The Road Ahead : June July 2014
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 59 USED CAR REVIEW | MOTORING JUN/JUL 2014 THE ROAD AHEAD COMPETITORS MITSUBISHI PAJERO 2000-2007 Covers NM, NP and NS series. 3.5-litre or 3.8-litre V6 petrol, 3.2-litre turbo-diesel, series dependent. Plenty of models, some with seven-seats. NISSAN PATHFINDER 2000-2007 Mid-size 4WD based on Navara Ute. R50 series II with 3.3-litre V6. Later R51 gets seven seats and 4.0-litre V6, or 2.5-litre or 3.0-litre turbo-diesel. TOYOTA PRADO 2000-2007 3.4-litre V6 petrol in 95 series or 4.0-litre V6 in later 120 series. Also four- cylinder petrol and 3.0-litre turbo-diesels. Plenty of models. Third-row seating, too. IS THIS ONE FOR YOU? Buyers looking for a practical, mid-size off-roader at a more budget-friendly price could find Challenger worth consideration. It's honestly rugged and 'old-school', rather than especially refined. Off- road, it's capable and able to deal with harder going, while on-road it's competent enough at most things without excelling anywhere. Owners like its long distance touring ability. A full ladder chassis and 2270kg maximum towing capacity will find favour if towing larger trailers or 'vans is a requirement. Expect the V6 to work a little harder on hills, though. USED CARS REVIEW JOHN EWING mitsubishi challenger 2000-2007 CHALLENGER PLUGGED THE gap between the smaller light-duty Outlander and Mitsubishi's larger all- terrain model, Pajero. Based on Triton Ute, the medium-sized Challenger was designed for serious off-road work, while still being more affordable than the Pajero. First released in 1998, an updated PA series II arrived in September, 2000, and was discontinued in early 2007. Challenger wouldn't re-join company ranks until late 2009. Revised styling, upgraded auto and a new upmarket LS version were part of the series II re-vamp. The most significant improvement was use of coil springs at the rear instead of the original version's leaf springs, making road manners more civilised. Ride, steering and handling all still reflected its commercial vehicle roots, though. The large turning circle could be a challenge in tighter spaces, too. Challenger used the Triton's 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, albeit developing a few extra kilowatts and newton metres than the Triton. Outputs are 136kW and 265Nm. Transmission choices were a five-speed manual or INVECS II four- speed auto. High and low-range transfer case, and a part-time 4WD system with Easy-Select shift-on-the-fly are standard. Amongst the standard model's features are dual front airbags, airconditioning and alloys, but no ABS. Desirable extras on LS include ABS, a rear limited slip differential, and leather trim. A limited edition XS specification was briefly offered, too. Third-row seats weren't offered in any variant. Challenger is tried and true, but given the model's age and possible high kilometres, wear and tear could be an issue. A professional pre-purchase inspection would be wise. Watch for damage from off-road use, or rust in panels or chassis rails from beach use. Check for proper servicing, including scheduled timing belt replacement, oil and coolant changes and regular greasing of all lubrication points. Look for oil leaks around the engine, including seals at the rear of the cylinder heads. Check the 4WD selection mechanism, as they get 'sticky' if rarely used in 4WD. We have heard of a few auto transmissions suffering major failures, so a thorough check of operation is essential. Fitting an extra auto oil cooler is recommended for heavier towing. FUEL FOR THOUGHT Challenger will use between 9.5 litres and 17.0 litres of fuel per 100km, depending on model and driving conditions. PRICE RANGE From $5,300 to $19,600, depending on year and model.