Prac­ti­cal and pretty in blue

This handy wagon is de­signed for com­mut­ing and gen­eral hack work, at which it ex­cels, PETER BARN­WELL writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

SMALL SUVs are rock­ing out of car deal­ers’ doors, with ev­ery man­u­fac­turer worth their salt get­ting in on the act.

Mit­subishi was there years ago with the ASX city size that has now mor­phed into a Citroen Air­cross and a Peu­geot 4008.

Mit­subishi has upped the ante on its donor ve­hi­cle with a re­vised ASX. The en­try point is now at $24,990 for the LS fron­twheel-drive man­ual model — add two grand for the CVT.

This base-model 2WD (FWD) ve­hi­cle is an im­pres­sive of­fer­ing, with plenty of kit and with the op­tional, six-step CVT trans­mis­sion, bet­ter ac­cel­er­a­tion and fuel econ­omy, now rated at 7.4-litres/100km us­ing reg­u­lar un­leaded.

We drove the five-speed man­ual, which feels like it could do with an­other cog.

Our drive car was in Mit­subishi’s new bright blue — a strik­ing colour for the re­vised ASX, now with more chrome, ex­ter­nal-body hard­ware, dif­fer­ent grille and lights, and more shiny stuff in­side.

Mit­subishi fit­ted larger, 17inch al­loys, roof rails and an emer­gency stop light into the bar­gain, join­ing quite a sat­is­fac­tory ar­ray of stan­dard kit for the money.

Power comes from Mit­subishi’s tried-and-true 2.0litre petrol, four-cylin­der en­gine, with MIVEC vari­able valve tim­ing to op­ti­mise per­for­mance. It’s the same en­gine as in the Mit­subishi Lancer and has been around for ages.

Out­puts are 110kW/197Nm. which is ac­cept­able — want more and it will have to be the diesel 4WD at a lot more money.

But you re­ally don’t need it be­cause the car we drove had good over­all per­for­mance and uses rel­a­tively lit­tle fuel.

If you’re in the CVT, se­lect Sports mode, use the se­quen­tial shift and it’s even bet­ter. But the ASX is not about sporty driv­ing — it’s a prac­ti­cal wagon de­signed for com­mut­ing and gen­eral hack work, at which it ex­cels.

Es­sen­tially, this type of ve­hi­cle is the new small fam­ily wagon — a ve­hi­cle that has a mul­ti­tude of uses and can func­tion as a van, peo­ple mover, or util­ity ve­hi­cle, and can even cruise on the free­way with ease and good fuel econ­omy.

The fact that it isn’t all-wheel drive is im­ma­te­rial in the big pic­ture be­cause 99.9 per cent of the time, you won’t need it.

The ride is com­fort­able and the drive feel is bet­ter than ex­pected.

In­side is quite pleas­ant, with a sim­ple dash lay­out and com­fort­able seats. But the Blue­tooth sync­ing sys­tem is a pain. It’s just too hard to hook up the phone and con­tinue to re­con­nect all the time.

Though dated, the in­te­rior still stands up well against the com­pe­ti­tion — to look at and to use. Mostly. The ASX LS 2WD tips the scales at 1355kg, which means it has a rea­son­able tow­ing ca­pac­ity.

It rates five stars from ANCAP, with all that it brings.

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