Monday, October 12, 2015

Used Car Review - Mitsubishi Strada (2006-2015)

Another truck which was replaced recently is under Myk Belmonte's scrutiny.

2006-2015 Mitsubishi Strada

How the mighty had fallen; if last week I tackled in my Honda Odyssey review that Honda struggled back in the early 90s that Japanese media predicted it will be taken over by Mitsubishi unless they don't act on it, decades later the opposite happened with Honda going afloat while Mitsubishi in trouble in most of North America and Europe but is alive and kicking in Asia. While products like the Eclipse, Galant, and the Lancer Evolution fading to obscurity, the Mirage and Strada keeps them profitable.

Launched in pick-up crazy Thailand, the fourth generation Triton (or Strada or L200, depending on where you live) made its debut in 2005 and this truck is exported to 140 countries (excluding the likes of North America, where the Dodge Dakota based Raider is offered instead). This truck introduced CRDi engines and was the basis of the second generation Pajero/Montero Sport which was introduced three years later.

Replacing the overdue L200 series, the Strada offered car-like comfort and has numerous amenities that undercuts established rivals. February 2011 saw the arrival of an engine upgrade through a variable-geometry turbocharger which saw an upgrade in both power and torque. This generation was made available until 2015, with its successor having its introduction in March this year. 4x4 models were first made available with two-wheel drive and a 3.2 top model (killed later in favor of the VGT variants) followed suit. Special edition models were introduced between 2013 to 2014.

Value and Costs
With the new model on the horizon, Strada prices can range between P660,000 to P980,000 (this does not include the L200, a related model aimed at fleets). Considering its price positioning, it holds its value well except for the Hilux.

The 4D56 engine is notorious for its smoke belching nature, so check out for black smoke out of its tailpipe. Apart from this, first releases had problems with the suction control valve no thanks to low fuel standards. Other known problems include the alarm, leaf springs that squeak, and the undercarriage (which is serious for such a car).

Exterior and Interior
If there is one thing that makes the Strada known for, it would be the separator between the cabin and the bed called the "J-line", making it more car-like but more softer than rivals which has an emphasis on a brute personality. A bed liner comes standard for GLX models and above while an electronically operated dual lift cargo cover can be had with the GLS Sport V SE. Upper models gain a window which one can access the bed area from the cabin, something that was dropped in the current model. Before we forget, the bed area isn't a big as most rivals.

Unlike rivals that are cramped, the Strada is car-like, which is a good thing. The 2011 update made a touchscreen monitor standard (navigation ready for some, do take note) in all but the GL models, while paddle shifters situated behind the steering wheel are reserved for top models. 4x4 models (not including the GL) also gain an automatic climate control.

We shall first go with the common engine powering most of its kind: the 4D56 2.5 that displaces 134hp at 3,500rpm and 314Nm at 2,000rpm which shoulders in the lower models. The next one from the same engine family but with VGT gains 176hp at 4,000rpm and 350Nm at 1,800-3,500rpm for automatics while manuals have 400Nm at 2,000-2,850rpm. Lastly, there is the 4M41 3.2 with 163hp at 3,500rpm and 343Nm at 2,000rpm powering the top model GLS Sport from 2007 to 2011. Going with the engine characteristics, the 134hp 2.5 is fine enough and can deliver the goods while the 176hp has a wide range of rpm with going to the upper range rewarding you with lots of power (we do not recommend speeding with a truck, though), and choosing the 3.2 rewards you more power (without any excessive smoke).

Driving Impressions
Depending on the persons you'll be asking, this one is biased towards a comfortable ride, an advantage when it comes to ferrying elderly people or anyone with back problems. When it comes to acceleration, it goes well on a straight line but falls flat on mountainous roads no thanks to slow steering, soft suspension, and a less than impressive braking. For long drives, this is one great companion, credit a car-like position and ride plus it will give in to your desire for more speed.

Pick-up trucks have different personalities, and the Strada is the more subtle type while having some muscle to spare. If you value a smooth ride with more equipment and treating cargo capacity as a bonus, this is the one. Rivals may outplace this one, but it still can hold a candle.

The Good:
  • Car-like handling and ride
  • More features for the price
  • Cost of maintenance
The Bad:
  • Smoke prone 2.5 engine
  • Smallish cargo bed
  • Spongy brakes on some situations
The Pick: 2.5 GLX

Engines: 2,476cc 4D56/T and 3,200cc 4M41 I4 diesel
Power: 134hp @ 3,500rpm (2.5 non-VGT), 176hp @ 4,000rpm (2.5 VGT), 163hp @ 3,500rpm (3.2)
Torque: 314Nm @ 2,000rpm (2.5 non-VGT), 350Nm @ 1,800-3,500rpm (2.5 VGT, AT), 400Nm @ 2,000-2,850rpm (2.5 VGT, MT), 343Nm @ 2,000rpm (3.2)
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 10-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic, 5-speed automatic (GLS Sport V only)
Suspension: Front double wishbone with coil spring and stabilizer, rear rigid elliptic leaf spring with telescopic shock absorbers

Price (New): P850,000-P1,340,000 (range between variants)
Price (Now): P660,000-P980,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux
On Sale: 2006-2015

Diamond Motors - Valle Verde - (02) 671-9590

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