Short sell the ASX

Mit­subishi’s new com­pact cross­over looks good but lags be­hind the com­pe­ti­tion, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

THERE al­ways seems to be room for one more in the com­pact SUV class. Ev­ery time the fam­ily fight seems full, some­thing new comes along and this week we have the Mit­subishi ASX. It’s a com­pact cross­over from a com­pany that made its name in SUVs with the Pa­jero, as well as in pas­sen­ger cars with the Lancer Evo.

So it’s some­thing be­tween, with the front-end styling of an Evo and the prac­ti­cal­ity of a Pa­jero. Or is it? The ASX — a silly name which stands for Ac­tive Smart Cross­over, what­ever that is — drops into the Mit­subishi line-up as a fam­ily car for young sin­gles and small fam­i­lies.

It’s in­tended to do the job for peo­ple who like the look of an SUV, but don’t need an off-road bat­tle­ship or a seven-seater cabin. ASX con­fig­u­ra­tions range from a petrol-pow­ered front-drive price leader to a diesel-en­gined four-wheel drive.

Priced from $25,990 to $36,990, Mit­subishi says the ASX is their first diesel pas­sen­ger car.

‘‘The all-new ASX will pro­vide a log­i­cal bridge be­tween our pop­u­lar Lancer and Out­lander line­ups,’’ Masahiko Takahashi, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Mit­subishi Mo­tors Aus­tralia, says.

‘‘Sig­nif­i­cantly, the ASX will en­able us to com­pete in the new, fast-grow­ing two-wheel-drive com­pact SUV mar­ket seg­ment, and al­low us to at­tract new cus­tomers to the Mit­subishi brand.’’

Value

THE ASX is smartly priced at the bot­tom end, as its $25,990 start­ing sticker sits well against fron­twheel drive ri­vals such as the Nis­san Dualis (from $24,990), Kia Sportage ($25,990) and un­der the RAV4 ($28,990).

It’s a good-look­ing car and well equipped at all lev­els, as you ex­pect in a Mit­subishi. Sales are likely to be sharply split be­tween the front-drive base car and the diesel mod­els, es­pe­cially the CVT au­to­matic suited to more long-dis­tance work.

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