Mitsubishi ASX has all-round appeal
The Mitsubishi ASX is the smallest, but biggest-selling, of the Japanese car maker’s Australian four-wheel-drive/SUV range.
On sale since early 2010, it has been a major success for Mitsubishi, consistently sitting among the top three or four sellers in the highly competitive compact SUV market segment and pipped at the post by Mazda CX-3 for top spot in 2016.
Like most of its competitors, ASX is aimed more at on-road use than tackling the Aussie bush, although it does come with the option of all-wheel drive and so can be used on dirt roads, forest trails and the like. We’d recommend taking up the full-size spare wheel if looking at off-road driving.
Two equipment levels are offered, badged LS and XLS, both with either 2WD petrol or AWD diesel.
The Mitsubishi ASX was given an upgrade late last year with a number of styling and functionality changes.
The most obvious of the exterior tweaks is a new grille that uses the Mitsubishi Dynamic Shield that has previously been used on ASX’s larger siblings, the Outlander and Pajero Sport.
There are also new black and chrome finishes to the front bumper and grille as well as a new shark-fin antenna. Combinationstyle front fog lamps replace the previous daytime running lamps. As before, the XLS comes with a panoramic sunroof. All models receive 18-inch alloy wheels.
There is good interior space with plenty of rear leg and headroom and a large, easily accessible boot that caters for 393 litres with the rear seat back in place, and up to 1193 litres with them folded.
Extra seat base bolstering has been added to the rear seats for improved comfort. The LS gets a new high-grade fabric seat trim with red stitching while the switch for the heated front seats has been moved to the instrument panel.
LS has key-in-ignition start while XLS has keyless entry and start/stop. The steering wheel is both height and reach adjustable.
Engine capacity and outputs are unchanged from the previous model, with the choice of 2.0-litre petrol with outputs of 110kW at 6000 rpm and 197Nm at 4200; and 2.2-litre turbo-diesel peaking at 110kW at 3500 revs and 360Nm at 1500 rpm.
The lower specced LS petrol variant gets the choice between fivespeed manual and continuously variable automatic transmission.
The XLS petrol only comes with the CVT. Both LS and XLS diesels get a torque-converter six-speed automatic.
Safety features on all models include ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, stability and traction control, seven airbags (front, side, curtain and driver’s knee), rear parking sensors, reversing camera, IsoFix rear child seat anchor points and hill start assist.
The LS model uses a 6.1-inch full colour touchscreen for its information display while the XLS steps up to the Mitsubishi Multi Communications System with a 7.0-inch screen and two extra speakers with satellite navigation added.
Other standard features include Bluetooth phone and audio, digital radio, USB and voice control. The XLS also has SD card input.
Entry and exit don’t require excessive bending and stooping. The front seats are comfortable and reasonably supportive.
Our test car was the manual XLS two-wheel-drive petrol. It’s sluggish initially but sharp enough once it gains momentum although, as mentioned, peak power isn’t reached until a high 6000 rpm.
A five-speed manual gearbox is unusual nowadays but the absence of an extra gear didn’t affect cruising comfort. Gear changes are slick and smooth.
Typical of its genre there’s not a great deal of driving fun to be had but it feels safe and predicable.
Fuel consumption is listed at 7.7 litres per 100km in the LS manual, we averaged in the mid-eights.
ASX comes with the standard Mitsubishi five-year warranty although, disappointingly, the distance component is now only 100,000km — down from the 130,000km on pre-2015 models.
Pricing and style together with practicality and limited off-road ability are proving an excellent combination for Mitsubishi ASX.
There are new black and chrome finishes to the bumper and grille.
There is good interior space.