Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: Kelvin Christian Go | posted November 03, 2015 11:55
The pick-up is a versatile kind of vehicle, serving as a workhorse during the week and able to transform into a family car during the weekend. Off-road enthusiasts are particularly fond of the manual variant, owing to the greater control they afford.
As such, fresh from our review of the Strada 4x4 AT, we opt for the manual variant this time around to see how it measures up against the top-spec automatic.
At first glance, you can instantly notice that the Strada sports a new exterior look, as seen on the sweptback headlights that wrap around the vehicle’s fenders, the restyled bumper, the grooved hood, and the dashing chrome grill. In my opinion, I think that Mitsubishi could have designed the Strada with a little less chrome. The way I see it, the vehicle’s fascia could look more aggressive if it is fitted with a dark gray or a matte black grill.
Towards the side, the Strada has tweaked the ‘J-line’ cab design (what separates the enclosed cab from the cargo bed). This diagonal pillar also grants the passengers more cabin room without having to significantly increase the size of the truck. This unique design affords a more comfortable rear seat angle, which is perhaps the best among its class.
The rear of the Strada gets distinctive taillights as well as a chrome tailgate handle and a two-tone bumper. Similar to the GLS Sport V (top spec variant), this Strada has a spacious cargo bed that can fit bicycles, coolers, balikbayan boxes, and furniture among others.
In case you’re wondering, the Strada measures 165mm longer and 15mm wider compared to its predecessor. It now measures 5280mm long and 1815mm wide while the wheelbase and height were unchanged at 3000mm and 1780mm respectively.
The interior of this Strada looks similar to the top spec variant we reviewed earlier. It has a two-tone theme with glossy black and silver accents as well as a three-spoke steering wheel, and a restyled dashboard and a 6.75-inch touchscreen display for the GPS navigation, bluetooth, as well as a monitor for the reverse camera, among others. The instrument cluster also has a straightforward display and comes with white-on-black gauges.
Compared to the GLS Sport V, this Strada doesn’t come with dual climate control, USB input, nor paddle shifters. It also has a traditional 4x4 gear stick rather than a knob-type selector.
One of the things that stood out is the vehicle’s door panels which are now car-like, hardly looking like the standard equipment of a truck. Thanks to this, the Strada’s interior becomes more premium and sleek. The rear is also spacious, offering passengers decent leg and headroom.
Under the hood, this Strada is powered by a 2.5-liter DOHC turbocharged and intercooled Common Rail Direct Injection diesel engine that produces 178 PS and 400 Nm of torque. It is connected to a five-speed manual transmission.
Similar to the top-spec variant, this Strada is easy to drive in the city (despite its size) due to the light steering and handling feel. The steering feel of this Strada is lighter, compared to the GLS Sport V. It also has a soft clutch, which makes the Strada less of a chore to drive in the metro. Driving through tight streets were handled nicely by the Strada's 5.9 meter minimum turning radius, the tightest turning circle in its class and a trait commonly associated with Mitsubishi vehicles.
This Strada can also absorb the punishment brought upon by the dilapidated city roads. Though the ride still gets a little bumpy when you fall into a pothole, this vehicle does a good job of minimizing the impact. In terms of fuel economy, I was able to yield an average of 9 km/l (moderate traffic).
On the highway, this Strada never failed to deliver the goods as it cruised smoothly along SLEX. Overtaking is done swiftly and easily; thanks to its reliable engine response and light steering. Fuel-economy wise, I yielded 14 km/l while driving at an average speed of 80 km/h.
We also got the chance to take this pickup onto the back roads of Tagaytay. The drive showed that the steering and engine response of this Strada could take on rural roads with ease. Tight turns, narrow roadways, uphill roads as well as tough terrain, can all be handled easily. The vehicle’s 2.5-liter engine and four-wheel drive system enabled us to tackle the rough uphill and downhill terrain without a sweat. Moreover, the Strada's firmer suspension enabled us to pass the road less travelled with confidence.
Overall, the 2015 Strada GLS V proved to be a vehicle that can be a workhorse during the week and can transform into a family car (or toy car) during the weekend. As the local pick-up segment continues to grow and be more competitive, Mitsubishi’s Strada is indeed ready for the challenge.