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Mitsubishi has a strong history in the U.S. market. With vehicles like the Eclipse sports car and Raider SUV, the Japanese company offered first-rate engineering and unique style. Compared to more conservative brands, this automaker once brought a rally-bred personality to every car.

From 1986-1996, Mitsubishi produced a midsize pickup called the Mighty Max. As its name implied, the truck was a hardy workhorse suited to a variety of tasks. Though not as popular as models from Toyota or Nissan, this rugged vehicle had plenty to be proud of. Let’s take a closer look at the history of the Mitsubishi Mighty Max pickup truck.

Mitsubishi Mighty Max generations and model years

According to TopSpeed, Mitsubishi sold the Mighty Max in the U.S. from 1986-1996. While it lacked refinement, it had a rugged build that appealed to its audience. Coincidentally, at the same time, a line of children’s toys with the same name appeared. So, what made this truck different from the rest?

Under the hood, the Mighty Max featured a 2.4-liter four with 116 hp and 136 lb-ft of torque. As Retro Cars describes, several features made the engine durable and low-maintenance, including hydraulic valve lash adjusters, electronic multiport fuel injection, and roller rocker arms. Additionally, the powerplant featured dual balance shafts — one of the first mass-market engines to do so.

Outside, the sprightly pickup truck featured boxy, defined bodywork for a purposeful look. Prominent rubber side moldings offered impact protection, and oversized wheel wells added off-road flair.

Inside, the Mighty Max was pure utility, with hard plastics and solid build quality. And, with ample room for the driver and passenger, the Mitsubishi offered a comfortable driving environment.

Buyers could opt for 2WD or 4WD setups and a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. Standard and extended cabs were available, along with two bed lengths.

Mitsubishi Might Max owners also have regularly enthusiastic reviews for their spartan rides. On, one owner says, “…it got good mileage and took the punishment like Japanese vehicles are known for.” A review on Repairpal states, “Great truck overall; I would buy it again…” And a reviewer on Kelley Blue Book says, “Runs great and looks great at 159,000 miles.”

The Mitsubishi Mighty Max was based on the L200

Mitsubishi Motors has a long history of building pickup trucks. That all started in 1978 with the Forte model, also known as the L200. The Mighty Max we know in the U.S. was based on the second-generation L200.

The first generation L200 debuted in 1978 with a single cab. Engines included a 1.6-liter (Japan only), 2.0-liter. 2.6-liter (North America), and 2.3-liter diesel. In 1980, part-time 4WD became available.

In 1986, the second generation L200 hit the market, bringing several upgrades. Now, there were three body styles: single cab, club cab, and double cab. Updated 2WD and 4WD drivetrains appeared.

The third-generation L200 appeared in 1995 and was called the Strada. An “Easy Select” 4WD system simplified switching drive modes, and 2.5-liter or 2.8-liter diesel engines provided usable torque.

In 2005, the fourth-generation L200 added the Triton nameplate. New 2.5-liter and 3.2-liter common rail diesel engines added power and efficiency. Additionally, a “Super Select” 4WD system brought low-speed crawl capability.

The fifth-generation L200 Triton was introduced in 2014. High-tech engines included a 2.4-liter MIVEC turbodiesel, 2.5-liter turbodiesel, and 2.4-liter gas version. The new “Super Select 4WD-II” system brought an electronic actuator.

Finally, in July 2023, the sixth-generation L200/Triton broke cover. However, although Mitsubishi continues to sell the L200 across the globe, it won’t be available in the U.S.

The modern Mitsubishi Triton: High-tech capability

The just-debuted 2024 Mitsubishi Triton has the technology and equipment to compete with the best. From its muscular bodywork to its new turbodiesel engine, this pickup truck is cool and capable. As the gallery on Autoboom shows, the new Triton is a sweet ride.

The new Triton uses traditional body-on-frame construction. Its ladder frame with rear leaf springs is a classic setup and a 5.1-inch longer wheelbase adds room inside and out, and Top Speed has the details.

The new 4N16 2.4-liter clean diesel engine comes in several configurations for optimal power and efficiency across applications. The standard (Option 2) version produces 148 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. The standard (Option 1) unit has 181 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. There’s also the top-of-the-line High Output motor that makes 201 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque.

The Mitsubishi Mighty Max represented a small piece of the L200 and Triton pickup’s production run. While it gave U.S. consumers the chance to drive a simple truck at a reasonable price, the Mighty Max didn’t enjoy the same success as competitors from Toyota and Nissan. Even then, it was a solid vehicle, with many still on the road today. So, with the L200 continuing into the 21st century, Mitsubishi continues to show its expertise in the segment.

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