Rising to the challenge
Mitsubishi won’t let the economy get it down, writes NEIL McDONALD
THE rugged Triton ute is morphing into a family wagon that will join the Mitsubishi line-up early next year. The Challenger takes its visual cues from the Thai-built Triton and also shares its underpinnings, including engines.
Mitsubishi Australia president Robert McEniry says the wagon will slide in between the Outlander and Pajero.
‘‘It will be positioned to complement the Pajero in terms of specifications,’’ McEniry says.
Even with the winds of change buffeting the car industry, McEniry believes forging ahead with vehicles such as the Challenger is important, particularly for an importer.
‘‘You can put your head in the sand in these interesting times or you can lift the pace. We think we have some opportunities as we go forward over the next 12 months,’’ he says.
Inside, the Challenger cabin borrows the Triton look. It will be available with either five or sevenseat capability. The rear seats in the five-seater can slide 150mm forwards and backwards.
Called the Pajero Sport in other markets, the Challenger name was discontinued here last March.
At 4695mm, the Challenger is 205mm shorter than the Pajero and 60mm narrower. It has a 2800mm wheelbase, 75mm longer than the previous Challenger, which translates into more interior room.
Mitsubishi Australia is still working through the local business plan and specifications, according to spokeswoman Lenore Fletcher.
‘‘I really can’t tell you about five or seven seats because I don’t know what is going to be available,’’ she says.
However, like other markets it is expected to have a choice of 2.5-litre and 3.2-litre common-rail turbodiesels well as a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine.
It should work out: the Mitsubishi Challenger is based on the workhorse Triton base.