Make / Model Search

Future models - Mitsubishi - Challenger

Mitsubishi Challenger previewed in Thailand

In the game: If the Thai-market Pajero Sport is any indication, Mitsubishi will have a real Challenger in the SUV wagon segment.

Huge step forward in refinement, specs for Mitsubishi’s upcoming Challenger


Click to see larger images

2 Aug 2015

MITSUBISHI has taken the covers off its all-new Triton-based Challenger large SUV at the 2015 Bangkok International Grand Motor Sale trade show ahead of its Australian launch early next year.

Sold as the Pajero Sport in Thailand, where it is built alongside the Triton, the new-generation Challenger brings with it a significant increase in specification and sophistication across the board.

The headline acts include vastly different looks, a thoroughly redesigned cabin, major improvements in safety equipment and the introduction of an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel that debuted in the recently released new-generation Triton also moves over to the wagon.

The large SUV sector is heating up locally, with strong sales for Isuzu’s MU-X and new contenders from Ford (Everest) and Toyota (Fortuner) on the horizon.

Holden’s Colorado7 is also in the mix.

Mitsubishi’s current third-generation Challenger has found 1235 homes in Australia in 2015, some 2000 units down on the MU-X but three units ahead of the Colorado7. It sold a total of 1739 units in 2014 – nearly 3000 less than the MU-X, but around 200 more than the Colorado7.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) head of corporate communications Shayna Welsh confirmed the Australian-market Challenger “will look largely the same” as the Thai-market Pajero Sport, but added that the company was “still negotiating details for our market”.

“The new model is a more upmarket-style vehicle than the current Challenger, and we’re obviously hoping this will open up more opportunities in the Australian market,” Ms Welsh said.

The redesigned wagon sports Mitsubishi’s new corporate front end in an even more pronounced manner than the new Triton, while the rear end is also heavily stylised with long, vertical tail-lights running from the bumper upwards.

Gone is the slab-side styling and overfenders, replaced by pumped guards, a high crease line and upwards-tapering rear-three-quarter windows.

The new model rests on the same 2800mm wheelbase as before but stretches 90mm further from end to end – overall length is now 4785mm – while overall width (1815mm) and height (1800mm) remain the same.

Mitsubishi says the larger cabin provides 2585mm of total legroom from the first to third row of seats.

Cabin quality, too, looks to be a significant step up from even the recently redone Triton, with a pronounced centre console design, more premium surfaces and less plastic trim. The dash and centre double-DIN infotainment stack design has been carried over from the ute.

The Pajero Sport is configured as a seven-seater in this new model and in the previous-generation Thai-market car, while Mitsubishi’s current Challenger is offered only as a five-seater in Australia.

“We’re still reviewing options for our market, bearing in mind we already offer a seven-seat Outlander and Pajero in our SUV range,” Ms Welsh said. “So we’re considering all of these things in our plan.”

Built on a rugged ladder-frame chassis, Mitsubishi claims to have improved the strength and rigidity of the body while reducing weight. The manufacturer has also used higher-strength steels in key areas like the A- and B-pillars and side sills.

Mechanically, the new Pajero Sport/Challenger brings several new additions to the table. The new 4N15J diesel unit is the company’s newest engine and sports MIVEC valve timing, direct injection and a variable-vane turbocharger.

Maximum output is listed at 133kW of power and 430Nm of torque the same figures apply to the local Triton. The vehicle also features regenerative braking as standard.

The engine combines with an eight-speed automatic gearbox – a first for the company. A Sport mode allows manual selection of the gears via paddle shifts, while the gearbox can change modes in the 4WD model, depending on the drive mode selected.

A new Off Road Mode selector dial on the top-spec 4WD version in the Thai model range complements Mitsubishi’s familiar Super Select system. Gravel, Mud/Snow, Sand and Rock modes are available on demand, and control engine, transmission and traction control maps as needed.

The recently updated Triton has been fitted with an upgraded six-speed manual gearbox, while a five-speed automatic sourced from the Pajero is available as an option.

Suspension-wise, the Challenger carries over an updated version of the double-link front end and three-link coil-sprung rear from the previous generation. New dampers and a thicker front anti-roll bar have been added.

Larger 320mm-diameter brake rotors and twin-piston callipers have been fitted to the Pajero Sport, along with hill-start assist and, in another first for Mitsubishi, hill-descent control.

Additional safety electronics available on top-end variants of the new model include forward collision mitigation, blind-spot warning and a new ‘ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation’ system.

The latter monitors obstacles in front of, and behind, the vehicle and can control engine speed to prevent a collision while disabling the throttle if it is inadvertently pressed by mistake. It operates from 0-10km/h.

While three grades of Pajero Sport were previewed, MMAL sells just two grades in the current Challenger series. The base model is priced from $42,490 plus on-road costs, while a higher-grade LS variant starts at $49,990.

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Mitsubishi models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here