By now, you've been reading a lot about the world premiere of the new Mitsubishi Triton, a pick-up that we know in the Philippines as the Strada (high-grade) and L200 (entry-grade).
Technically, the Strada/Triton/L200 is something we refer to as a facelift, a mid-cycle model change, or a “minor change” (ironic as that may sound) because it's still the same generation as the current pick-up from Mitsubishi, albeit with a big update in styling. The chassis is the same, the engine choices are the same, and the architecture of the body is the same.
So, apart from the styling, what exactly is new with the Strada? We thought we'd answer that question for you as straight-up as we can.
Mind you, the models during the global launch were Thai and Australian-spec units, and may not be exactly the same as the ones we will get in the Philippines.
1. New and interesting colors
Apart from the standard colors, the Triton/Strada will have three special colors, chief of which is White Diamond; their “communication” color that will presumably be on the promotional material (i.e. brochures). The other two colors are Graphite Gray and Passion Orange.
If that last one sounded familiar, it was the same name used by Honda for the 1998-2001 Civic SiR sedan that was sold in the Philippines.
2. Advanced Safety Features
Safety is Mitsubishi's priority, so they fitted the Strada with some advanced safety equipment such as Blind Spot Warning, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Hill Descent Control, and more.
To assuage customers that the Strada is safe, Mitsubishi has added the same suite of features that would serve as a deterrent against these claims of supposed sudden unintended acceleration (SUA). Things like Forward Collision Mitigation and Ultrasonic Mis-acceleration Mitigation System are equipped for the high grade models.
3. Multi Around Monitor
Mitsubishi fitted the Triton/Strada with a new feature called the Multi Around Monitor; a system that generates a virtual bird's eye view of the ground around the truck on the screen using cameras on the side mirrors, the tailgate, and the front bumper. The benefit is obvious: it will help make very unlikely for you to scratch the body or those bigger wheels.
The name for this feature is unusual, but the function bears some marked similarities to a system used by Nissan: the Around View Monitor. The reason for that is because Mitsubishi has acquired the system from the same supplier of Nissan; one of the executives said the supplier was Clarion.
4. Automatic High Beam
Given the similarity of the Strada's new front face to the Xpander, we half expected that the headlights will be on the bumper, with the sharper upper light fixtures becoming just position lamps. But as explained by the Strada's designer, that's not the case. The headlights are mounted on the conventional spot with DRLs, while the lights on the bumper itself are the fog lamps and turn signals.
Isn't it annoying when you're driving long distances at night using your high beams, only to have to keep switching (or dipping) to low beams every time another car comes by?
Mitsubishi has addressed that problem: they used sensors to make headlight dipping automatic. As you drive, the Strada will sense if there's an oncoming vehicle at night, and then dip the high beams so you don't dazzle the other driver. It will also dip if you come up behind another vehicle.
The simplicity is what we like, along with the safety and convenience it offers.
5. New 6-speed Automatic
The most major mechanical change with the Strada/Triton has to be the automatic gearbox. The current model has a 5-speed automatic, but the new 2019 Strada/Triton will get a 6-speed automatic. As before, the manual gearbox will be the 6-speed.
We're actually curious why Mitsubishi didn't opt for the more advanced 8-speed auto in the Montero Sport/Pajero Sport given that they share engines and all, but the 6-speed upgrade should be a welcome one.
6. Extra convenience features
Mitsubishi made some upgrades to the Strada/Triton in terms of overall convenience. They added grab handles on the B-pillars so passengers can more easily get into rear bench of the high-riding truck.
More importantly, there were some clear upgrades in terms of smartphone (or mobile) convenience. The compartment just forward of the gear selector is now a smartphone tray, while the back of the center console box was also reshaped for that purpose, along with the addition of USB ports.
7. Bigger front brakes and calipers
A major mechanical upgrade was made to the front brakes, as both the brake discs and calipers have been enhanced. The ventilated front discs are larger and so are the two piston calipers.
Such upgrades should result in profound improvements in braking performance and heat control.
8. Upgraded rear suspension
Mitsubishi have upgraded the suspension at the back to improve the overall ride comfort and handling. The dampers (shock absorbers) are of a larger diameter, though the engineers at the event didn't specify by how much. Regardless, the larger dampers would hold more oil, and aid in absorption, among others.
The engineers also mentioned that the leaf springs have been retuned to give a better ride.
9. Smarter 4WD system
One feature that Mitsubishi was highlighting was the upgrade to the four-wheel drive system of the Strada, particularly the electronics. The 4WD system now has a function that allows the driver to select the kind of terrain the Strada/Triton will be taken on, and will optimize the drive settings to match the surface.
Drivers can pick between four distinct settings: (a) gravel, (b) mud and snow, (c) sand, and (d) rock. Rock mode can only be activated in 4LLc, the slower equivalent of 4WD low range.
10. Ceiling-mounted Air Circulator
A new feature is something that rather baffled us: a ceiling-mounted blower that takes in air from the front A/C vents, and sends it to the back. This feature is similar to the ones found on 7-seater MPVs to be able to cool the rear portion of the cabin more quickly, but we found it odd for a double cab pick-up with a small cabin
The system found in the high grade versions of the Strada/Triton does not mean that the vehicle has a dual airconditioning system; you have to point one of the A/C vents from the dashboard at it, and the blower simply forwards it to the back row. Still, it should be a big help on a warm day for the rear passengers.
The important part to note here is that not all of these features may make it to the Strada the Philippine market will eventually get. The spec sheet is not yet final, as is the release date, and other details.