Mitsubishi has today lifted the covers from its new Challenger SUV at the 2015 Bangkok International Grand Motor Sale.
The third generation of the rugged 4X4 family wagon, the all-new Challenger is no ‘city-SUV’ poseur.
The new car continues the formula of the old: genuine off-road four-wheel-drive performance, but with the versatility, finish and comfort of a lighter-duty SUV.
There are no surprises with the styling. A series of leaked photos and images established some time back that the new Challenger would borrow heavily from the new Outlander for its frontal styling.
Mitsubishi’s new so-called ‘Dynamic Shield' grille appears up front, with styling elements seen in the new Triton behind the A-pillars and an all-new rear (which may garner some comment).
And if it picks up, as we’d expect, the new-found sophistication of the Triton in the way it drives and performs off-road, this will be a whole new ball-game in a segment of the Australian market that will get very interesting once the new Toyota Fortuner also arrives.
Like the Triton, the interior of the Challenger gets a serious make-over with a higher-set feel to the dashboard, stylish metal garnishes and revised sculpted seats.
Diesel only, power for the new Challenger comes from Mitsubishi’s 2.4-litre MIVEC turbo diesel engine (also found in the new Triton) mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
With a stainless-steel (“for the life of the engine”) timing chain, accessible lower-down torque and a more refined on-road operation, we found the 2.4-litre diesel to be an impressive unit. With eight-speeds to work with in the new transmission, it will greatly improve the driveability and fuel consumption of the new Challenger.
It also gets a revised suspension set-up, upgraded sound insulation and handling and stability improvements.
Among a suite of safety features announced with the new car are Blind Sport Warning (BSW), Forward Collision Mitigation braking (FCM), Multi-around Monitor (giving a bird’s eye image of the vehicle), electronic parking brake, seven SRS airbags and a kind of crash-avoidance technology, called Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS), which overrides accelerator pressure if an obstacle is detected.
For off-road performance, the new Challenger comes with Mitsubishi’s supremely capable Super Select II four-wheel drive system with a new selectable ‘Off-road Mode’ terrain selection system – the latter, a first for Mitsubishi.
And, for those who really like to test their mettle in the outdoors, hill descent control is also featured on the new Challenger, as well as an increased wading depth.
“The 2016 Challenger represents a new-generation of SUV with luxury, high-tech safety features and superior comfort while still delivering class-leading 4WD capabilities and great on-road performance,” MMA Director of Marketing Tony Principe said.
The new Challenger goes on sale in Thailand soon, and will be launched across ASEAN, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Russia in the coming months.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia is keeping ‘mum’ at the moment on a specific Australian launch date, and on pricing details, but an announcement is expected very soon.