Home' Horizons : December-January 2011 Contents WHAT'S NEW?
A LOOK AT WHAT'S ON THE WAY TO OUR SHOWROOMS, PLUS A RECENT ARRIVAL.
In the showroom -- Mitsubishi Challenger
There's no hiding the fact
that the new Mitsubishi
Challenger is the opposite
of most mid-sized SUVs. It's a real
offroader with a few creature
comforts in a marketplace where
the competition are more like cars.
The Challenger is like a tough,
agricultural offroader that has put
on its Sunday best for a visit to the
big smoke. But in spite of that
well-cut suit, you just know it'd be
more at home on the range.
The new Challenger was launched
in December 2009, and is based on
the Mitsubishi Triton. It sits in the
Mitsubishi range between the full
sized Pajero four wheel drive and the
smaller Outlander SUV.
The model range is divided into
two specification levels: the base
LS (from $52,512 driveaway) and the
top-spec XLS, which comes with a
black leather interior, GPS,
Bluetooth and reversing sensors.
Even with the extra comforts of
the XLS model we tested ($61,373
driveaway), it was difficult to ignore
the Challenger's workhorse roots.
This can be a good thing, because
these features bring off road abilities
such as good ground clearance, a
robust and reliable engine and
gearbox and good wheel articulation
(how far the suspension moves when
going over large bumps).
Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre
turbo diesel engine, which with the
five-speed auto pumps out 131kW
at 4000rpm and 350Nm of torque
at 2000rpm. The engine of the
five-speed manual version makes
400Nm, which according to
Mitsubishi is due to the more
robust drivetrain of the manual.
Unlike the previous Mitsubishi
Challenger that was sold in
Australia between 1998 and 2006,
the new one doesn't have a petrol
engine option. It's diesel all the way,
which is fine given the Challenger's
One of the best features of the
new Challenger is its "Super Select"
gearbox, which provides the ability
to lock the vehicle's centre
differential. This means that in
particularly challenging off road
situations, power can be delivered
equally to all four wheels to ensure
you keep moving down the track.
However, the Challenger's strong
off road leanings make it a handful
to drive around city streets, with
the offroad tyres taking away some
of the responsiveness of the
steering. Also, the hardworking
diesel can be wearing on the ears,
especially because it needs to be
revved before it gets up and goes.
The safety credentials of the
Challenger include ESC and ABS
with electronic brake force
distribution. It comes standard with
dual front, side and curtain airbags,
all of which contribute to a 4-star
So no, the Challenger isn't as
refined as some of its competitors.
But it is a real four wheel drive and
off the beaten track is where it's
most at home.
Reviewed by Alex Forrest.
Land Rover will release a
facelifted version of its
Freelander 2 in early 2011. The
baby offroader will get a
new 2.2-litre turbo diesel
engine, sharper exterior
looks and a refreshed
interior. The manual diesel
models will get fuel saving
stop/start technology, which
automatically switches the
engine on and off in
stop-start traffic. Land Rover
claims this is the first such
system fitted to an SUV.
Also scheduled for release in
Australia in early 2011 is
Volkswagen's one-tonne ute,
the Amarok, available first as a
twin-cab. There'll be a choice
of two diesel engines -- a
2.0-litre, twin-turbo diesel
producing 120kW and
400Nm, and a smaller diesel
making 90kW and 250Nm.
The Amarok will have front
and side airbags, ABS, ESC and
traction control. It'll also have
an "Offroad Mode", which
adjusts the ESC and traction
control for offroad.
Volvo will add to the
sportswagon segment early
in 2011 with the V60, a
wagon version of the new
S60 sedan. The V60 will
have cutting edge safety
features, such as its
Technology that will apply
the brakes if it senses the
car is about the hit a
pedestrian. The V60's
standard City Safety system
does the same if it senses a
frontal collision is imminent.
Renault is seeking to
emphasise the distinction
between the Megane hatch
and its sedan sibling, the
Fluence, which is set to
arrive in December. But it's
not just a new name, it's an
updated version of Renault's
small sedan, which is about
the same size as the Holden
Cruze. It'll have the usual
design flair Renault is
renowned for, but it'll be
made in Turkey. Just one
2.0-litre, 103kW petrol engine
will be offered.
The new Kia Optima is set
to arrive in Australia in early
2011. It'll be bigger than the
model it supersedes and will
share its platform with the
current Hyundai i45. The
new mid-sized sedan has
been designed to look like a
big coupe, but will have
four doors. Pricing and
engine choices hadn't been
finalised at the time of
writing, but expect a
2.4-litre, 100kw turbo diesel
and possibly a 125kw petrol
PHOTOGRAPHY: IMAGES SUPPLIED BY MANUFACTURERS.
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