UPDATE 2: 2015 Strada has officially launched! (3/20).
UPDATE 1: Here is the official Philippine brochure. (3/7).
This year certainly is shaping up to be a pickup year. Nissan released the first salvo just a few weeks back with the launch of the all-new NP300 Navara. Now Mitsubishi is following suit with their highly-anticipated all-new 2015 Strada. A huge delegation of motoring press flew all the way to Japan to sample this all-new pickup truck late last year and was sworn to secrecy not to spill its secrets. That is, until today.
With the embargo officially lifted, here are nine things you’d like to know about Mitsubishi’s all-new pickup truck straight from Mr. Koichi Namiki, Corporate General Manager, Global Pickup Project Promotion Office who flew all the way to the Philippines to debrief the motoring media
- You want a big truck? The all-new Mitsubishi Strada is not for you. Conceived as global model, the Strada takes on a very different approach compared to its rivals. Instead of growing in every conceivable dimension, the Strada manages to keep a compact profile. As Mr. Namiki says, it’s been trimmed of all excess girth and mass. This is because Mitsubishi wants to emphasize maneuverability and comfort even in tight confines. Still, it’s got a higher ground clearance than before at 205-mm.
- It’s designed to be a Sport Utility Truck. The term “Sport Utility Truck” was coined to describe the previous-generation Strada, but the all-new model takes it to the next level by actually becoming more of a SUV with a pickup bed attached to it. With key features such as the J-Line design, the Strada emphasizes interior space over cargo carrying capacity. And who could blame them? It seems the global market finally wants a pickup that’s both comfortable yet more efficient to use. Talk about being two vehicles in one.
- Small on the outside, massive in the inside. Careful consideration has been done to make the Strada much roomier than before. The added 20-mm interior length adds 20-mm in rear legroom and 10-mm in front shoulder room. In fact, Mitsubishi goes so far to say that the all-new Strada has the longest cabin in its class; longer than Ranger, D-Max, and Colorado. It’s probably just as long as the gargantuan NP300 Navara, though Mr. Namiki says they haven’t measured it yet to verify.
- It’s comfy and luxurious. Aside from offering the tightest turning radius in its class (5.9-meters), the all-new Strada brings luxury and convenience features to the pickup segment. Mr. Namiki says it’s the quietest pickup in the segment, beating out the likes of the Hilux, Ranger, and Navara in terms of interior decibel readings taken at a steady 100 km/h. This is thanks to increased sound insulating material used throughout the cabin. And aside from being quiet, it’s got the best rear seat in its class with a very comfortable 25-degree angle. No other pickup truck matches this figure. Plus, LED daytime running lights? HID headlights? tilt-telescopic steering? Dual-zone climate control? Push-button engine start/stop? All available features on the Strada.
- A softer ride without compromising payload. Given the dual nature of the all-new Strada, Mitsubishi engineers worked hard to make the ride much more compliant for passengers. By increasing the front stabilizer diameter while increasing the length of the rear leaf spring, the Strada exhibits better ride while still maintaining its 1-ton payload capacity. The cabin mounting capacity has also been increased to isolate NVH better.
- Tested to the extreme and built for them. Being a global pickup truck, the Strada has been torture tested around the world. In fact, it’s taken some valuable lessons from the harshest environments to improve passenger comfort. For instance, the air conditioning system has been improved to cool the cabin from 50-degrees Celsius to 20-degrees Celsius a whopping 62 percent faster than the outgoing model. It also blows more air volume to the occupants compared to any of its rivals. Beyond cooling comfort, it also has reinforcements around the front and rear portions of the chassis enabling it to withstand the harshest driving conditions. Careful placements of cross members mean less chassis flex without adding too much weight.
- The engine’s made better but, they’re working on bringing in clean diesel. In terms of drivetrain, the all-new Strada keeps to its tried-and-tested 2.5-liter 4D56 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine with variable geometry turbo. Final specifications have yet to be revealed, but there’s some work done in order to give a slight bump in torque figures compared to before: 400 Nm from 350 Nm. Horsepower figures remains at 178 horsepower. And if you’re wondering about the famed 4N15 engine, yes, Mitsubishi will bring it here once the fuels are up to scratch.
- Mitsubishi Motor Philippines is aiming for record numbers. The pickup wars have certainly begun. After Nissan claimed it will shift some 300-400 units of NP300 Navara, Mitsubishi says the all-new Strada will sell at a rate almost double that: 700 units per month. If you’re wondering, the current market leader, Ranger does about 500 units. 50 percent of sales will come from Metro Manila, with the remaining 50 percent split across the country.
- Seven variants to be launched in March. There will be a total of seven variants of Strada available immediately at launch. These include one single cab, three double cab 4x2s, and three double cab 4x4s. Pre-selling starts in late February while a full-fledged launch will commence in March. Final prices will be announced by then.