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May 7, 2019

Review: 2019 Mitusbishi Strada 4WD GT

If you want to know how fickle the Philippine car buying public is, take a look at the fate of the Mitsubishi Strada. Once celebrated as one of the best-selling pickup trucks in the country, a weird re-design in 2015 alienated buyers, shifting them towards other makes and models. A facelift two years after that and a new engine helped the slide, but by that time the tide couldn’t be turned. This brings up the 2019 Strada—a return to design form for Mitsubishi.

Without a doubt, the 2019 Strada’s most talked about aspect is its design, and in a very good way. As far as refreshes go, it’s pretty substantial with everything from the windshield forward completely changed. The Dynamic Shield has translated well here giving it an unmistakably aggressive appearance. The LED headlights and DRLs are the slimmer units on top while the signal lights and front fogs are the larger ones located at the bottom. Over to the back, the rear fenders have been re-stamped too with squarish fenders that blend well with the re-worked taillights and rear bumper. It’s also worth noting that the re-design has increased the dimensions—with length up by 25 mm, height up by 15 mm, and ground clearance up by 15 mm.

Inside, the Strada isn’t much changed from the 2017 update, except for key touchpoints which when added up make for worthwhile improvements. The look and feel aren’t quite as luxurious or sophisticated as its rivals, but realizing that pickup trucks are now more leisure vehicles than simple workhorses, there are far more padded sections (stitched for good measure) on the center console lid, door trims, and at the edge of the transmission tunnel. The steering wheel, shift knob, and handbrake are new too, and along with the all-black color scheme (the previous one had a two-tone black-and-gray one) make for a nice place to stay in. Honestly, the only annoyance is the lack of storage options. Despite a new shelf in front of the shifter, there’s actually not much places to put items in, unless one of the cup holders is sacrificed to make way for loose change.

Perhaps the best thing about the Strada though is how it puts a lot of attention to the rear occupants. Sure, the driver is treated to a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and a power adjustable seat, but it’s how Mitsubishi has treated the people riding in the back that sets it apart. For starters, the B-pillar grab handles make for easier ingress. Once inside, the seats themselves have a generous cushion length and a comfortable pitch making it habitable even for long drives. Then, there’s a pair of USB charging ports to keep everyone’s devices juiced up.

However, the best part this 2019 is the clever air circulator. The Strada’s J-shaped cabin is already optimized for quick cooling (and it’s quite excellent at negating Manila’s summer heat), but the ceiling-mounted air circulator chills the interior even faster, especially for those in the backseat. Essentially, it draws in cold air from the front and blows it to the back. In all honesty, it works much better than the typical console vent ones.

For 2019, the engine is unchanged and that means having the 2.4-liter MIVEC clean diesel with 181 horsepower and 430 Nm of torque. It’s not as punchy as some of its big-engined competitors, but when the engine enters its sweet spot, there’s noticeable pull. In addition, it’s easily one of the smoothest and quietest powertrains in its class. The big change this year is the 6-speed automatic which improves off-the-line feel. Previously, the 5-speed gearbox hesitated on the upshift, but this new Aisin unit rectifies that, while also slightly improving the fuel consumption to 9.9 km/L or a 5 percent improvement over the old 5-speed box.

Despite the larger wheel and tire setup, the turning radius remains at a compact 5.9 meters (compared to around 6-plus on the other pickups) making it maneuverable in tight spaces. However, the hydraulic assist does mean a weightier feel, requiring more tugs of the wheel to slot it into a parking space. At higher speeds, it feels respectably stable and secure. Also, the rear suspension’s been tweaked with larger dampers and more leaves (from 5 to 6) than before. The thing is, this hasn’t increased the payload capacity. In fact, according to the spec sheet, it’s actually gone down to 858 kilograms from 950 kilograms. Still, the payoff here is a more composed ride. The brakes also have better bite thanks to the twin piston setup upfront.

Also new is a terrain-based 4WD system that goes hand-in-hand with the Strada’s trademark Super Select 4WD-II system. Not only does it offer things like a center differential lock, but the adjustable modes for snow/mud, gravel, sand, and rock offer a one-button approach for off-roaders because it adjusts the transmission, throttle response, stability control, and ABS in one go.

At P 1,670,000, the Strada’s on the pricier side of the pickup equation, but despite the considerable price increase compared to before, it’s still great value. On top of things like LED headlights, leather seats, dual climate control, and a push-button engine start/stop, for 2019, it adds Forward Collision Mitigation, Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation, and Blind Spot Warning—features previously found only on the Montero Sport.

As a whole, the 2019 Strada is a refresh done right. Not only does it continue to play the “value for money” game, but it now offers an attractive new look that’s sure to turn heads. Everyone reckons it should have been the pickup they launched four years ago, but even if it’s late to the party, it still offers a lot even for the most discerning pickup buyer.

2019 Mitsubishi Strada 4WD GT
Ownership 2019 Mitsubishi Strada 4WD GT
Year Introduced 2015 (Refreshed: 2017, 2019)
Vehicle Classification Pick-up Truck
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 4-door pickup truck
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/4WD, Part-Time, Low, Locking, with LSD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.4
Aspiration Turbo
Fuel Delivery Common Rail Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 181 @ 3,500
Nm @ rpm 430 @ 2,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 9.90 km/L @ 15 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,305
Width (mm) 1,815
Height (mm) 1,795
Wheelbase (mm) 3,000
Curb Weight (kg) 2,000
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Leaf Spring
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Tires Dunlop Grandtrek AT20 265/60 R 18 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear, with Camera
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Forward Collision Warning
Autonomous Emergency Braking
Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation
Blind Spot Indicators
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes, with Auto High Beam
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes, Dual Zone, with Rear Ventilator
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

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