BANGKOK—Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) recently had the world premiere of the upcoming new Strada pickup (Triton or L200 in other markets) in Thailand, its country of manufacture.

The Strada is the newest iteration of a model which is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. The midsize truck is produced at the Laem Chabang Plant operated by Mitsubishi Motors (Thailand) Co. Ltd. (MMTh), MMC’s production and distributor in Thailand.

The front face incorporates the new-generation “Dynamic Shield” front design concept. The high engine hood line and beefier-looking lamps located higher up give the new model a more powerful and imposing front.

There have been five generations of Mitsubishi pickups since the first truck—a diminutive pickup called the Forte—debuted in 1978. So while some may refer to the newest one as a sixth-generation pickup, it is also more of a heavily updated and face-lifted new model that can be dubbed “version 5.5.”

Especially when viewed from the front, the new truck looks absolutely all new. The new Strada now sports familial cues that bring about a very strong resemblance to the Montero Sport SUV and Xpander MPV—the latter particularly in the headlight/foglight treatment.

The side, though, reveals, an almost identical view to the current model. The doors and rear fenders seem to have been carried over, right down to the J-shaped openings of the rear doors that have become a styling trademark for the Strada since the fourth generation model.   

The rear end is likewise very similar, although I lament the loss of the highly stylized taillight clusters that wrapped around the side and whose lower cutlines continued the character lines on the tailgate in the current model. The new model’s taillights now have a simpler shape and design.

The Strada is Mitsubishi’s second bestselling model after the Outlander SUV and is a globally strategic model.

On the occasion of the world premiere, Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko stated, “The new Triton/L200 (Strada) is one of our most important global strategic models and its success is vital to the company’s sustainable growth. The new model brings enhancements to the durability, reliability and comfort developed over the 40 years since the introduction of the series. I am fully confident the new TRITON/L200 will meet the diverse needs and wishes of our customers around the world.”

Newly sculpted body curves with contrasting sharp lines, extended wheel flares and bright accents embody the strength of a Mitsubishi Motors’ truck and add modernity. The lighting and bumper parts become part of the tough design, framing the front and rear designs and adding visual width

The new Strada has been developed to embody Mitsubishi’s Engineered Beyond Tough keyphrase which underlined its creation. Elements making it significantly more competitive include a more powerful styling that incorporates the latest iteration of the Dynamic Shield front design concept, an enhanced 4WD system that delivers improved off-road performance, and the latest in active safety and driver assistance systems.

The Strada’s restyled cabin expresses a modern and robust feeling with frame surroundings for the switch panel and air outlets. A high quality look is created by soft pad materials and stitching on the floor console, armrests and parking brake.

The 4WD variants are fitted with either Super-Select 4WD, which delivers optimum traction and handling characteristics for any given surface; or Easy-Select 4WD, which simplifies switching between drive modes for different road surfaces.

Both Super-Select and Easy-Select 4WD systems use a new Off-road Mode which has GRAVEL, MUD/SNOW, SAND and ROCK (in 4LLc only) settings. When engaged, Off-road Mode integrally controls engine power, transmission and braking to regulate the amount of wheel slip and thereby maximize all-terrain performance and self-extraction performance in mud or snow.

The new Strada retains the current model’s strong ladder-type frame and high-impact-safety cabin structure while featuring class-leading advanced active safety and driver assistance systems.

Systems providing all-direction safety and reassurance include Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), which can detect vehicles and pedestrians ahead; Blind Spot Warning (BSW with LCA), which helps avoid sideswiping another vehicle when changing lanes by detecting vehicles behind or at the rear quarter and alerting the driver with an audible alert and flashing light in their door mirror; Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) which, in the same way, helps avoid collisions when reversing; Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS) which reduces accidents resulting from inadvertent use of the accelerator when moving off  or reversing in car parks and other confined spaces.

We got to drive the new Strada around the streets of Bangkok and in special off-road courses in the capital’s outskirts. The new Strada performed flawlessly, even in the most punishing and grueling tests. It also retained its acclaimed riding comfort, which is among the best in its class.  

Providing convenient driver assistance are the Multi Around Monitor, which generates a bird’s eye view image of the area around the vehicle, and Parking Sensors.

Braking performance and feel are improved with the use of larger front discs and caliper pistons while riding comfort is improved with the use of larger rear dampers which contain more damping oil.

The current model’s five-speed automatic makes way for a new six-speed auto for higher refinement and better fuel efficiency.

Following its start of sales in Thailand last month, the new Strada is scheduled to be rolled out sequentially in the company’s markets in ASEAN, Oceania, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Latin America, eventually going on sale in some 150 countries around the globe with a target of 180,000 units sold this fiscal year.

Prices for the Philippines won’t be announced until the new model’s launch several months into next year.