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Mitsubishi Challenger review

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    The new Challenger has been a while coming back to the market but according to Stuart Martin, it has been worth the wait. Photo Gallery

Stuart Martin road tests and reviews the 2010 Mitsubishi Challenger

The change is refreshing when it comes to getting into something with drive to all four wheels that can actually use it.  The new Mitsubishi Challenger has been a while coming back to the market but it has been worth the wait.

With plenty of the good bits from its LCV Triton cousin, the Challenger turbodiesel - in this case an LS five-seater - sounds a little trucky when first started, but it's not thrashy or too rough from within.

Pricing and equipment

The $44,490 base-model five-seat LS (the auto starts from $46,990) sits on 17in alloy wheels, including a spare to match, has side steps, climate control, wheel-mounted cruise and sound system controls, power windows, remote keyless entry and central locking, a six-speaker CD sound system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter and cloth trim.

The centre display shows the current radio station but also has a compass, trip computer, exterior temperature display, altimeter and even a barometer, although the last two are a bit naff - unless you're planning on drawing topographical maps or doing your own weather forecasting.
There's dual front, side and curtain airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes, so the equipment list is decent.

But the best bits on the features list are what the company calls Super Select 4WD and the rear diff lock, the latter being standard fare.  The wagon can be run in 2WD or 4WD with the centre diff unlocked - the rear-wheel drive mode will give a slight reduction in fuel consumption but means you have to be a lot more judicious with the right foot, as 400Nm of torque can set the rear wheels talking.

Drivetrain and economy

Run in 4WD mode, with plenty of city and country running, with some dirt work, the fuel consumption from the 131kW/400Nm 2.5-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder was still returning around 10 litres per 100km, despite hauling two tonnes around.

Driving

Throwing the Challenger at unsealed surfaces didn't cause any concern at all, with the 4WD system offering ample traction.  Rougher dirt showed the ladder-frame chassis still feels a little rubbery but the ride quality is good, the payoff being that it rolls around a little bit and the steering needs plenty of twirling in tight stuff.

Locking the centre diff, employing the rear diff lock and getting into bumpier stuff doesn't deter the Challenger either, with more than enough gumption to get way off the beaten track, even on road-biased rubber.

Complaints with the Challenger - the powerplant needs a solid prod of the throttle and 2000rpm on board before it hits its straps.  The 70-litre fuel tank is a little on the small side for a serious off-roader - even if it was running at 8.3l/100km it's range is well under 900km, which is below par for the category - the new Prado's tanks carry 150 litres.

Rear vision is a little restricted, which would make parking sensors a must - a desire not unique to this model, but a safety feature that would be a good addition to all SUVs and wagons.

If you have any desire get the wheels dirty on your family wagon, the new Challenger is priced competitively and will go much deeper into the scrub than most of the medium SUV offerings.

Mitsubishi PB Challenger

PRICES: $44,490-$$58,590
ENGINE: 2477cc, 4-cylinder, common-rail turbo diesel
POWER: 131kW @ 4000rpm
TORQUE: 350Nm @ 1800rpm (auto), 400Nm @ 2000rpm (LS manual)
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed auto, 5-speed manual (LS), Super Select 4WD, 1.9 low ratio
ECONOMY: 9.8L/100km (auto), 8.3L/100km (LS manual)
CO2 EMISSIONS: 259g/km (auto), 219g/km (LS manual)

RIVALS:

Ford Territory ($39,490-$66,420)
Toyota Kluger ($41,490-$66,490)
Nissan Pathfinder ($56,490-$63,240)

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 9 comments

  • We have just come back from a 3000k trip from South Oz towing a cub camper, all up about a tonne, and the Challenger performed well, averaging about 12.5 litres at freeway speed. But you have to drive it within it’s limitations. It’s not a Commodore wagon, but other than that I found it to be relaxed tourer, the only real complaint being it?s small tank. Why Mitsubishi would fit such a small tank for Australia beggars believe. Next trip to the red centre, try taking a soft-roader outback! Love that car!

    john Posted on 19 December 2010 4:03pm
  • I completely agree with “New Nomad”, we bought an XLS Challenger a couple of months ago and I am very disappointed that it does not have things that are now very commonplace in modern cars such as outside temp and fuel consumption - especially when the base model LS has these features.  This is something that I find very outdated and disapointing.  I also feel that I am constantly refueling the car and I only get around the 550km / tank.  The Multi communication system is an absolute waste of money, which we were told before we bought the car by others who have had it fitted in their tritons.  You cannot use the DVD player while the car is in motion - even if there is a front seat passenger unlike aftermarket units that can be fitted.  We have had the iPod cable fitted and we are not able to change music while the car is in motion either, another annoying thing.  Also the single Cd player is very behind the times and with the other limits placed on the Multi Comms System, I find this very painful on long drives.

    Other than the abovementioned issues we otherwise like the ride of the car and find that it suits our family well.

    Kaylene of Salonika Beach, Q Posted on 25 November 2010 11:02am
  • Hayman Reece makes a bar for the Challeger. But Kaymar does a rear bar with a tow bar.

    Karl Hock of ACT Posted on 21 November 2010 1:33pm
  • We have just purchased a Mitsubishi Challenger XLS.
    Has anyone done their homework on the best towbar to have fitted and what hitching gear to accomodate it?
    Have always gone Hayman Reece however there seems to be contention here over what we can and cann’t have.

    C Coverdale Posted on 18 November 2010 11:34am
  • Took my new Challenger LX manual into the dunes between Beachport and Robe last weekend. 1200 Km road, 200Km beach and dunes.
    A mate who has a Prado 4L auto came with.
    Fuel consumption: Challenger 11L/100km Prado 20L/100km.
    Loading: challenger not up too that of the Prado (about 100kg less and took out a chunk off the ground clearance)
    In car comfort: you would have to be a sulk to notice the difference, OK the seats are a bit better in the Prado.
    Performance on the tar: the Prado is no challenge
    Gravel road: Prado has no chance, felt unstable at high speed runs the Challenger has a very solid stable feel about it.
    On the beach and dunes: the Challenger flies but the Prado was never too far behind, on the soft beach sand the Mitsu got no challenge at all from the Prado.
    Really the only thing the Prado had over the Challenger was the load it could carry. as it was just my wife and i and camping gear for three days in the Mitsu this was not a real issue though, $1600 worth of OME suspension will fix that.
    For 12K less you would have to have your head in the sand not to give the Challenger a very good look.. ?Love That Car?

    Murray of Mildura Posted on 24 October 2010 1:06am
  • I also am finding the Speedo especially hard to read in certain lighting conditions- especially as I have some colour blindness in the red/green colours - but it is ok at night- Why cant they use a yellow or white for the Speedo and tacho pointer arms instead of red. Otherwise the drive is very nice and not as heavy as some reviewers have said.I have done1800km and am waiting to use as a tow vehicle soon.

    caravanner of melbourne of rowville VIC Posted on 29 June 2010 12:10pm
  • The Challenger apparently can have a Heyman Reese towbar fitted in Melbourne Victoria but not in NSW - what is happening - do we need to take our vehicle to Victoria???

    Traveller of Sydney Posted on 08 June 2010 8:21pm
  • I am a recent purchaser of the new 2010 XLS model Challenger and the two most essential features for me focussed on the ability of the car to tow my caravan in the Australian outback.

    When the car was delivered with the fitted Mitsubishi towbar the bar could not accommodate a Haymen Reece hitch and the instrumentation was unable to provide engine information such as fuel consumption and kilometre capacity, essential when towing and in the outback with a limited 70 ltr fuel tank.

    Although assured these requirements would be met, the car came with a towbar unable to accept a Hayman Reece hitch (it appears there is no current towbar suitable for the Challenger compatable with Hayman Reece) and the XLS does not provide the engine information that the lower range XL and Outlander is equipped with.

    All in all the selection of the vehicle as a serious outback towing vehicle is yet to be proved.

    New Nomad Posted on 25 March 2010 8:24pm
  • I find the speedo,trip meter, hard to read caused by not enough light or different colour maybe would fix this problem.

    n bourke of bendigo Posted on 08 January 2010 11:06am
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