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November 9, 2020

Review: 2020 Mitsubishi Strada Athlete 4WD

Last year, we’ve already managed to get our hands on the then-newly revamped Mitsubishi Strada GT. Keeping things fresh, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines decided to bring in the Strada Athlete for 2020. Since it’s basically an appearance or aesthetics package, we’ve opted not to do another full-on review. Instead, we’re going to be taking a “Short Cut.”

What Is It?

The Strada Athlete is the top-variant of Mitsubishi’s pickup truck range. Think of it as their version of the Hilux Conquest or Ranger Wildtrak. Like its chief competitors, it’s available in both 2WD and 4WD forms, though for this test, Mitsubishi let us try the top-dog Strada Athlete 4WD.

How’s the Styling?

The current-generation Strada’s looks has been divisive, at best. When it debuted, no one understood what was going on, at least style-wise. Frankly, it had a face only a mother (assuming it looked like a whale) could love. It necessitated a rather hefty facelift in 2019, and that’s the one you see here.

And while the futuristic Mr. Roboto styling is still being critiqued as “overstyled,” no one can deny it looks much better now. 

As extroverted as the design is, Mitsubishi cranked it up to 11 with the Strada Athlete. It swaps out the chrome bits for high-gloss ones, with a decorative sports bar and large “STRADA” graphics on the side completing the transformation. The color palette is equally loud with Sunflare Orange Pearl being the loudest, and Graphite Gray Metallic being the most muted.

How’s It Inside?

Honestly, this is where the Strada’s fallen behind vis-à-vis its competition. While the D-Max’s interior looks equally ancient, it’s been in the market for around eight years already. The Strada, launched three years later, in 2015, has no such excuse. It doesn’t feel as luxurious as the newer trucks out there, and that’s clearly emphasized by the haphazardly laid out controls. For example, the switches for the Forward Collision Warning and M-ASTC (Mitsubishi Active Stability and Traction Control) are located near the Engine Start/Stop button, while the buttons for the Parking Sensors and Blindspot Indicators are positioned below the climate control. It doesn’t make any sense.

As dated as the interior is, the Strada Athlete’s exclusive two-tone interior manages to distract you somewhat. Hopefully you like orange though, because that’s the only choice you’ll get regardless of exterior color. Aside from the seats, this wonderful piece of contrast is found on the steering wheel and gear knob stitches, as well as the soft-padded knee bolsters as well. 

How’s the Space?

Despite its rather small size, this is where the Strada wins big. It seems Mitsubishi paid a lot of attention to keeping rear occupants comfortable. Not only are the seats genuinely good even for long drives, but there’s a pair of USB charging ports and clever roof-mounted air circulator (they’re much better than the typical console-mounted vents, trust us).

It would have been a win-win for the Strada if only they provided more cubby holes. As it stands, there’s not much to go by, despite the deep center console box. Even the rear seats fold down in one piece (other pickup trucks offer a 60/40 split-fold) limiting its overall flexibility.

How Does it Drive?

It’s not punchy off the line as some of its big-engined competitors, but there’s still noticeable pull. While it’s the same engine as the Montero Sport’s, there’s far less sound insulation here. It’s pretty smooth and quiet, but NVH is noticeably a notch lower with the tell-tale diesel rattle making itself known at full throttle applications. It’s also down two gears from the Montero Sport’s 8-speed gearbox. Still, the Aisin-sourced 6-speed automatic performs with good off-the-line response. That said, there’s a bit of roughness especially at upshifts.

Despite its 5.3-meter overall length, the Strada is by far the easiest pickup truck to drive in the city. It has excellent sightlines making it easy-peasy to chuck into tight spaces, including parking lots. Despite the weighty hydraulic power steering, turning radius remains compact at 5.9 meters. At higher speed, it remains respectably secure and stable too. For a pickup truck, the ride is also pretty smooth. However, broken concrete or undulating surfaces can upset it somewhat.

What’s Our Verdict?

As a whole, the current-generation Strada is far from perfect, but Mitsubishi has made amends where it counts. The head-turning styling is fully realized with the Strada Athlete. This aesthetics package won’t please everyone, and that’s the point (we, for the record, would prefer the Strada GT). Realizing that they needed a definitive stance on where to position their pickup truck, they have opted to tap into their legendary Rally Raid legacy. That bit of Dakar magic has certainly rubbed onto the Strada Athlete. If another brand were to do this, it would be criticized as stupid, but somehow it has managed to work here.

2020 Mitsubishi Strada Athlete 4WD

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Ownership 2020 Mitsubishi Strada Athlete 4WD
Year Introduced 2015 (Refreshed: 2015, 2019, 2020)
Vehicle Classification Pick-Up Truck
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basic
Body Type 4-door pickup truck
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/4WD, Low, Locking, w/ LSD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.4
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Common Rail
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 9.52 km/L @ 19 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,300
Width (mm) 1,815
Height (mm) 1,795
Wheelbase (mm) 3,000
Curb Weight (kg) 1,925
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 & Rear, w/ 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 & Rear
Auto Lights Yes, w/ Auto High Beam
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 6-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, w/ Fold
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes, Dual Zone, w/ Rear Ventilator
Audio System Stereo
Smartphone Mirroring
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Again, no rear differential lockers in this Mitsubishi top model unlike Toyota and Ford's top variants. Every top model 4wd should have locking rear differentials especially if most of its competitors already have it. Only thing I like about this pickup is its rear seats and the air vents on the ceiling. I think they got the best seatback angle making it more comfortable than the others.

    1. Boss may rear diff lock ang Strada staring GLS pataas.

    2. sir dan center differential lock lang ang nakikita ko sa strada e. di ko alam kung meron rear differential lockers dahil wala naman ako makita na buttons para sa rear diff lock, kahit sa brochures at spec sheet. pero tnx sa info and i will try to search again kung meron nga. center locking diff lang kasi ang nakikita ko sa mga strada dito sa pinas as of now. sa ibang bansa na strada kita agad yung rear locker switch. dito sir wala ako makita pa.

  2. That interior looks really dated and unacceptable for a car at 1.7M pesos. Though to be fair, the Navara and even somewhat the Hilux suffer from the same issue, only the Ranger seemed to age well. It is strange because the Montero Sport, which uses mostly the same basic parts for the interior, looks classier and much more up to date than the Strada.


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