The Mitsubishi Mighty Max was originally labeled as the Mitsubishi Forte when it was introduced in Japan in 1978. It kept this name until 1986 when it was rebranded as the Strada. The Forte first entered the U.S. market in 1979 as an import sold by Chrysler. These models were branded as the Dodge Ram 50 and the Plymouth Arrow Truck.
It was only after Plymouth ceased operations in 1996 that Mitsubishi decided to import the truck directly to the U.S. under its then current name, the Mighty Max. The previous models offered under Dodge and Plymouth were still in circulation, but the overlapping changeover ensured a seamless transition.
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About the Mitsubishi Mighty Max
Even as a compact pickup truck, the Mitsubishi Mighty Max was smaller in size compared to offerings from competitors in the same class. However, this only added to its short-lived success.
The Mitsubishi Mighty Max was only made available as an extended cab but offered variations between two and four-wheel drive and between two engine types: the four-cylinder or six-cylinder. While the Mighty Max wasn't known for any particular advancement in styling, this characteristic was the reason why it was one of the most popular compact pickup trucks in the mid-1990s. It was simple and was the workman's choice for a no frills utility vehicle.
Many reviews and tests described the Mitsubishi Mighty Max as having good fuel economy while providing lots of power and torque. This balance influenced many businesses to opt for the Mighty Max to be its fleet vehicle of choice. Even given its history as the preferred pickup truck of laborers, the Mighty Max was later customized by many members of the modified car scene. This helped contribute to a thriving demand for aftermarket parts. Mitsubishi Mighty Max Features
Powered by a 116 hp 2.4-liter SOHC four-cylinder engine, the main feature of the Mighty Max was its mid-end torque of 136 lb-ft at 3500 rpm. This made it capable of hauling heavy loads without needing a lot of power. Mitsubishi included its balance shaft technology throughout all variants, which helped to minimize vibrations and gave the Mighty Max a smooth ride. The bench seat inside was another factor that contributed to its overall high comfort level.
While two full-grown adults are able to sit comfortably inside the cabin, there are reports that three adults may be overcrowded. This is because the placement of the transmission in both automatic and manual models causes a control handle to extrude from the floor and into the crotch of the middle occupant. For a utility vehicle however, this did not pose any real setbacks. Overall, the interior remained cozy, even with its plain plastic accents. The cabin resembled the boxy shape of the exterior and was just as simple. The real strength of the Mighty Max resides in its reliability as the ideal all-purpose pickup truck. Economically priced and light on maintenance, many households included the Mighty Max in the lineup of automobiles in the driveway.
Even though there were no airbags or anti-lock brakes available on any of the Mighty Max variants, the lack of these features helped keep the price down and the focus on its more core features, such as the engine and drivetrain. Some options that were available were a single-disc compact disc player and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Mighty Max was not without some degree of safety, as it came fitted with side-impact door beams and a stiff ladder frame. This frame was highly regarded for its rigidity, which resisted flex on the chassis when carrying heavy loads.
Mitsubishi gave the Mighty Max a tilt steering wheel and the option of power steering as an optional upgrade that was highly recommended. This is due to the fact parking with a full truckload is difficult without this feature. It did not help the situation that the weight distribution leaned more towards the front of the vehicle and the Mighty Max was front-wheel drive, as are most compact pickup trucks. Mitsubishi Mighty Max Evolution
The Mitsubishi Mighty Max may have been discontinued, but its legacy lived on as the Mitsubishi Raider. Unlike its predecessor, the Raider was not imported but rather built in the U.S. by Chrysler. It was a midsize pickup truck powered by a 4.7-liter V-8 engine that offered 230 hp at the crank. There was also an available 3.7-liter 210-hp V-6 variant that was made available in 2008. The last Raider was manufactured in 2010.
Although the Mighty Max was officially built and brought to the U.S. market starting in 1982, the Mitsubishi Forte, Dodge Ram 50, and Plymouth Arrow Truck were built on the same framework. These previous versions featured four and five-speed manual and three and four-speed automatic transmissions with rear and four-wheel drive variations.