Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good After a three-year absence in the Aussie market, Mitsubishi re-launched the Challenger here in December 2009. The new model is based on Mitsubishi’s Triton Utility so underneath is tough ladder-frame chassis and genuine 4x4 hardware ensuring this Large SUV will venture where others would be scared to tread. However, if you're not planning on going off-road the 4x2 option is a better choice.
Not so good The Challenger is a bit rugged, but that’s why we reckon people will buy it. However, if you plan on driving predominantly on rather than off-road the ladder-frame chassis is more 'Not so Good' than 'Good'.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good This new Challenger is full of surprises. It's literally full of features: leather and woodgrain trim (however not all of our test drivers were fans of the 'wood' trim), satellite navigation, phone & audio controls on the steering wheel, climate control, parking sensors, three rows of seats. When we first sat in the car and reached between our legs to shift the seat forward, there was no handle - instead it has electric seats with the buttons on the right side of the cushion!? Impressive.
Not so good It’s not as ‘passenger-car-like’ as a Territory. The third row will struggle to seat an adult (it’s more designed for kids & early teens). Luggage room is limited when the 3rd row seats are in place. Engine noise is very apparent and less refined then most diesel engines on the market. The interior is very dated and the center console display is an old-school 8-bit display. You can tell that the Challenger is based off the Triton ute range when you open and close the doors, there is an alloy sound rather than that solid thud you get from better quality vehicles. For the serious off-roader there isn’t any vinyl floor covering - so clean ya boots before you get back in.
Performance

Performance

Good Available only with a 2.5-litre Turbo Diesel - it produces enough pulling power with 400Nm of torque for the manual transmission (350Nm with the auto).

The approach and departure angles just fall short of the Pajero’s but are greater than the Kluger.
Not so good Power is limited at 131kW - ample for off-road but needs some revving to keep ahead of traffic for around town driving. The Challenger is on the heavy side weighing in at just over two-tonne. Around town the Challenger is only o.k to drive, however it's high enough to see over traffic and narrow enough so parking is not an issue (not usually the case with largish SUV’s).
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Considering it's bolted to a ladder-frame chassis it handles okay for this sized vehicle; body roll is average; the tyres are dual-terrain (with not much tyre noise, fortunately). Off-road is where the Challenger really shows off, the long suspension travel and ground clearance of 220mm enables it to tackle the tough stuff. We were really impressed with how it handles the slippery terrain.

The Challenger is available with a 4X4 part time system with a low-range transfer gearbox for the weekend or the non off-roader 4x2 for people who just want a large SUV.
Not so good Like the interior, its handling isn't as passenger-car-like as the softer SUV's (i.e. Kluger, CX-9, Territory etc). Remember it shares it's underpinnings with the Triton ute. The brakes are a bit spongy and take a few 'pushes' to get comfortable with.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good The Challenger model range starts at LS manual and tops off at the XLS 7 seater. Both grades are very competitive when it comes to the features list. It comes with a very competitive Mitsubishi warranty of five-years/130,000kms and a warranty of ten years/160,000kms for the drivetrain.
Not so good Any dislikes will be uncovered after a test drive - it’s not for everyone (but nor is skydiving).