT makes a big difference making the Strada quite rapid in its responses to the loud pedal, upping the game, making it comparable to other VGT equipped crdi's even among the German brand SUVs.
Mitsubishi's VGT 2.5-liter DiD engine already shadows the high-output diesel engines of its concurrent rivals. The new engine's 178PS even eclipses bigger displacement 3.0 liter CRDi engines. Not only does its output beat the 175PS 2.5-liter Nissan Navara, it can already declare an advantage over the 2012 Ford Ranger's 150PS 2.2-liter and the 144PS 2.5 liter variable geometry VN-turbo diesel of the 2012 Toyota Hilux.
Sober highway cruising yields 11 to 13kms/liter, standstill to 100km/h takes 11.6 seconds and one can reach 180km/h on a clear road. Understeer is the operative word in corners although one can have fun in rally stages as the VGT is so responsive in delivering tons of torque when one accelerates at the apex of a corner. With substantial Mitsubishi spec shock absorbers, high speed ride is stable and the Strada is less jiggly over high frequency road imperfections.
Despite standing out from a crowd of boxy pick-ups, the Strada doesn't yield that much to its rivals in pick up bed volumetric capacity. Same goes for its payload. The Strada shape poses a design challenge for commercial applications when companies apply wraparound foil-stickers to its is ovoid shape as most advertising hoarding works better with flat 2D surfaces. Most off the shelf aftermarket roofs and hoops tend to be purpose made for the Strada as most other aftermarket accessories are designed for the Strada's boxier rivals.
Our GLX-V test unit came with dealer optioned Alpine audio equipment, OEM bedliner, rear bumper kit, chrome cargo hooks and steering wheel audio remote control buttons. Also, Mitsubishi has finally upgraded its remote keyless fob to a less klutz sensitive module.
In the Strada, there is so much design and materials quality to be had for the price of an 1800cc compact sedan in this segment. Despite the compact car price, expectations of compact car comfort and maneuverability should be shelved as pick ups, despite their car like styling and demeanor, are built to haul cargo.
For several years in a row, Mitsubishi's Strada has always lorded it over the 4x4 segment which perhaps reflects the priorities of the Philippine 4x4 LCV buyers. Obviously the Strada consistently appeals to them who prefer to have less truck-like style without any sacrifice in the 4x4 ruggedness they demand of their trucks.