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  • Positives: Tough design, off-road credentials, interior room, fuel economy.
  • Negatives: Engine noise, interior components directly out of Triton.

OUR RATING
4 / 10



Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review

Mitsubishi Challenger Review

The Mitsubishi Challenger is for those times when the Pajero just isn’t enough.

Models Tested:

  • 2010 Mitsubishi Challenger LS; 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel; five-speed automatic; five-seat wagon – $46,890*
  • 2010 Mitsubishi Challenger XLS; 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel; five-speed automatic; five-seat wagon – $56,990*

Options:

  • None fitted.

CarAdvice Rating:

Words – Paul Maric Pictures – Brendan Nish and Andrew Spence

When the advertisement first popped up on TV, I wondered why they were advertising a Triton as a family vehicle. It wasn’t until the car was turned around and the back was on display that I realised it was the all new Mitsubishi Challenger.

Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review

Upon closer inspection, it’s hard to realise where or why the Challenger fits within the Mitsubishi range. It’s certainly bigger and more capable than an Mitsubishi Outlander, but doesn’t appear any more capable or comfortable than a Mitsubishi Pajero.

If we forget about the challenges presented in selling the Challenger alongside the Pajero, it doesn’t take long to realise how unique and appropriate the Challenger really is.

The cabin has Triton written all over it – not literally, but it’s quite clear when it all originated. The hard plastics and rugged climate control buttons are amongst the few downsides. Lashings of woodgrain on the up-spec XLS model add to the luxury of leather seats and satellite navigation.

Head and leg room in the front and second row is beyond impressive. Built on the Mitsubishi Triton platform, there is ample room for five adults. The Challenger can also be optioned with seven seats, further increasing passenger capacity.

If you think the head and leg room is impressive, just wait until you see the size of the boot. 1813 litres of cargo capacity is on offer with the second row folded flat. That kind of capacity makes the Challenger versatile enough to carry passengers, while also catering for masses of luggage and all the other bits and pieces associated with tasks such as holiday making.

Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review

Under the bonnet you will find Mitsubishi’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. Producing 131kW and 400Nm of torque, the engine easily overcomes the Challenger’s two-tonne mass. Mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox (five-speed manual also available), the transmission is always in the right gear for optimal acceleration.

When optioned with the five-speed automatic gearbox, torque is reduced to 350Nm.

The Challenger’s main trump card is its fuel consumption. The five-speed manual Challenger achieves a combined fuel consumption of 8.3L/100km, while the automatic jumps to 9.8L/100km. It’s an impressive fuel consumption figure for a 4WD of its size.

The downside to the Challenger’s torque laden engine is the amount of noise it makes. Sounds buffering remains unchanged from the Triton, so the engine can be heard from miles away with the windows up or down. It’s at its loudest when started from cold and takes around 10 minutes to go from a wielding drone to a slightly more respectable, but still too loud tractor-like note.

Although the advantages of cabin space are achieved by basing the Challenger on the Triton platform, inherent handling characteristics remain. A big steering ratio means more turns are required to get the Challenger around tight bends and corners.

Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review

The Challenger uses a three-link live coil and stabiliser rear suspension setup, allowing for a comfortable ride, unfortunately handling is very average. Plenty of body roll occurs when lobbing the Challenger into sweeping and tight corners.

Manoeuvring the Challenger around the city is relatively pain-free, especially with the addition of the reversing camera on the XLS model. The 1.82m height can give you a bit of a fright when travelling through tight city car parks though, as they are often limited to 1.85m.

Off-road is where the Challenger feels most at home.

The Challenger literally walked over anything thrown at it. In most situations, four wheel drive high range was all that was required to climb rocky hills and wade through muddy ruts. For harder terrain, the Challenger features a low range four wheel drive mode in addition to centre and rear differential locks further increasing traction.

The Challenger’s suspension articulation is amazing. The off-road juggernaut has no problems maintaining traction, even when a wheel is fully extended.

Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review

Approach and departure angles are also reasonable at 35 and 26 degrees respectively. The optional tow bar further decreases the departure angle, but can be removed for off-roading situations. With 220mm of ground clearance, the Challenger bypasses all rocks and body damaging protrusions.

The optional tow pack provides a towing capacity of 2,500kg with a braked trailer and 750kg with an un-braked trailer.

Priced from $44,490 for the five-speed manual five seat LS, the range finishes at $58,890 for the seven seat five-speed automatic XLS.

At first glance, the Challenger seems to be a lost cause. If you take a closer look though, it presents a fantastic case for families after a large 4WD with plenty of room inside for both passengers and luggage. The way it performs off-road also confirms that it’s the 4WD king of the Mitsubishi range.

If you’re happy to sacrifice the luxury of the Pajero, the Challenger provides the best alternative option at an affordable price. To top it off, it doesn’t look too bad either.

Ratings:

Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Mitsubishi Challenger Review

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Mitsubishi Challenger Specs

LS (5 SEAT) (4x4) : PB MY11 : 2.5L DIESEL TURBO F/INJ - 5 SP AUTOMATIC - DIESEL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
MITSUBISHI
Model
CHALLENGER
Variant
LS (5 SEAT) (4x4)
Series
PB MY11
Year
2010
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$16,720 - $19,000
Dealer Retail
$18,040 - $21,450
Dealer Trade
$13,100 - $15,200
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
DIESEL TURBO F/INJ
Engine Size
2.5L
Cylinders
DIESEL TURBO 4
Max. Torque
350Nm @  1800rpm
Max. Power
131kW @  4000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
63.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
91.1x95mm
Compression Ratio
16.5
Valve Gear
DUAL OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
4x4
Final Drive Ratio
3.917
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
DIESEL
Fuel Tank Capacity
70Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.8L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2051
Gross Vehicle Weight
5210Kg
Height
1840mm
Length
4695mm
Width
1815mm
Ground Clearance
220mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:2500  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.2
Front Rim Size
7.5x17
Rear Rim Size
7.5x17
Front Tyres
265/65 R17
Rear Tyres
265/65 R17
Wheel Base
2800
Front Track
1520
Rear Track
1515
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Trip Computer
Engine & Transmission
Diff Locks
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Power Mirrors, Side Steps
Interior
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
60 months /  130,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Rear Driver Side Chassis
Country of Origin
Thailand