GLX 4x2 MT (non-vgt) / GLX 4x2 AT (non-vgt) /
GLS-V 4x2 AT / GLS-V 4x4 MT / GTV 4x4 AT /
Production began in Japan in 1996, and was available for most export markets by 1997, where it was variously known as the Challenger, Pajero Sport in Europe, Montero Sport in North America, South America and the Philippines, Nativa in parts of Central America and the Middle East, Shogun Sport in the United Kingdom, and G-Wagon in Thailand. The first generation Challenger was built on the second generation Pajero wheelbase. Like the Pajero, it featured independent front suspension with torsion bars and a live rear axle. In addition to numerous face lifts over the years, there was a major suspension change from rear leaf to coil springs in late 2000. As its popularity increased, local assembly for foreign markets was introduced in China in 2003, and Brazil in 2006. Sales were discontinued in Japan in 2003, in North America in 2004 (where it was superseded by the Endeavor), and central and western Europe in 2008. In Japan, it was sold at a specific retail chain called Car Plaza.