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2013 Mitsubishi Challenger XLS Review

Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2013 Mitsubishi Challenger XLS.

2013 Mitsubishi Challenger XLS review

2013 Mitsubishi Challenger XLS Review.

It may not be cutting edge but the Mitsubishi Challenger does offer a reasonable choice for buyers looking for a medium sized, five seat SUV with genuine off-road ability.

Based on the Triton, the Challenger range starts at just under $37,000 and tops out with the XLS which is priced from $57,190.

All Challenger models come with the same 2.5L four cylinder turbo diesel engine, buyers do however get the choice of 2WD and 4WD variants and there’s choice between five speed manual and five speed auto transmissions.

My test vehicle was the top of the range XLS 4WD auto.

Disappointingly however, even in this premium form, the Challenger just can’t get away from its Triton roots.

The engine, which delivers 131kW and 350Nm, provides quite good acceleration and power yet is noticeably noisier than most other turbo diesel engines in today’s SUV’s.

Using a combined 9.8L/100 however the fuel economy is quite reasonable.

Being a genuine 4×4 the 2013 Mitsubishi Challenger isn’t great in the corners with a large degree of noticeable body-roll. The suspension also doesn’t provide as good a ride as the now more mainstream “soft-roader” alternatives.

Steering feel is also quiet heavy and vague, though the turning circle is surprisingly reasonable. The brake pedal is disappointingly spongy.

Inside the cabin the Challenger is a proverbial “time-warp” with a design and layout that is well and truly overdue for a refresh.

In saying that the electric seats are quite comfortable, the climate control adjustment is simple and the gauges are clear and easy to read.

Unfortunately, though the trip computer gives plenty of useful info, the design is extremely dated and can also be hard to navigate around and read.

The steering is also tilt only.

The Mitsubishi Challenger comes with a reversing camera located inside the rear view mirror.

The XLS gets plenty of wood grain treatment but this tends to really stand out against the rather dull grey plastics also used throughout. The feeling in the cabin is definitely lifted however by the use of some nice chrome work on the door handles etc.

Leg room in the Challenger front and back has always been an issue and with quite a narrow cabin it can feel a little cramped, especially with three adults in the backseat.

In saying that, headroom in the Challenger is actually quite good.

Another positive note is that the Challenger boasts a very generous cargo area (with a handy cargo net and sun shade), visibility from the driver’s seats is excellent and the cabin generally has pretty good storage areas.

The exterior styling is starting to show its age as well, though nicely designed 17”alloys, chrome highlights and side-steps help keep the Challenger in the game.

On the safety front the Mitsubishi Challenger has a 4-Star ANCAP rating.

Summing it up, well as previously stated the Challenger has just the one advantage of its rivals – genuine off-road ability. This of course comes at the cost of comfort and driving pleasure.

Being only a five seater is also a draw-back.

I would recommend the lower-spec Mitsubishi Challenger to buyers looking for a tough SUV, but in this luxury XLS form, and at this kind of money, I would be looking elsewhere.


Engine: 2.5 litre turbo diesel producing 131kW and 350Nm

Transmission: 5-speed auto or 5-speed manual

Safety: Four stars

Warranty: 5yrs/130,000kms

Origin: Thailand

Price: From $42,490

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