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Mitsubishi slashes Challenger price

Stipped: Mitsubishi has released a cut-price Challenger model to go beneath the exisiting LS base-model (seen left).

Challenger price cut $3500 as Mitsubishi releases stripper version of hard-core SUV

Mitsubishi logo23 Mar 2011

MITSUBISHI has released a cheaper Challenger in response to demand for a stripped-out version of the mid-size four-wheel-drive wagon.

Lowering the Challenger’s entry price by $3500 to $41,490, the new entry-level five-seater does away with a number of safety, convenience and technical features offered by the former LS five-seat manual base model, which remains priced at $44,990.

The cut-price Challenger, which carries the same sticker price as the smaller Outlander’s mid-range 2.4 XLS AWD variant and is more affordable than both V6-powered Outlander AWD models, lacks the twin front-side and curtain airbags fitted as standard to all other Challenger models.

Buyers, the majority of whom Mitsubishi says will be fleet purchasers such as mining companies, will also go without a rear differential lock, climate-control air-conditioning, roof rails, a premium sound system, Bluetooth connectivity and leather seat trim highlights.

As with the five-seat Challenger LS, the new base model is available with an automatic transmission – which is standard across the rest of the range – for an extra $2500.

Together, a rear diff lock and roof rails is now a $950 option on the cheapest Challenger, while an option pack comprising side/curtain airbags and roof rails costs $1050. Metallic or pearlescent exterior paint costs $450 on all Challengers.

Pricing for the rest of the five-variant Challenger range remains unchanged, meaning the most expensive ($56,390) XLS seven-seat automatic variant still undercuts all but the two most affordable (GL and GLX diesel manual) versions of the larger Pajero SUV.

All Challengers continue to be powered by a 131kW 2.5-litre turbo-diesel engine, which offers 350Nm of torque and 8.3L/100km combined fuel consumption in five-speed manual form and 400Nm and 9.8L/100km as a five-speed auto.

Mitsubishi’s newest PB-series Challenger off-roader was introduced in Australia in December 2009 after a near-three-year hiatus for the nameplate here.

Last year it attracted almost 200 monthly sales for a 2.6 per share of a medium SUV segment that grew by more than 16 per cent, but so far this year it has undergone a 16.4 per cent sales lift in a segment down 7.1 per cent.

With a 2011 segment share of just three per cent, however, the Challenger continues to attract a niche following with sales well behind that of the similarly hard-core Toyota Prado and volume-selling crossovers like the same brand’s Kluger, Holden’s Captiva 7 and Ford’s homegrown Territory.

The Challenger is also less popular than Mitsubishi’s larger, more expensive and equally capable Pajero, as well as soft-roaders including the Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Murano, Kia Sorento and even Jeep’s go-anywhere Wrangler.

2011 MitsubishiChallenger pricing:
Challenger$41,490
Challenger (a)$43,990
Challenger LS$44,990
Challenger LS (a)$47,490
Challenger LS (a) 7-seat$49,390
Challenger XLS (a)$54,490
Challenger XLS (a) 7-seat$56,390

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