STOCKS RISE

Mitsu’s lit­tle SUV now has the ca­pa­bil­ity to go with its cute­ness

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - STU­ART MARTIN stu­art.martin@cars­guide.com.au

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.

VALUE

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.

TECH­NOL­OGY

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.

DE­SIGN

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.

SAFETY

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.

DRIV­ING

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

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