Considered as one of the most important models of Mitsubishi, the Strada, which is produced in Mitsubishi’s Laem Chabang plant in Thailand, is sold around the globe in no less than 150 countries. Yet it sings to a different tune relative to most of pickup truckdom.

Not like the others. While most trucks exude muscle and brawn, the Strada expresses an altogether different character—one that’s not all about machismo, but of an almost futuristic sleekness. Under the brand’s design concept “Rock Solid,” which embodies a strengthened structure inside and out, the latest Strada flaunts Mitsubishi’s new-generation “Dynamic Shield” design language. The high hood, slim LED headlamps, and aggressive grille and bumper design present a compelling and upscale fascia. The sculpted body curves with contrasting sharp lines expresses a car-like sleekness. The sharp and distinctive character lines that start at the front fenders and terminates at the front doors then emerges again from the rear doors and ends all the way at the edges of the rear fenders express a sense of upscale futurism.

The trademark rising rear windowline and the J-shaped rear door opening serve to tie up the latest Strada’s cutting-edge styling with that of its forebears. Even the palette of seven available colors—White Diamond, Graphite Gray Metallic, Sterling Silver Metallic, Jet Black Mica, Red Solid Clear, Grayish Brown Metallic and Impulse Blue Metallic—was carefully chosen to serve as the finishing touch to the very detailed body design.

Looking in. Inside the new Strada is a functional and contemporary dash and console trimmed with silver and piano black accents. All variants feature a 2-DIN touchscreen monitor with tuner/MP3/USB/iPod/Aux/Bluetooth connectivity and Mirror Link. All variants are also equipped with a GPS navigation system. There is even a front smartphone tray which includes USB terminals. A rear smartphone tray is also available and is located at the in rear of the center console including two USB power sockets.

The new Strada boasts a spacious interior which can comfortably seat five adults, thanks to the cab’s unique J-Line design that offers class-leading legroom for greater comfort, especially on long drives. The door panels may be a tad too plasticky—fabric covering for some of the panels would’ve helped—but are nonetheless good-looking and functional, thanks to generous-sized bottle holders.

The cabin is truly big on comfort and space. The tilt-and-telescope steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons is covered in smooth leather. The front seats are very comfortable and supportive and are covered in a plush yet seemingly durable fabric. The rear seats, often the bane of most pickups, are reasonably comfortable, thanks to a more inclined rear backrest and supportively sculpted cushioning. It’s certainly a long way from the hard, flat, and upright bench seats of pickups of yesteryear.

How it rides. The Strada is powered by Mitsubishi’s super-smooth state-of-the-art 4N15 2.4-liter Clean Diesel engine with Variable Geometry Turbo and MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control System). The powerplant delivers 181ps and 430Nm of torque. It’s one of the most vibration-free diesel powerplants in existence.

Improvements developed to deliver an extremely durable and reliable truck are evident with the comfortable ride and handling. Ride is improved with the use of larger rear dampers, which contain more damping oil. There is still some jarring on choppy surfaces, but the overall riding comfort is still at the top of its class. Braking power was also improved with the use of larger front discs and caliper pistons for the GT and GLS variants.

The new Strada hosts an array of advanced passive and active safety features, including Mitsubishi’s RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) body, which absorbs the impact of collision. It retains the current model’s high-durability and high-reliability ladder-type chassis and high-impact safety cabin structure. Active Stability Traction Control (ASTC), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) are now standard on all variants. A nice touch is the push-button engine start/stop and keyless Smart Entry system.


HOW IT RATES

Design:  9.25

Build quality: 9.25

Ease of use: 9.5

Driveability: 9

Value for money: 9

OVERALL RATING: 9.2


VERDICT

While most other pickups are playing the tough truck card, the Strada is confident in its sheetmetal skin just being an exceedingly capable truck—one that pushes the envelope in pickup refinement, comfort, and safety.


SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 181hp/430Nm 2.4-liter 4-cylinder direct-injection MIVEC Clean Diesel with Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT)

Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Sports Mode and magnesium paddle shifters

Drive: Rear-wheel

Suspension (F/R): Double wishbones with coil springs/Rigid axle with leaf springs

Tires: 265/60R-18

Brakes (F/R): Vented discs/drums with ABS, EBD, and Brake Assist

L x W x H (mm): 5,300 x 1,815 x 1,795

Wheelbase (mm): 3,000       Price: P1,300,000