Mitsu’s little SUV now has the capability to go with its cuteness
A bigger diesel and an automatic to drive it do wonders for Mitsubishi’s ASX compact SUV
WITH an auto transmission to drive its turbo diesel engine, Mitsubishi’s ASX is suddenly a very different proposition.
The familiar compact SUV is not new, but this configuration is. Previously there’s been a diesel but only with a manual transmission, which made it a bit token.
The new version, however, makes a fairly indifferent driver an altogether more capable and potent performer.
The turbodiesel automatic drivetrain starts from $31,990 in front-wheel-drive guise. The premium Aspire variant is $36,490, some $1500 above the existing petrol auto.
Standard kit includes 16-inch alloys, climate control with rear vents, cruise control, a bit of leather trim, 60/40-split fold and reclining rear seat.
Upping the order to the Aspire gets you 17s, front fog lights, rear windows, leather seat trim, keyless entry and start, auto wipers and lights, power driver’s seat, front seat heaters and a glass roof with LED ambient lighting strip.
The infotainment is accessed via touchscreen, with Bluetooth phone and audio link as well as USB input. The Aspire gains satnav and SD card input controlled via a larger touchscreen. Sadly, the mirror-shaking RockfordFosgate sound system upgrade is on the way out.
The 2.2-litre diesel is actually 2268cc so technically it’s a 2.3, one shared with the larger Outlander SUV. That has an extra 85kg of paunch to propel over the lithe 1525kg ASX. It summons 110kW and 360Nm, all the torque turning up from a useful 1500rpm.
The price for finally teaming this with six-speed auto is slight — 0.1 of a litre every 100km. Combined fuel consumption is a claimed 5.8 litres per 100km, with 153g/km of CO . That rises to 7.1 during the city cycle and drops slightly to 5.1 on the open road.
The little Mitsu boasts a 1400kg braked towing capacity, which is 400kg more than a revised diesel Toyota RAV4. The ASX also has a locking centre diff function within the on-demandAWD setup to give it an extra yard further off the blacktop.
Not much has changed since the ASX had a makeover late last year, when it scored a reshaped front end, including a redesigned grille, and updated rear bumper.
A compact design, it sits 180mm off the deck, on the same 2670mm wheelbase as the Outlander but it’s slightly shorter, narrower and lower in overall height. Yet interior space is good. Seats are on the flat side but not uncomfortable, leg and headroom front and rear are above average and only cabin width (and the awkward centre seatbelt path) would make three little ’ uns the limit for the rear bench.
Cargo space in the base model is competitive for the class at 416 litres with the back seats up and 1158 litres when riding two-up. The Aspire shrinks to 1109.
The ASX has five ANCAP stars thanks to seven airbags including front, front-side, fulllength curtain and driver’s knee bags, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, ISOFIX child restraint anchor points, front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters and lap-sash seatbelts for five.
There’s also the reassurance of the switchable (but now ondemand) AWDsystem, including the ability to lock the centre diff, as well as Mitsubishi’s Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body system that claims the strength of ‘‘ an integrated chassis’’ within the one-piece bodyshell.
The entry-level 4WDdiesel auto also gets a reversing camera and the Aspire adds a set of rear sensors.
Immediately the additional 60Nm of torque over the previous 1.8-litre diesel is noticeable. It’s got the standard clatter when cold but improves once warm and while underway. The engine doesn’t mind a rev either, although