Mitsubishi have certainly not been shy in promoting their brand new 2010 motor PB Challenger.
There’s lots new about the car including new body styling, new suspension and ladder frame chassis, new seating arrangements with either a five seater or seven seater available and the V6 petrol engine has been replaced by the Triton’s four cylinder turbo charged inter cooled common rail 2. 5L diesel engine.
Both the Triton and Challenger are made in Thailand these days, with the Challenger sharing engine/platform/4WD system with the Triton ute but featuring different (coil) rear suspension for a more supple ride in line with it’s image of a passenger car rather than work ute role.
The new Challenger, much like it's predecessor, is much more akin to a true 4WD than the soft roader SUV's we see so much of today. There's no shortage of SUV competitors for the Challenger but the new Mitsubishi has a true low range four wheel drive capability mated to a Super Select four wheel drive system. This drive system has the options of two wheel drive, full time four wheel drive, or centre diff locked high or low range for the loose or slippery work.
The driver of the Challenger can take care of virtually any on or off road situation and is only limited by wheel and axle travel. The four wheel drive (high range) can also be engaged at speeds up to 100km should the terrain demand it.
When push really comes to shove low range gear reduction will see the 2T wagon crawling through places where soft roaders grind to a stop.
With ample ground clearance, an uncluttered floor pan below, big 17” wheels on Bridgestone Duelers and a willing diesel engine, the Challenger can and will go a long way further off the beaten track.
The new Challenger is a nippy sort of beast. While it’s not particularly quiet, thanks to the chatter of the 2. 5L diesel power plant, with 131kW of power and 350Nm of torque for the reviewed automatic vehicle (the manual has 400Nm of torque) the five speed shifts through the gears pretty smartly. The diesel engine is happiest around the 2,000rpm mark, which is just over 100km/h on the highway.
The super select auto change system offers manual gear selection simply by flicking the selector to the left and palming the lever backwards or forwards. It’s very handy when pulling a heavy load (up to 2500kg for a braked trailer) or engaging on long hill climbing on uneven surfaces.
While the 2.5L diesel engine is responsive through the gears, overtaking on long highway slopes will take some careful calculation.
The 2010 Challenger presents as a very comfortable, roomy, uncluttered wagon. While the new styling won’t set any trends, overall there is an attractive hint of a Triton around the bonnet and front of the vehicle.
The windows are large, the door pillars are unobtrusive, and the driving position is just right with plenty of side support from the front seats. Most of all, the Challenger is high; you will be getting a very good look at the countryside from inside the wagon.
Passengers seated behind the driver will find the seating comfortable. There is ample head room with the transmission tunnel taking up a small amount of space in the centre but still leaving enough room for an adult to sit there comfortably. The Challenger also rides much more like a car than a truck thanks to coil springs replacing the Triton's leaf rear set up.
There can be a little bit of body roll, but on corrugated surfaces and loose gravel the Challenger did not put one wheel off line in two wheel drive and, as expected, it performed even better in four wheel drive.
The rear pair of seats in the seven seater are best suited to children who have the agility to get into them plus the perseverance to remain seated without too much complaint. Kids love such places of course; it's very special to them and the view is great.
The Challenger's rear cargo area is nicely squared and fairly roomy with the two rearmost seats folded down and even larger with the split fold middle seats down out of the way as well. The full sized spare is also stored below the rear cargo area.
I put a good load of camping gear, including a 3m square canvas tent and six poles, a 52L ice box, a pair of Oztrail's big folding chairs, a food box, pillows, sleeping bags, clothing bags, four fly rods, two bait casters and all associated tackle, a table, stove, and gas bottle into the rear of the LS seven seater with the rear seat down and found no difficulty with the project at all.
The seven seat LS specification model features dual front, side, and curtain airbags, stability control and anti lock brakes.
The car is carpeted throughout, has electric windows and mirrors, climate control air, (with air conditioning to the two seats in the cargo area as well,) wheel-mounted controls for the six speaker sound system and cruise control.
The Challenger also features remote keyless entry plus central locking, a leather wrapped wheel and gear selector and the ever handy Mitsubishi multi-function meter shows everything from outside air temperature, barometric pressure and altitude to fuel consumption and remaining travel distance as per fuel in the tank.
A mix of city and country running returned around 10. 2L per 100km. The tank size is 70L, which is on the smaller side of some competitor's offerings.
Mitsubishi seem to have put together an excellent package with their new diesel Challenger.
It might not be the most stylish or fashionable 4x4 on the market but for dollar value plus that all important true off road capability in a five or seven seater this car is going to win a lot of friends.
Prices for the manual come in at around $44,990 and the LS auto around $ 46,990.Reads: 3500