Mitsubishi Challenger or keep my Suzuki Vitara?

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 15:35
ThreadID: 75377 Views:8418 Replies:8 FollowUps:4
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Hi all,
Would love some advice on a vehicle decision.
I currently have a 1996 Vitara 2Litre V6 wagon, that has done around 280k. It is running well (using little oil) and have replaced shockers n tyres recently and have installed a set of polyair springs. It is not overly powerful, but gets me to work economically, and into the rough stuff with ease.
Questioin is - I am going to buy a camper trailer (weighs about 400kg), which I propose to pull with my Suzy. I was wondering if it would handle the towing or if I should look at something bigger. I don't want to get anything too big, so was wondering what people thought of the Mitsi Challenger? It's a 3L V6, but don't know what it is like economy wise when towing. I also have another option of replacing my current engine with the 2.5L version (Engine has done low K's 40,000) for about $3500.
My wife and I are the only ones that travel, so room is not a big issue. Questioni is, when I fill the trailer with our stuff (water, gas etc) will I be pulling more than my little Suzy should handle?
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Reply By: flashcher - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 15:49

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 15:49
Hi Smokey,
In regards to fuel economy towing with a Challenger, we tow our Jayco Flamingo with 2001 Challenger no problems and averaged around 13l/100kms. It was always a comfortable ride and never a struggle for the vehicle. If you are in the market I currently have mine up for sale in the trader section. The only reason I am selling is due to buying a 2010 model.
AnswerID: 400466

Reply By: Spencie - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 15:53

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 15:53
Hey SmokeyD,

I own a Mitsubishi Challenger, I have had this now 4 years, and I cant say anything bad about it. Its been the best 4wd Ive had so far. I have been on some serious 4wd tracks and the Challenger has never missed a beat, not once. I tow a camper trailer comfortably, and the fuel economy only increases slightly. I do more off road than on, so there is the difference.
On average, I get 420kms out of a tank. (no trailer) I have put a lift kit on and two drawers and fridge slide, larger 4wd tyres, this adds approx (60kgs more) which is far more comfortable that just jamming stuff in the rear, I get approx 380kms out of the tank now. this is around town, On long trips you can add around 40kms which should get you 420kms per tank
Having read your question, I would not hesitate to buy a Challenger, I dont think the Vitar will be enough for your needs, let alone have the room, to carry your personal items in. You will be jammed in, room will become an issue in the Vitara!. I bought mine with 150,000kms and had never been offroad for under $15K. But the bigger battery, this helps.
Let me know if I can help any further.

AnswerID: 400467

Reply By: you eat the bear - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 18:04

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 18:04
Its interesting that the two replies so far are from Challenger owners.

Arguably the Vitara is a more capable off road vehicle than the Challenger (power to weight and suspension) but will it tow?

I would suggest that your 400 KG trailer with 40 liters of fuel and 40 liters of water (say 80 kgs so far), gas bottle and assorted camping gear will end up at about 600 KG.
That's actually not a lot of weight to be honest. Most CT's are around that BEFORE you pack your stuff in them.

So I would further suggest that you get the CT and load it up 1st and THEN decide.

By the way (in my opinion) that old Mitsubishi 3 litre V6 isn't anything to get too excited about.
AnswerID: 400478

Follow Up By: Blaze (Berri) - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 21:05

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 21:05
I am glad you said arguably the Vitara is more capable off road than a Challenger!! Would love to see a Vitara follow my Challenger off road, even with the same driver capabilities, the ramp over and clearance the Mitsi has would leave the Vitara hung up high and dry, add to that a Camper behind it and it only doubles the problem.

I do agree that no camper will be only 400kg, once loaded and ready to roll.

If you look through the places my Mitsi has been and left even Yotas and neesans behind, IMHO I think he would be making a good choice grabbing a Challenger.

FollowupID: 669669

Follow Up By: Madfisher - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 21:07

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 21:07
The old 12 valve 3lt was nothering to get excited about , but the challenger had the much smoother 24 valve(140kw) motor and in the light body went very well. not as powerfull as my Jack but very pleasant to drive. They are also one of the more econimical v6s as well geting down to 11s with gentle cruising.
Cheers Pete
FollowupID: 669672

Reply By: kend88 - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 18:18

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 18:18
Another vote for the Challenger. My 2004 V6 Auto tows our 18ft. (1700 kg loaded) poptop caravan quite well. Towing capacity 2250, ball weight limit 225kg. Very well geared for towing. We averaged 16L/100Km towing the van on a 16,000km trip. Touch wood it has been faultless so far. Haven't used it much for 4wd'ing but from all accounts they are very capable.

AnswerID: 400481

Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 20:04

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 20:04
Have a look under each vehicle.

With some of the small 4WDs suspension components are made out of steel not much thicker than coat hanger wire.

The Mitsubishi drive train is bullet proof. The old 3 L donk is no road burner but will be having a much easier time than the 2 L Suzi.

Both are great cars but for entirely different purposes. I'd sell the Suzi to someone who will use it for its intended purpose.
AnswerID: 400494

Follow Up By: Blaze (Berri) - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 21:08

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 21:08
Totally agree KAOS,

Especially with his Suzi starting to use some of the slippery stuff. The old 3ltr is basically a bullet proof unit as can be seen with the bottom ends being used for speedway.

FollowupID: 669673

Reply By: GHThommo - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 20:25

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 20:25
Hey Smokey,

We have a 2005 V6 automatic 2.7 L Vitara towing a Cub tare 580 kg about 800kg loaded with electric brakes and have absolutely no problems. Fuel consumption obviously varies depending on conditions and speed. Tank is 65L get between 450 and 600 Kms. SWMBO often panics when the petrol low alert light comes on but still have at least 10 L left and have never run out.

Just back from 3 months on the big island and the Vitara gave us no problems towing the camper.

Vitaras are great little 4WDs.

AnswerID: 400499

Reply By: Chris & Sue (Briz Vegas) - Friday, Jan 22, 2010 at 09:22

Friday, Jan 22, 2010 at 09:22
Hi Smokey,

We had a Challenger for 4 years in the Middle East (called a Nativa there) and it never put a foot wrong. It would sit very comfortably at 120 on the freeways but had no problems getting us up some pretty extreme tracks in the mountains and into the desert.

I only managed to get bogged once,and that's only because I listened to SWMBO who said she wanted to camp "over there" where she could see the sea with the tailgate open. Hmmm.

We used to sleep in the back on camping trips as it had more flat space than our old (92) Pajero wagon (I don't like sharing my bed with scorpions or camel spiders).

Sorry I can't help with towing, but I suspect a camper trailer wouldn't cause any problems. However, 400kgs does seem a bit optimistic. :-)

AnswerID: 400562

Reply By: Member - Timbo - Friday, Jan 22, 2010 at 13:26

Friday, Jan 22, 2010 at 13:26
I'd agree with the bear eater (above) - if you're getting the camper trailer anyway, waint until you've tried it behind the Zuke and you'll know whether it is coping acceptably.

It may also be worth considering how often you'll actually be towing the camper - if only for a two-week holiday once a year, it seems a bit excessive to upgrade the car only for the once-a-year towing if the Zuke will manage it. But we all know it's nice to get into a newer car too!
AnswerID: 400600

Follow Up By: Member - mazcan - Friday, Jan 22, 2010 at 13:57

Friday, Jan 22, 2010 at 13:57
hi smokey d
id be cautious about putting a load behind an old tired motor 280km's extra strain can quickly kill an old motor bit like expecting an old man to push a loaded wheel barrow up a ramp like he could when he was young???

and like others have said 400kg load is a bit optimistic it will be a lot higher you will find in reallity

imho if your happy with the rest of the vehicle i would take the 2.5ltr upgrade option that way you'll have the newer engine only 40,000km's and more power for not much extra outlay
FollowupID: 669785

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