Pick-up trucks have become more than just workhorses in the past couple of years. In fact, they’ve become a top choice for many car and SUV buyers as the excise tax exemption (and subsequent price reductions) really made pick-ups that much more attractive.

Manufacturers all around have raised the bar by going so far as to release “performance” variants of their pick-ups. The biggest of which may be the Ford Ranger Raptor.

Mitsubishi has apparently seen the appeal and the potential of pick-ups and has just introduced a new variant under the Strada nameplate: the Athlete. With a bolder and distinct look, is it really meant to be able to compete with the top-of-the-food-chain Raptor?

Is the Athlete the “Raptor” of the Mitsubishi Strada lineup? image

So, let’s start. What does the Strada Athlete have that makes it different? Let’s start with its looks. If blacked-out accents and decals are your thing, then the Athlete may be for you.

Donning a blacked-out Dynamic Shield, a black front bumper garnish, 18” black alloy wheels, a styling bar with side graphics, and a two-tone interior upholstery (for the 4x4 model), all the updates provide a bolder and tougher look to the Strada.

Is the Athlete the “Raptor” of the Mitsubishi Strada lineup? image

On the inside, albeit for the top-spec 4x4 variant, a two-tone black and orange theme adorns the cabin from the seats, gear shifter, and the parking brake lever. The spacious cabin provides the same level of comfort to all passengers of the Strada, plus its 2nd-row seats carry the J-line design that is intended to maximize interior space.

Okay, that deals with the aesthetics. Back to the question: is it meant to take on the Raptor? Here’s the meat of the Strada Athlete.

Under the hood resides a 2.4-liter MIVEC Turbo Clean Diesel engine. Producing 181 horses and 430 Nm of torque, it is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Add the ability to switch drive modes on the fly with Mitsubishi’s Super Select 4WD II system, and you have yourself a capable pickup in the Strada Athlete.

Convenience and safety are also built into the Strada with the following standard features: 8-way power seat adjust system, cruise control, Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist (BSW with LCA), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS), Trailer Stability Assist, Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, Multi Around Monitor with guiding and expected course line, Auto High Beam, and Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body.

Is the Athlete the “Raptor” of the Mitsubishi Strada lineup? image

With all that, we can simply surmise an answer to our aforementioned question, and that is, unfortunately: no. And we could wager an answer, too.

The Strada, ever since its beginnings as the Mitsubishi L200, has been all about transporting people and their wares around with versatility, and dependably. Fast forward to today, we’ve seen many updates and facelifts to the Strada, but really, has that taken away any of its basic functions and value as a pickup truck? Has it made it any less reliable or incapable of its core design? Again, no.

So you don’t have a Raptor fighter in the Strada Athlete, but you still get the same durability and capability of the Strada badge with your purchase. Also, who wouldn’t want the black pieces and the tastefully-placed decals, right?

Three color options are available for the Strada Athlete, namely: White Diamond, Jet Black Mica, and Sunflare Orange which is exclusive to the 4x4 variant. Pricing for the Strada Athlete is as follows:

Strada Athlete 4x2 : PhP 1,443,000

Strada Athlete 4x4 : PhP 1,760,000

Both variants of the Strada Athlete are available in all Mitsubishi Motors showrooms nationwide... well, once the quarantine ends.