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Mitsubishi chops Challenger range

New challenge: The update to the Mitsubishi Challenger includes a revised grille and bumper and a new audio system in the cabin.

Seven-seat and 2WD options for Mitsubishi Challenger axed, other variants updated


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3 Jul 2013

MITSUBISHI has axed the popular two-wheel-drive and seven-seat configurations from the Triton-based Challenger off-roader range as part of a bid to simplify its line-up.

The company has also discontinued the flagship XLS variant, leaving a more condensed range consisting of a base variant and and the previously mid-spec (but now flagship) LS, with the latter now available with an automatic transmission only.

The reduction in the number of configurations coincides with a facelift for remaining variants that brings a redesigned grille and bumpers, more interior features and price increases of up to $2000.

The loss of the seven-seat variant gives Mitsubishi one less rival for the likes of Holden’s ute-based Colorado 7 and the rugged, top-selling Toyota Prado.

Mitsubishi's other large SUV, the Pajero, will continue to be offered with seven seats on some variants and could absorb some sales, while the smaller Outlander compact SUV is also available with the option of a third row.

The decision to drop the price-leading two-wheel-drive option, which was introduced in late 2011, comes despite the fact it made up 25 per cent of all Challenger sales in 2012, and 20 per cent in the first five months of 2012.

This consolidation of the Challenger line-up comes two weeks after Mitsubishi dumped the petrol variant from the Pajero line-up, leaving it a diesel-only proposition.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) corporate communications manager Caitlin Beale said that Mitsubishi's local arm were keen to focus on the more popular variants of its SUV range.

“We are trying to simplify our line-up and give more support to less vehicles,” she said. “We are concentrating on the volume products.”

The seven-seat Challenger made up 13 per cent of overall Challenger sales in 2012, dropping to 11 per cent to the end of May this year.

MMAL product manager James Tol ruled out offering a third row as an option and said seven-seat customers still have the option of the Pajero or Outlander in the local line-up.

“Between the Outlander and the Pajero, the Challenger was basically overlapping so we thought we don’t really need a Challenger seven-seat in the range.

“So to tighten up on our model availability and keep things nice and compact and easy to manage, we thought best to concentrate on Challenger as a five-seater,” he said.

Prices for the three remaining models have risen slightly, with the base Challenger up by $1000 for both the five-speed manual ($42,490) and five-speed automatic ($44,990), while the LS auto is $2000 dearer at $49,990.

Mitsubishi says a boost in equipment is the reason for the price rise, with the Challenger now available with a reversing camera and rear parking sensors as standard along with Mitsubishi's “new generation” audio system already featured in the ASX and Outlander SUVs and Lancer small car.

The system, which includes a 6.1-inch colour touchscreen housing the reverse camera monitor, is standard on the base model and comes with Bluetooth, four speakers, USB and auxiliary inputs and voice control.

Higher-spec LS models get a larger seven-inch touchscreen in the redesigned centre stack, six-speaker audio and 3D sat-nav and additional luxuries like leather seats, tinted glass, rain-sensing wipers, power adjustable front seats and a cargo blind.

This is on top of the standard gear from the base model, including cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and climate control with rear seat ducts.

The interior of the Challenger gets a light spruce-up with new carbon-look trim highlights, while the more utilitarian base model gets new cloth upholstery.

A light refresh of the Challenger's exterior design includes a revised grille and front bumper, while the rear gets updated tail-lights.

All Challengers are powered by a 2.5-litre direct-injection turbo-diesel engine producing 131kW of power and 400Nm of torque for the manual and 350Nm for the automatic.

Self-shifting version have official fuel consumption of 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres, while the manual Challenger is 8.3L/100km.

Mitsubishi Challenger pricing:*
4WD five-seater$42,490
4WD five-seater (a)$44,990
4WD LS five-seater (a)$49,990
*Plus on-road costs

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