MitsubishiPH launches the New Strada via dirt track exhibition
On an unfinished racetrack in Lubao, Pampanga, a cloud of dust swirls around a deep crater, throwing rocks and pebbles all around, a curtain of dust envelopes the track. Its not a sandstorm, but still a storm nonetheless, and its coming right up to the spectator stage. A white truck appears out of the dust cloud. It’s the new Mitsubishi Strada.
Ok, it sounded like an action movie teaser, with Mitsubishi Motors Philippines as the producer and director – but it was real life. The main protagonist? none other than the great 2-time Dakar Rally Champion, Hiroshi Masuoka driving the Strada, speeding around like mad man, climbing hills and inclines at full speed and jumping over small hills. That is what we call a literal launch. No fancy speeches, no powerpoint presentation; just pure, raw action, showing what the New Strada 4×4 can do, off-road, with the AC on, and at full throttle.
The Strada never went off track. Sliding on gravel or blasting through dirt, the mighty truck never missed a beat. Of course, with Masuoka-san at the helm, it shouldn’t, but even if it were a mere mortal driving at half the speed, the Strada will prove itself safe and stable.
The main point of contention now is the new fascia. Shared with the new Montero and Xpander, the “Dynamic Shield design queue” is now with the Strada, giving the SUV and MPV a uniform look. Gone is the standard grille with the big old-style headlights. The dynamic new look is gives Mitsubishi the much needed boost in styling that leaves the competition in the dust.
To answer the questions off-road enthusiasts about the headlight set up; the headlight is actually at the top, with the auxiliary lights at the lower part, quite the opposite of the Xpander setup. So the headlights are visible even in deep water wading.
The Strada still utilizes the 2.4-liter 4N15 MIVEC turbo-diesel that’s linked to either a 6-speed manual tranny or 5-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 180 Hp with 430 Nm of torque.
With all the hullaballoo of the new look, Mitsubishi decided to stick with the old powertrain. We were a bit disappointed because we were expecting a 7-speed or 8-speed automatic, but you never know. Maybe next year.
The suspension, however, had a little tweaking. The ride is not so harsh anymore as compared to the previous model. Firm, but comfortable. Long rides will not be so punishing anymore.
We took a short test drive around the track. Although we drove the 2wd version, it still displayed more stability in rough terrain and tight turns. No oversteer; courtesy of the small engine. Just enough power is good.
We’ll come out with a more comprehensive test drive in the future, preferably with the 4×4 version, just as soon we get our turn. The line forms at the right.
For more information, visit www.mmpc.ph or go to your nearest Mitsubishi dealer
Words and Photos – Earl Manalansan