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GFC delays Mitsubishi’s Challenger

Back burner: The latest Mitsubishi Challenger is again built on the Triton ladder chassis.

Mitsubishi pushes back the launch of its new-generation Challenger SUV until 2010

16 Jul 2009

MITSUBISHI has delayed the Australian release of its all-new Challenger due to the global financial crisis.

Originally due on sale here in the first half of 2009, the new-generation Challenger appeared at the Moscow motor show in August 2008, but will not be launched here until early 2010.

“We have decided not to launch the Challenger this year,” said Mitsubishi Motors Australia’s head of corporate communications, Lenore Fletcher.

“There are no availability or product issues with it – it just hasn’t been the optimum economic environment in which to launch a new product. At this point we’re looking at the first quarter of next year,” she said.

GoAuto understands Mitsubishi has two specification grades and two transmissions locked in for the all-diesel KH-series Challenger, which will revive a nameplate not seen in Australia since the PA Challenger was discontinued in March 2007. First released here in 1998, the original Challenger received a facelift in August 2000 but never sold in expected numbers.

21 center imageAs with its predecessor, the separate-chassis Challenger is again based on Mitsubishi’s Triton utility workhorse and will continue to be offered with five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions.

While the original Challenger, priced between $39,990 and $48,990, was powered by a 136kW 3.0-litre SOHC petrol V6, its replacement will be available only with an upgraded Euro 4 emissions-compliant 2.5-litre turbo-diesel that delivers 131kW at 4000rpm.

The high-output version of Mitsubishi’s common-rail four-cylinder 2477cc 4D56 DI-D engine, which is available in some versions of the Triton sold overseas, is likely to join the 100kW/314Nm version in Australia’s Triton range as part of an imminent model upgrade.

With 350Nm of torque available in manual guise and 400Nm on tap as an auto, the up-spec 2.5-litre diesel engine also outperforms the 118kW/34Nm 3.2-litre turbo-diesel currently found in the Triton. However, the same engine delivers 147kW and 441Nm outputs in the Pajero, with which the Challenger will compete in the crowded medium SUV segment.

While the rugged new Challenger will not come with the monocoque-chassis Pajero’s larger-capacity diesel engine or five-speed automatic transmission, it should offer similar fuel economy. The comparatively heavy Triton 2.5 diesel returns 8.5L/100km as a manual and 9.1L/100km as an auto, while the Pajero 3.2 diesel comes with official fuel consumption figures of 8.4L/100km (manual) and 9.2L/100km (auto).

That’s lineball with the mid-sized diesel SUVs currently available – such as Holden’s Captiva, Nissan’s Pathfinder, Kia’s Sorento, Toyota’s Prado and Hyundai’s Santa Fe – as well as undercutting petrol-powered medium SUVs such as Toyota’s Kluger (11.0L/100km), Ford’s territory (12.2L/100km) and Mazda’s CX-9 (13.0L/100km).

Available in both five and seven seats, the new Challenger will be positioned between the Pajero and Outlander compact SUV with a starting price likely to be well under $50,000. Apart from its full ladder chassis, its off-road ability will be backed by a selectable four-wheel drive system with low-range reduction ratio, water-repellent seats and a waterproof luggage compartment floor.

The Challenger received full Australia Design Rule approval in June 2009 and measures 4695mm long, 1815mm wide and 2005mm high. It rides on a 2800mm wheelbase and has 215mm of ground clearance.

Kerb weights range between 1980kg and 2015kg, with seven-seat versions adding an extra 50kg, and the Challenger has a braked towing capacity of 2500kg (750kg unbraked).

All models will come as standard with 17x7.5-inch alloy wheels with 265/65 R17 tyres, as well as twin front airbags, ABS brakes, air-conditioning, power steering, power windows/mirrors and remote central locking.

Features like side and curtain airbags and front foglights will be optional on the base model and standard on the premium grade, with a sunroof and towbar optional across the range.

Read more:

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First look: Challenger lives again

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