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Features / 06-06-19

Long Live the King: How the Mitsubishi Strada Won the Pick-Up Comparo Twice in a Row

This is what makes a returning champion.


By Nicolas A. Calanoc Photos by: Agatha Meg G. Albano

 

In 2016, we did the unimaginable and gathered all the pick-ups available at the time to test and see which the best was. Separately, we had our predictions on who would win. But when the dust settled from all the testing, it was clear that the winner of the 2016 Pick-Up Comparo was the Mitsubishi Strada. It was on its own a mechanically balanced vehicle whether on the move or hauling cargo. When you included the fact that it was the cheapest in the group, we were sold.

With enough time, all these pick-ups got their fair share of changes and upgrades that range from different interiors, transmissions, and engines. When we tested them a few months ago, it was clear as day that every pick-up raised their game, setting up new benchmarks for the 2019 Pick-Up Comparo. We threw our gauntlet of tests to see once again who would win this competition. At this point, we were hoping for a new king. But here we are, with the 2019 Mitsubishi Strada still holding its crown.


To see a video review of the 2019 Mitsubishi Strada 4×4 GT in action, click here or on the YouTube video above!

Driving over 300 kilometers in Palawan reminded me on why the Mitsubishi Strada won. It wasn’t about having the strongest engine or maximum payload. If anyone understood what makes the best off-road vehicle, it would be the manufacturer and team that won the grueling Dakar Rally twice in a row: Mitsubishi.

I remember I got the opportunity to interview Hiroshi Masuoka, the driver who won the Dakar Rally twice, together with the engineers of the Mitsubishi Strada. Looking at the competing pick-ups that had way more power and way more gears in the transmission, I was compelled to ask questions like “Why not use the 8-Speed transmission like the Montero Sport?” For that question, their answer was “The 8-Speed automatic transmission was too heavy for the balance we wanted to achieve.” For every other question, everything was related to that balance.

Driving it again in all kinds of paths (or lack of it), whether it was twisting paved roads or by the beach, made me realize the culmination of such balance. Every other pick-up has strong characteristics that make it perfect of different jobs. The Mitsubishi Strada on the other hand is simply a well-balanced pick-up that can take any task, a jack-of-all-trades if you will. More than that, what Mitsubishi has reminded me and what it tells the world is that what makes a great car isn’t about being bigger and better. Sometimes, all it takes is maintaining that perfect balance.

For the full review of the 2019 Mitsubishi Strada 4×4 GT, click here.