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On-site in Warilla (NSW) (copyright image)

Two of a kind at the Hawkesbury River rest area (NSW), when two travelling Challengers met by chance. In fact, we 'ran' into three Mitsubishi Challenger driving caravanners during this trip. Each indicated their satisfaction with their vehicle, although each of the others were 4x4s whereas we were in the new rear-wheel drive variant.

Mitsubishi Challenger (RWD) tow test

by Ken Walker

20th April, 2012

Home > Road Tests > Mitsubishi

Related story:
Mitsubishi Challenger gains 2WD for MY12
27th October, 2011

The team at Next Car are always up to a challenge and this is to be a little different in that we take a rear-wheel drive Mitsubishi Challenger for a tow test utilising the author's own caravan to try out this latest version in Mitsubishi’s fleet of ‘soft roaders’.

Setting-up for the tow was relatively easy as the vehicle had been fitted with an electric brake controller. All we had to do was fit add-on mirrors over the standard exterior mirrors. Backing-up to the caravan was easy as our test vehicle was fitted with a reversing camera. Dead set easy task to undertake when have a picture in the interior rear view mirror!

With the caravan attached with safety chains and power plug inserted the lights were checked before moving, a very worthwhile exercise as it is not of much use leaving home unless your brake or indicators lights are operating as intended. It is also worthwhile to move the van somewhat to check that the electric brakes are OK. You do not want to smoke up your tyres out on the road when applying the brakes!

With the van packed and everything stowed away, we are ready to hit the road. We're heading south from Lake Macquarie to the Illawarra/Shellharbour area south of Wollongong (New South Wales).

The caravan on this trip is a 19’ twin axle unit, weighing in at 1,900 kg dry. However, 200 litres of water, 60 litres of diesel fuel in jerry cans plus food and clothing for two puts another 400 kg or so to the dry weight. Oh, plus the 32 kg generator just in case of a flat battery. We are now looking at a total weigh in the order of 2,400 kg. But this shouldn’t be a problem for the rear-wheel drive Mitsubishi Challenger which is rated to tow 3,000 kg leaving us a lot of room for the things you gather on a trip. A holiday? Oh ya gotta love this job.

Travelling south from Lake Macquarie, which is evident from the directional indicator on the dash info centre as is outside temperature, we made our way to a caravanners favourite stop-over, the Hawkesbury River rest area on the western side of the F3 Freeway where we almost rested overnight. We found ourselves listening to the awful din that was constantly made by truck drivers activating their exhaust brakes. I am sure that this is a payback for us caravanners being on ‘THEIR’ road!

At this point, we should discuss more of the Mitsubishi Challenger. It's a 5 seater with a cavernous rear cargo area with even more if the rear seats are tumbled forward. The wagon body is common to the rear wheel (2WD) and 4 wheel drive versions as is the 2.5 litre 4 cylinder common rail injection turbo diesel power plant. Power produced is 131 Kw and in our 5-speed auto version 350 Nm of torque which is about average in this class of vehicle. For motorists who prefer to shift and pick the gears for themselves a 5 speed manual box is also available. For towing a caravan, the auto is my preference. The test car was fitted with the optional "Convenience Pack" ($3,640*) which is only available with automatic transmission. This pack, as well as the reversing camera mentioned earlier, includes 17" Alloy wheels (5), leather bound steering wheel with audio & cruise controls, leather bound handbrake & gearshift lever, auto lights & windscreen wipers, body coloured door mirrors with integrated turn signals, fog lamps, roof rails, climate control aircon, USB & Bluetooth phone connectivity, side & curtain airbags, privacy glass at the rear and a chrome radiator grille.

Continuing our southward direction along the F3 Freeway, eventually onto Pennant Hills Road in suburban Sydney then turning onto the M2 Motorway merging into the M7 for the rest of our trip through Sydney suburbia with the Mitsubishi Challenger keeping up with the lawful speeds when traffic conditions permitted the reaching of the 80 km/h limit. On leaving the M7 near the Ingleburn exit the Hume Highway speed limit increased to 110 km/h. However, we sat the cruise control at 90 km/h and relegated ourselves to the kerbside lane. It was here that we noticed what we consider to be the only flaw in this vehicle. By the way, Mitsubishi Motors have rated the Challenger to tow 3,000 kg in each of the versions. This model has a GVM of just 2,610 kg, but the combined package was not fully 'loaded'. Remember, the total caravan weight was about 2,400 kg or so. The package was handling the weight OK; however add a scenario of a fully loaded B-Double Semi overtaking the Challenger and Caravan at 100 km/h and the suction is almost enough to change lanes for you. This is not good, but a fully loaded towing vehicle should overcome this problem.

The helpful ladies at the Shellharbour Tourist Information Centre were able to get us a site in a caravan park at Warilla, just a few clicks back up the road. This a great part of the NSW coast and there is seemingly something for everybody here. Fishing, shopping or just out enjoying the alfresco dining and coffee shops is all part of the local scene. Nearby is the Killea State Park (no dogs allowed) which has some nice picnic areas and facilities. Further south by about 40 minutes is Kiama with its lighthouse and famous ‘Blowhole’ with a very quaint village atmosphere for souvenirs and more coffee shops than you can poke a stick at. Another 40 minutes south is Nowra and a very good Navy Museum at the Fleet Air Arm Naval Station ‘Albatross’. Yes, there is a lot to see and do in this area.

Fuel consumption was not checked by the Next Car Team on this trip.

Overall the team enjoyed our time with the Mitsubishi Challenger 5-Seat diesel automatic wagon, it has a lot going for it. Although we suspect the tow capacity is a little optimistic, the package coped well with 2,400 kg behind it. The engine was noisy under load but not stressed. The unit was quite pleasant to drive and very agile without the caravan dragging along behind it.

The Mitsubishi Challenger 2WD diesel automatic wagon is priced from $39,490* (without options).

The Challenger is worthy of consideration by any one wanting a tow vehicle of a slightly smaller caravan of say, 1,800 kg.

NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications.

More Mitsubishi News ..... here.
Recreational Vehicle News ..... here.

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