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2012 Mitsubishi Challenger 2WD review

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    Within the Mitsubishi stable, the Challenger sits between the Outlander and the Pajero.

John Parry road tests and reviews the Mitsubishi Challenger 2WD.

Mitsubishi has joined the crowd of medium SUVs offering two-wheel drive instead of four.

Why drive all wheels when two will do? It's a trend driving one of the fastest-growing segments of the car market.

Almost all the popular SUVs are available with two-wheel drive, saving drivers thousands of dollars compared with their all-wheel drive stablemates.

The difference here is the Challenger started life as a serious 4WD with a low-range gearbox, a full chassis and off-road capability, unlike most of its rivals which came with single-range all-wheel drive and more car-like underpinnings.

And the Challenger 2WD is propelled by the rear axle not the front as is the norm.

HANDLING

But while eliminating the transfer case and front drive line saves $5000 and about 120kg, there is a compromise or two.

Stability is similar to the 4WD on high-grip surfaces, but this five-door wagon's high centre of gravity and relatively rigid suspension make it skittish on loose gravel and slippery surfaces, where it is heavily reliant on traction control to maintain directional stability.

Clearance is unchanged and more than enough, but don't let anyone tell you a rear-drive Challenger will go where the 4WD will go.

TOWING

It's not supposed to, but with high clearance, it will clamber around the bush and potter around the paddocks as long as conditions are dry. It also retains a 3-tonne towing capacity, the highest in its class.

ENGINE

Unlike its rivals, the Challenger is diesel only. The 2.5-litre engine is responsive and flexible, although there is no escaping its diesel origins accompanied by plenty of fan noise under load. Output is 131kW and 400Nm in the manual, with the same power but 50Nm less torque in the automatic. Fuel use is 8.2 litres/100km in the five-speed manual and 9.6 litres/100km in the five-speed automatic, a drop or two less than the 4WD models.

STYLING

Within the Mitsubishi stable, the Challenger sits between the Outlander and the Pajero. It is based on the Triton, but with a smoother-riding multi-link coil rear suspension, although it feels more rigid to drive than most of its car-like rivals.

Styling is clean and functional. It looks and feels compact, with a commanding driving position. The interior is car-like, albeit with a high floor and low-geared steering.

PRICING AND EQUIPMENT

There are two versions -- the $36,990 manual and the $39,490 automatic. Equipment includes front airbags, stability control, traction control, emergency brake assist, 16-inch alloy wheels, a steel spare, cruise control, trip computer, side-steps and a five year/130,000km warranty and roadside assistance plus a 10 year/160,000km powertrain warranty.

MITSUBISHI CHALLENGER 2WD
Price: from $36,990
Warranty: 5 years/130,000kms
Engine: 2.5litre diesel
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic
Output: 131kw/400Nm
Thirst: 8.2litres/100km - manual, 9.6/100km - automatic

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Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 6 comments

  • Why? If I wanted a big 2wd I would buy a big wagon or a mpv-thing. Something like a 4x2 challenger would be the worst of both worlds, with clumsy-top-heavy handling, unnecessary weight, and limited off-road ability. Are modern motorists so trapped in some weird macho fantasy that they need such pointless monsters to get from point a to point b on good roads?

    And surely 4x4 would give more grip for heavy towing on slippery roads.

    To conclude, I won’t be buying one.

    P Buddery of Here Posted on 18 November 2013 6:32pm
  • I bought a 2012 model 4x2 auto in March this year and it has surpassed all my expectations returning 8.6 litres per 100 klms. on last refill. With only 6000 klms. clocked up so far I expect it to return even better fuel consumption as the engine frees up.

    Darryl Purvis of Deception Bay Posted on 06 August 2013 10:02am
  • Whats the visibility like out the back?
    looking to upgrade from a ts magna wagon - you couldn’t ask for an easier car to see out of. HAven’t driven many modern wagons, but a late model commodore I drove recently was very hard to see past the massive rear pillars

    steve cox of Bardwell Valley Posted on 19 July 2012 11:55pm
  • High driving position, easy access and space are good reasons enough to go for an SUV rather than a falcodore. There re just too many of us who appreciate such advantages. One day, you will understand too.

    MK Posted on 15 March 2012 8:14pm
  • Its funny isn’t it? The Falcadores are really not ‘gas-guzzlers’ as people like to claim - they have similar consumptions as many SUVs. I still say that the only people who down-talk Falcadores are either morons are just don’t know much about what they’re criticizing.
    yay challenger

    alex Posted on 09 March 2012 5:28pm
  • Not sure why the SUV market is growing when most vehicles on offer give approx the same lts / 100km as the Falcon and Commodore petrol models. Great marketing or journo’s that are driving this market?

    Woodpecker of Northern Beaches Posted on 09 March 2012 11:59am
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