2013 Mitsubishi Challenger Review
Joel Helmes reviews the entry-level Mitsubishi Challenger.
Mitsubishi continues to tweak the Challenger, both literally the vehicle and the model range, in an attempt to keep the trusty old girl going.
Probably more than a bit overdue for a complete refresh, the Challenger continues to offer excellent off-road ability, reasonable comfortable and sharp pricing.
All models in the Challenger line-up are once again 4×4 (after a brief flirtation with optional 2WD variants) and are powered by the same 2.5 litre turbo-diesel engine.
There are two grades, the entry-level (simply known as the Challenger) and the LS, prices start at $42,490. I had the automatic version of the base model, a combo with a $44,490 price tag.
As I’ve found before the turbo-diesel power plant in the Challenger is a more than capable unit. It produces 131kW and 350Nm, while using a combined 9.8L/100km – I averaged about 12.4L/100km in a week of city driving.
As far as diesel engines go it’s a relatively quiet unit and when matched to the five-speed auto acceleration and power are both well catered for.
The ride in the Challenger also gets a pass-mark, thanks mainly to the models coil spring rear suspension.
Overall, on the road the Thai built Challenger continues to hold its own, it’s not brilliant but it’s certainly not difficult to live with. Off–road of course the Challenger is more than capable.
While the exterior styling is certainly not cutting-edge, additions such as attractive 16” alloy wheels and side-steps help lift the package.
A recent upgrade of the Challenger interior has seen the inclusion of a new centre dashboard pod that houses a touchscreen stereo interface and reversing camera. While this pod gives the Challenger some much needed technology, it literally creaked and rattled constantly – driving me to serious distraction!!
Overall the feel in the Challenger cabin is dated, though some nice materials, including suede on the door trims and centre armrest help lift the presentation and comfort.
For some reason Mitsubishi includes paddle-shifters on the Challenger, why I don’t know!
From the driver’s seat visibility is excellent, mostly assisted by large wing-mirrors. The gauges are clear and easy to read but the driver info screen is tiny and seriously dated.
Simple air-conditioning and heater controls, a really nice leather steering wheel and some attractive chrome highlights (such as the interior door handles) are positives.
Legroom all-round is good and the Challenger boasts a sizeable rear cargo area.
The Challenger has a four-star ANCAP safety rating and safety features include dual front, head and side (front row) air-bags, stability and traction control and ABS (with four wheel disc brakes).
Summing it up – well the Challenger is a bit of a relic, but Mitsubishi has done a good job adding new features and giving the cabin and exterior regular mini make-overs!
The rattling centre dash pod drove me crazy though and as far as family transport goes you could find more comfortable options. Still the engine impresses and the off-road ability is unquestioned.
If you need genuine 4×4 ability I would advise you to check out the new Isuzu MU-X (also Thai built) before signing up for a Challenger, while if you really only in need a soft-roader the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Ford Territory and new Nissan Pathfinder are all options.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 2.5 litre four cylinder turbo-diesel producing 131kW and 350Nm
Transmission: Five speed auto or manual
Safety: Four stars
Price: From $42,490