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Used Mitsubishi Challenger review: 2009-2011

2009 Mitsubishi Challenger LS.
EXPERT RATING
8

Mitsubishi's Challenger off-roader arrived on the market as buyers were shifting more and more towards SUVs without genuine off-road credentials.

NEW

The attractively styled mid-sized 4WD wagon was a genuine off-roader built on the Triton chassis and using the Triton turbo-diesel engine and Super Select full-time/part-time 4WD system, and a rear diff lock. There were five models in two trim levels, the LS and XLS, offering the choice of five and seven seats.

The Challenger's cabin is a pleasant and comfortable place to reside, although getting in required quite a step up and there was no grab handles to help you. Once aboard, however, you found yourself in comfortable and supportive seats, leather trimmed on the XLS, and faced by a nicely laid-out dash with everything you could need within easy reach and placed where you might expect them to be.

Generally, there's ample room for adults in all three seating rows, although the unlucky one that cops the middle of the second row would be cramped and those who have to sit in the third row would only want to stay there for a relatively short trip. The 2.5-litre turbo-diesel does the job comfortably, if a little noisily. It's got plenty of mid-range punch for easy driving and good towing.

There was a choice of manual and auto transmissions with gearing that has the engine working at its peak most of the time. On the highway the auto transmission tends to hunt in and out of overdrive on anything but flat roads. Off-road the Challenger is a competent operator, with decent ground clearance, good front and rear angles, as well as adequate protection underneath, a rear diff lock and front traction control.

On the black top the Challenger holds its own with most of its rivals. It cruises comfortably, rides well and handles with aplomb for a big traditional off-road wagon. It wasn't lacking in equipment either. Standard features on both models included climate-control air-conditioning, CD player, six speakers, leather steering wheel, cruise. On top of that the XLS range-topper got leather trim, powered driver's seat, wood trim, premium sound, reversing camera, rear park sensors, fog lights and headlight washers.

NOW

The Challenger is a solid vehicle with decent build quality and mechanics tell us that it is giving little trouble in the field. There are no serious flaws from the factory, so focus on issues that have resulted from its use. In particular pay close attention to the exterior and underbody for signs of off-road use.

Mitsubishi was keen to point out that the Challenger would cope with being beaten around the bush, and some owners may well have taken them up on the challenge. Look for bent fittings and appendages underneath, exhaust hangers, suspension mountings etc. Also look for anything that might indicate water entry into vitals located underneath.

Look for scratches, dents and bumps on exterior panels from having bounced off the scenery. Continue shopping should you suspect a car has been used offroad. Check for a service record showing oil changes and regular maintenance, as with all cars servicing is vital to a long life. There was a recall in 2011 to check the floor mats as some were fitted with mats that could affect the operation of the accelerator.

SMITHY SAYS

Good choice for those who want a real off-roader that isn't out of its comfort zone in town.

Mitsubishi Challenger - 2009-2011

Price new: $44,490 to $58,890
Engine: 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel, 131 kW/350 Nm (auto), 131 kW/400 Nm (man)
Transmission: 5-speed man, 5-speed auto, 4WD
Economy: 8.3 L/100 km (man), 9.8 L/100 km (auto)
Body: 4-door wagon
Variants: LS, XLS
Safety: 4-star ANCAP

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2011 $7,200 $19,030
2010 $6,700 $16,940
2009 $6,000 $14,190

View all Mitsubishi Challenger pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$18,990
Based on 12 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$15,990
Highest Price
$19,998

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
LS (5 Seat) (4x4) 2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $6,000 – 9,240 2009 Mitsubishi Challenger 2009 LS (5 Seat) (4x4) Pricing and Specs
LS (7 Seat) (4x4) 2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $7,600 – 11,770 2009 Mitsubishi Challenger 2009 LS (7 Seat) (4x4) Pricing and Specs
XLS (5 Seat) (4x4) 2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $9,100 – 13,640 2009 Mitsubishi Challenger 2009 XLS (5 Seat) (4x4) Pricing and Specs
XLS (7 Seat) (4x4) 2.5L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $9,400 – 14,190 2009 Mitsubishi Challenger 2009 XLS (7 Seat) (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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