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Challenger gets tow-y
  |  First Published: July 2012



Every time Mitsubishi Australia releases a new model they learn something new about their customers. The new 2012 Challenger was released in a 4x4 or 4x2 models, and most people who opted for the 2.5L diesel, five person wagon chose the 4x2. And why wouldn’t you when you get the same fantastic performance for $3500 less money!

Persons and cargo capacity remain the same for both vehicles, along with a 205mm ground clearance, excellent approach and departure angles, and equally offerings in both engine and transmissions.

The main differences are that the 4x2 doesn’t have the connection between front and rear wheels, and is around 100kg lighter. This makes the overall performance and fuel consumption just that bit sharper.

As you would expect with most large vehicles, the cargo area doesn’t disappoint. With all seats in place, it is 1180mm long and 1000mm wide between wheel arches. With the seats down, the cargo length extends to 1720mm, which equates to 1,813L of cargo space.

The reviewed Challenger 4x2 was equipped with Mitsubishi’s Convenience Pack. For an additional $3640, it includes driver and front passenger side and curtain air bags, a decent reversing camera within the rear view mirror, roof rails, 17” alloy wheels, six speaker sound system with four speakers up front, fog lamps, leather wrapped steering wheel and climate control air conditioning. Overall, the pack is good value for money.

Getting tow-y

A run to Warwick (with nothing in tow) was able to show me just how easily the Challenger drove. The five speed auto had plenty of get up go thanks to the 131kw of power, 400Nm of the 2.5L turbo diesel engine. The wagon was certainly quick off the mark for a diesel vehicle, and was easily able to overtake quick smart at normal highway speeds.

On the highway and in fifth gear at 2,000rpm the speedo was showing 100km/h with fuel consumption of just on 10.4L per 100km as per the multi-function display centre within the dash.

However, what really interested me was just how the 4x2 Challenger wagon would handle some heavy duty work. Luckily, the test vehicle was equipped with a tow bar and, with factory specifications indicating an unbraked tow capacity of 750kg and braked trailer mass of 3000kg, it permitted some scope for investigation.

Towing trials

My first chance for a tow test came with the trusty all-steel box trailer where around 75cm of top soil came home from the landscape yard without the slightest fuss. Our rear yard area is not level and I needed to reverse the loaded trailer up hill to the exact location where my wife was making her new garden. The Challenger rose to the challenge and the trailer was duly planted in place, well chocked, unhooked, and left right there so I could have the car back.

The next towing opportunity was much more to my liking. Two days later fishing was on the agenda and the TABS P420 Bullshark was connected to the draw bar for a late afternoon run. The Bullshark’s a solid craft with a bare hull weight of 250kg, the power trim/tilt 25 Evinrude E-Tec on the transom tips the scales at 83kgs, and the trailer another 200kg. Allowing another 30kg for fuel and our ‘gear’, there was a total weight of around 563kg - well within permitted limits.

The tow test was brilliant. The boat was visible but not really felt or causing the slightest influence on normal driving as we travelled out to Cabbage Tree Point. The fishing on the other hand was far from brilliant with five different plastics used, and not one fish coming aboard.

Returning to the ramp on dusk it was obvious we were leaving after a few other people as the ramp and upper area was quite wet. Nevertheless, we simply winched the boat onto the trailer and, with its rear wheel drive, hauled the boat up with ease.

The Challenger’s auto transmission sees the power from the engine delivered to the rear wheels in a very graduated manner. I’d have no issues with a manual Challenger, either, but the auto takes the cake in situations where graduated, continual, power without wheel spin is going to serve the best purpose.

Overview

Overall, the 4x2 Challenger, especially in auto specifications, is worth a serious look if you are seeking a larger five person vehicle with a big towing capacity, plenty of rear cargo space and ample ground clearance.

Mitsubishi’s warranties of 10 years for power train, five years new car warranty with roadside assist are applicable.

Price for the vehicle, as reviewed, from Nundah Mitsubishi, was $43,580.

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