Mitsubishi’s value SUV is equally handy lugging furniture or loping through a forest
firstname.lastname@example.org COMPACTSUVsmay present as rugged adventuremachines to take you and the girl, the family, your mates or your dog into a realm beyond suburbia. In fact, thatSUVis more likely a hatchback with an even boxier body and the off-road acumen of aTour de France bike.
So it’s pleasing that Mitsubishi builds a purposeful SUVthat’s as comfortable in the city as it is on a forest trail.
TheASX4WDAspire 2.2 is the most expensive of the smallest MitsubishiSUVrange and though its $36,490 price tag is certainly not cheap, it is fair value given its versatility and low running costs. Abase version saves $4500 but the Aspire is better value. A1.8-litre diesel version is $34,990 and almost as good. The Aspire features include a 7-inch colour touchscreen with satnav, voice-activated audio and Bluetooth link, leather seats, smart-key operation, heated front seats with electric adjustment, 17-inch alloys and a full-length glass roof.
There’s a four-year cappedprice service program that will cost $1245 for three years and theSUVhas a strong 54 per cent resale value.
TheASXlooks so good that Peugeot (4008) and Citroen (Aircross) use it as the basis for their ownmodels. Cabin design is restrained but shows good build quality. Soft-touch dash and upmarket trim lift thismodel and the glass roof is a real bonus.
There’s good rear-seat room for two adults— three at a pinch— and the split-fold seats fold almost flat, taking luggage space from416L to 1109L. The cargo floor is quite high and hides a space-saver spare.
Despite its compact exterior dimensions, theASXuses the bigger Outlander’s platform and drivetrain. Basically, the difference comes down to body shape and the Outlander’s extra 350mmlength allows for seven seats.
The shared 110kW/360Nm 2.2-litre turbo diesel is naturally perkier in the 80kg lighterASX and with the six-speed auto (not CVTas in petrolmodels) it becomes a fun package. It claims 5.8 L/100km, the same as the Outlander and only 0.1 L more than the ASX’s alternative 1.8-litre diesel.
TheASXis basically an ondemand4WDthough uniquely in compactSUVs, can be locked into4WDat speeds up to about 100km/h.
Steering is electric-assist and brakes are four-wheel discs.
It gets a five-star crash rating, has seven airbags and the full complement of electronic chassis and brake aids. There are Isofix points on the two rear seats, a hill-holder, space-saver spare and the ability to change to constantAWDat virtually any speed if the road becomes slippery. There’ are automatic headlights and wipers, a reverse camera and rear park sensors.
The seating position is high, which gives the driver some confidence, especially when parking and picking a line through traffic. Typical of a diesel, there is some start-up lag and when accelerating quickly froma low speed. It’s not as bad as some rivals but remains annoying.
Once awoken, the engine shows its best performance only about 2000-3000rpmand is at odds with the claim that a meaty360Nmof torque is available from1500rpm. Paddle-shifters are a nice touch but rarely used.
Ride comfort is very good— same applies to the Outlander— though some occupants claimed the seats were too firm. In the dirt it requiresmomentum and low-tyre pressures to clear sandy traps. A better torque spread lower in the rev rangewould help here.
Surprisingly accomplished and frugal familySUVfor people
cFashion forward ... the ASX has soft-touch dash, upmarket trim and full-length glass roof. Peugeot and Citroen share its underpinnings