After 3 years of being on sale, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines has just refreshed their Strada. It's been an urbanized truck ever since its launch, departing from the boxy stereotype that pick ups have been known for. Edges have been smoothed out and lines rounded, but the basic pick up architecture is still there. The biggest changes over the original version is in the front, with the new bumper and Boulay's grille has been redesigned, blacked out, and accented by a 3-bar chrome grille. The Strada is also wearing new shoes in the form of a new set of 6-spoke wheels
Inside, it's still as modern as before, in fact, it's still a more modern cabin than all of the other pick ups in the market. The interior is predominantly black while the dashboard looks like it was lifted off a coupe. Right in front of a driver is a great steering wheel that now features satellite audio controls, and behind it are the blue gauges bezeled and rimmed with silver accents.
Being a top of the line model means this Strada is exquisitely equipped, even amongst the other trucks. The multi info display at the top of the center console is one of the best around, featuring a multitude of data like the compass, fuel economy, barometer and temperature, among others. The 1DIN OEM audio system is also the best equipped in its category with AM/FM/CD/MP3 playback, an auxiliary and USB port and even Bluetooth connectivity for your mobile. All windows are powered, including the rear vent window. Instead of aircon, you get an automatic climate control system, and even a tire pressure monitoring system as standard equipment. The spec list is long, and a lot of the features will definitely come in handy.
And then there's the great engine. It's the 3.2 liter diesel engine, coded 4M41, a close relative of the legendary 4M40 found in the Pajero from the 1990's. The engine now receives the latest common-rail direct fuel injection technology with Di-D, bumping power figures to 160 PS and torque to 343 newton-meters.
The transmission for this version is a 5-speed manual, though a 4-speed automatic is also available. Driving in and out of town is quite easy, thanks to the relatively light clutch action. The 4x4 system is a shift-on-the-fly affair using the 2nd lever next to the shifter. Taking the Strada off road is quite easy, enabling the driver to switch to 4x4 high or low quickly and as needed.
What really sets apart the Strada from the rest of the pack is its bias towards comfort. The ride is better than the rest of the trucking crowd, being sprung more softly. Regardless of the spring rates and damper rates, the Strada handles the weight of extra cargo quite well. The bed is relatively small for commercial purposes, but more than enough for the family's out of town trip or for moving to a different place.
I've always liked the Mitsubishi Strada, but my priorities are different from the classic trucker. I don't usually venture off the tarmac nor do I carry a hardcore amount of cargo, but for PhP 1,265,000, the Strada's style, features, comfort and ultimately its value, makes it a great choice for the urban trucker... like me.