Few cars have gone under as many names as the Mitsubishi Challenger, which has been called Pajero Sport, Montero Sport, Shogun Sport, Pajero Dakar and Nativa in various territories, but regardless which title you’re used to, this is the next-generation version.
Due to be revealed later this year and to go on sale in 2016, the new Challenger follows the same recipe as its two generations of predecessors, taking its old-school separate chassis and some of the body structure, particularly the windscreen and front doors, from the L200/Triton truck and adding an estate-style rear to create a rugged seven-seat SUV.
With a new Triton on sale now, it was only going to be a matter of time before the Challenger was replaced, but these patent renderings are the first glimpse of it’s final design.
As on previous Challengers, the nose gets its own unique styling, with new front wings, bonnet and grille. These feature the latest iteration of the Mitsubishi corporate "face" as seen on the recently-released 2016 Outlander. In fact, it’s virtually identical to the front end of the 2013 Mitsubishi GR-HEV concept truck.
While the new car’s styling is notably sleeker than the current model, which has been on sale since 2008, the separate ladder chassis and live rear axle means it’s an SUV of the more traditional, utilitarian style than many of its rivals. Useful looking details include a tailgate that extends right down into the back bumper for a low loading lip, while side-steps, usually optional, are integrated into the design. Despite the off-road looks, previous versions have been available with rear wheel drive only as well as in 4WD form, and that’s likely to continue, at least in some markets.
Initially, the Challenger is expected to be powered by the same 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel as the latest Triton, with 133kW (178 bhp) and 430Nm of torque (317 lb-ft), allied to a six-speed manual or five-speed auto transmission. Further ahead, a plug-in hybrid could also be on the cards.
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