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  • Challenger has the most cargo space

    I am thinking of replacing my trusty 1993 Pajero, and thought others may be interested in my findings re the cargo space in the currrent Pajero, Prado, Pathfinder and Challenger. I don't need the 3rd row of seats, so everything written here is with respect to either removing or folding down the third row of seats.

    I hadn't even heard of the Challenger until a few weeks ago. I had looked in great detail at the current Prado and Pajero, and was generally unimpressed with the size of the cargo area, which sadly has shrunk relative to the much older models. I was about to leave the Mitsubishi dealer, when the salesman said, 'Have you looked at the Challenger?'

    Never heard of it, but guessed it was some sort of silly softroader thingy, but became intrigued when I saw the Hi/Lo gear lever, ladder chassis, proper 70% profile tyres and live rear axle. I swung up the tailgate, and thought wow, this thing looks to have a much bigger cargo are than the Pajero or Prado.

    I carry a tape measure and notebook everywhere I go (don't you?), and had already meticulously written down the cargo area dimensions for the other vehicles, so set about methodically measuring up the Challenger.

    My eyes did not deceive. The Challenger beats them all for cargo space. Details :-

    CARGO LENGTH WITH REAR SEATS UP
    (ie, distance from tailgate to back of rear seats)
    Grand Vitara: 730mm
    Freelander: 900mm
    Prado: 990mm
    Pajero: 1020mm
    Pathfinder: 1140
    Challenger: 1200


    CARGO LENGTH WITH REAR SEATS FOLDED
    Grand Vitara: 1240mm
    Freelander: 1700mm
    Prado: 1900mm (but not very useable, see text)
    Pajero: 1500mm
    Pathfinder: 2000mm
    Challenger: 1700mm


    CARGO HEIGHT (Cargo floor to roof)
    Freelander: 900/830 mm
    Prado: 900/800mm
    Pajero: 1110/1110mm
    Pathfinder: 920/890mm
    Challenger: 1000/1070mm


    The Grand Vitara is just plain small, with or without seats folded, which is fine if you want an economical, smaller class of vehicle, but too small for my needs.

    The Freelander is also a smaller vehicle, but makes good use of the cargo space that it has. The rear seat folds in an intelligent way, giving an impressive 1700mm of cargo length with the front seats slid forward, with an essentially flat floor. However, the useable cargo height is quite limited, only 900mm in the rear boot area, and an even lesser 830mm at the front of the cargo area, when the rear seats are folded. Exceptional (diesel) fuel economy of 7.0 l/100km (ADR Combined Cycle) was seductive, but lack of dual range, and poor reliability record brought me to my senses, and the freelander was rejected.

    The Prado is just an all round poor performer for cargo space, given the weight and exterior dimensions of the vehicle. With the rear seats up, the cargo volume is tiny, just 990mm long, and only 900mm from the cargo floor to the roof. Things only get worse when attempting to fold the rear seat, which must surely rate as the dumbest and most primitive folding arrangement I have ever seen. The only folding option available is for the vertical part of the seat to fold forward, such that it ends up sort-of horizontal on top of the lower part of the seat. Arguably, this does not really increase the cargo area at all, for the folded rear seat sticks up way above the rear cargo area, only 800mm from the roof, and creating a huge step in the cargo floor. It is a total mess, so this vehicle was crossed of my list early as a consequence. HOWEVER, only Toyota has that fantastic long range fuel tank, which of course, is largely why the interior cargo area is so poor. It is no coincidence that the Toyota website and brochures do not quote cargo space.

    Next is the Pajero, certainly superior to the Prado for cargo space, and with a respectably high cargo height of 1110mm to boot. However, with the rear seats folded, the cargo length only increases to a modest 1500mm, not long enough to sleep in, and not long enough to carry a mountain bike without turning or removing the front wheel. If the Prado cargo space was underwhelming, I rate the Pajero as fair. I was not impressed by the ill thought out centre-mounted spare wheel, which would probably need to be relocated to one side or it would get in the way when towing.

    The Pathfinder is a mixed bag for cargo space. The cargo area length easily beats the Pajero, both with the rear seats up or down. The folding arrangement for the rear seats is easily the smartest, most flexible of all these vehicles, resulting in a beautifully flat cargo area up to 2000mm long with the rear seats folded and the front seats slid forward, more than enough to sleep in, or to accommodate a mountain bike. However, this advantage is offset somewhat by a cargo height of only 900mm, resulting largely from the decision to stow the spare wheel under the vehicle, rather than on the rear tailgate door. I liked the pathfinder, at least until I later found the Challenger, though was concerned about reliability, for example, the manual model has known clutch problems, and the plastic door handles are known to break. Offroad performance is compromised by limited wheel articulation at the independently sprung rear end, but still a very capable off road vehicle.

    Finally we come to the Challenger. With the rear seats up, which is how the vehicle will be used by most people for most of the time, the rear cargo area is cavernous, with a superior length of 1200mm, and a respectable height of 1000mm. Folding the rear seats extends this to an impressive 1700mm of cargo length, with a height of 1070mm at the front of the cargo area previously occupied by the rear seat. The length and volume of the Challenger cargo area, with rear seats up or down, beats every other vehicle in this class. This is a remarkable achievement, given that the spare wheel is under the vehicle, and the overall length of the Challenger is around 200mm less than the Pajero, Prado and Pathfinder.

    It might be suspected that the larger cargo space is achieved with reduced passenger legroom, but not so. The Pajero quotes front and rear legroom as 895mm and 820mm, while the Challenger is, if anything, very slightly better at 915mm and 840mm.

    Clever design can achieve only so much. With more internal space from a shorter vehicle, something had to give, and that something is the size of the Challenger fuel tank, at a less-than-ideal 70 liters. If only Mitsubishi had placed the Challenger spare wheel on the rear door like everyone else, they could have slotted a second 70 liter long-range tank under the rear of the vehicle .....

    On balance, I can put up with the smallish fuel tank, but the superior cargo length and volume will be extremely useful. Off-road performance is good, fuel consumption (at least in manual form) is good, towing capacity is good, and mechanical reliablity appears to be good, so I have decided to buy the Challenger.
    Last edited by fuelconsumption; 23-02-12, 10:10 AM.
    Vehicles: Challenger, MY2012, Manual base model, ECB Bbar, HR Towbar, Skinz, 8.0 l/100km. Railcar, 200cc 4-stroke industrial engine, 2.5l/100k. Mountain bike#1, 32cc 4-stroke, CVT transmission, full suspension, 1.5l/100km. Mountain bike#2, biological engine, 0.0 l/100km

  • #2
    So when do you get it, colour, model, auto etc

    cheers--ps We are haooy with ours.
    NW GLX-R Pajero auto in Champagne; not anymore, it's gone to a new home. Now piloting a Y62 Patrol petrol v8 in pearl white.

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    • #3
      We are waiting for ours to arrive, expected to take delivery in two weeks. Price, off road ability, cargo space and payload one us over competitors.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by PBding View Post
        So when do you get it, colour, model, auto etc

        cheers--ps We are haooy with ours.
        Hi, I note you are also in Canberra.

        I haven't ordered it yet, but am told it will take 2 to 3 months, because none of what I want are in the country.

        I will get the base model, manual, white, with the diff lock option. Personally I don't need all the luxury gizmos, and I prefer the 16" 70% profile tyres that come with the base model, cheaper to replace, and generally more rugged.
        Vehicles: Challenger, MY2012, Manual base model, ECB Bbar, HR Towbar, Skinz, 8.0 l/100km. Railcar, 200cc 4-stroke industrial engine, 2.5l/100k. Mountain bike#1, 32cc 4-stroke, CVT transmission, full suspension, 1.5l/100km. Mountain bike#2, biological engine, 0.0 l/100km

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        • #5
          Good report! And welcome.
          PB Challenger LS Auto 5 seat (White) / Bridgestone D694 AT's / Window Tint / Hayman Reece Towbar / Prodigy brake controller / Factory cargo barrier / DIY False floor / ARB Deluxe Bar / Rear view camera / UHF radio / roof mounted DVD 11 inch screen / Bushskinz protection plates complete set / Extra set of wheels Dueller H/T / OME front springs 0-50kg / OME back springs 0-50kg

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          • #6
            Great write up and welcome! it was interesting to read that you had never heard of the new Challenger, I guess it goes to show that Mitsu are selling more than enough of them without the need to advertise! Awesome!
            Mick: MY15 NX GLX Manual DID, SprintBooster, EGR blank, Redarc remote EBC on factory loom, GME UHF, TJM Snorkel.

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            • #7
              Fuelconsumption,
              I too purchased the Challenger for the boot space, having a RextonII before. (yes I know but it was nice to drive though expensive to maintain) I could not justify the price of a Prado or Pajero and when I spoke in detail with an owner of a Challenger I found that they were more than capable of going/ doing anything the other 2 could, yes they have a smaller fuel tank but these days there are many ways around that. I don't believe that you will regret buying a Challenger, I don't.......Love that car
              Charcoal 30th ann Man Challenger, ARB Bar, Lightforce 170 spotties, 80ltr Waeco, Pirahna dual battery tray, 100ah aux batt, Tigers11 Ali roof rack, Ridge Rider awning, TJM bash plates, Boab fridge & draw unit, custom cargo barrier, GME UHF....still to come, OME suspension & more

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              • #8
                I am biased but love that car..... and I love going camping with my mate and his family. He has a patrol and every time he asks how did you get all that stuff in there and still room for the family.

                [edit] Oh and great write up as well..

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                • #9
                  When I saw the pics that someone (not sure who) posted recently, I thought to myself that the load-area of the Challenger looked positively cavernous!
                  One point that came to mind was the question that was there much variation in width of load-area, & whether the wheel arches intruded more or less with each vehicle examined?

                  Steve
                  Steve

                  Runner-Paj; '95 NJ SWB 2.5L TD GL J-Top, low kms Project-Paj; '92 NH SWB 3.0L V6 GLS Hardtop Triple-pack, also low kms. Donor Paj; '92 NH SWB 3.0L V6 GLS Hardtop Triple-pack, with some parts & goodies to go onto other GLS.
                  "I try to take life one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me all at once!"

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                  • #10
                    Challenger is probably skinnier than most, but it's deeper and taller than most. I pull the wheels off my mountain bike and throw it in the back of my car, and it actually fits better into the back of my Mirage than it does in the Challenger.

                    Was walking through a carpark today, past a Pajero, and was looking in the rear to compare cargo areas, and you guessed it, there was the Pajero owner walking up to his car, watching me looking into the rear of his car
                    PB Challenger 2011, white base model, manual, diff lock, HR tow bar, Bushskinz bash plates.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Stevie-Ray View Post
                      When I saw the pics that someone (not sure who) posted recently, I thought to myself that the load-area of the Challenger looked positively cavernous!
                      One point that came to mind was the question that was there much variation in width of load-area, & whether the wheel arches intruded more or less with each vehicle examined?

                      Steve
                      The Challenger is narrower between the wheel arches, 1000mm vs 1100 for the Pajero and Prado, and 1130 for the Pathfinder, though the width forward or rear of the wheel arch is the same for Challenger and Pajero at 1260mm. This is all consistent with the narrower (wheel) track of the Challenger, at 1520mm vs 1570mm for Pajero.

                      In terms of raw overall volume, the Pajero and Challenger are similar, depending on your need for the 3rd row of seats. The raw cargo volume of the 5-seat Challenger with rear seats folded is 1813 liters, while the Pajero is slightly less at 1775 liters with rear and 3rd row seats folded. The reasonable Pajero cargo volume is achieved through height, while the Challenger achieves its volume through cargo length and area, though height is only slightly less. In reality, most people won't load the cargo area above the height of the rear seats, so the additional Pajero load height is wasted in most situations, resulting in the Challenger having comparatively more useable cargo volume than the raw numbers would suggest. The Prado is not even close on useable length, height or volume.

                      It is even possible that Toyota have deliberatly neutered the Prado cargo space to encourage sales of the Land Cruiser. When I queried the Toyota salesman about lack of cargo space in the Prado, I was told that if I needed serious cargo space, I should look at the Land Cruiser .... I told him that what I really needed was a better designed vehicle.

                      BTW, thank to all for your appreciative comments.
                      Vehicles: Challenger, MY2012, Manual base model, ECB Bbar, HR Towbar, Skinz, 8.0 l/100km. Railcar, 200cc 4-stroke industrial engine, 2.5l/100k. Mountain bike#1, 32cc 4-stroke, CVT transmission, full suspension, 1.5l/100km. Mountain bike#2, biological engine, 0.0 l/100km

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                      • #12
                        Two things sold us on the Challenger when we got ours 6 months ago. The volume of cargo space in the rear and the comfort of the seating. Even the rear seats and rear leg room is excellent.
                        We looked at all the major players including the Jeep. None came near the Challenger. Even now with a set of drawers in the rear there is still bucket loads of space.
                        I trust you get the same pleasure out of yours as we have out of ours. our next outing is to Emerald and Gembrook mid-March.
                        Missing Bitz, Victoria, Sept 11, Manual

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                        • #13
                          It is huge, I have only needed to put the rear seats down once so far. When I move the child seat from my wife's car into min I have to climb in the back to grab the straps!

                          Haven't even used the towbar yet. I bet many a Triton owner would be better off with a Challenger and their stuff would be a lot safer.
                          MY12 PB Challenger LS Manual in Ironbark. Cooper AT3's, HR Towbar, Tints

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for this report on size. We take possession of our new Challenger tomorrow (XLS auto, stock standard) and were considering going for the Pajero on the assumption that it would have a larger cargo area. Also considered the Pathfinder based on cargo area. Cheers.
                            2011 XLS auto, 5 seat, white. Stock standard besides a 'protection pack' including tint, rust, paint, and interior protection.

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                            • #15
                              Consider those child seat attachments!

                              Thought I'd jump on this one as we have a new PC Challenger. Agree with all points in the original post but an additional consideration I had was child seat attachments.

                              What the hell were MMA thinking when they put the Pajero child seat points half way between the seat and the rear door on the floor? I'll have booster seats in my Challenger almost permanently so the cargo space must consider those straps.

                              If I had bought a Paj, I wouldn't even be able to fit my fridge in the back... Hmm, fridge or kids... unfortunately there wasn't such a choice.

                              So Challenger it was.. More happy with the car the more I drive it. The roof mounted points are not as good as on the seatbacks like in my Mazda 3, but they form an effective barrier to any large items coming over the headrests. and the lost space is not actually lost as the kid's pillows and soft toys sit up above the straps for easy access.

                              Anyway, my 2c.
                              MY14 PC Challenger; ARB Plates, GME 4500 UHF, Direction Plus prefilter kit, Smartbar, Airbags, Safari Snorkel, 12V aux system, HR Towbar, All Terrains on Steel, Brown Davis 107L LR Tank, Ultimate 40mm Lift, Rear Drawers.

                              Towing a Bartell Trailers custom 7' camper, Drifta DPOR kitchen, Beehive 10' tent. Australian made and modified all the way.

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