Eastern Reporter Bayswater & Bassendean

A good tune on an old fid­dle

- Neil Dowl­ing Cars · Consumer Goods · Mitsubishi Group · Australia · Japan · United States of America · B-1 Lancer

IT is be­mus­ing, pos­si­bly cringe-wor­thy, when an old player re­mains on the field and spars with much younger, po­ten­tially more gifted team mem­bers.

But the mood of spec­ta­tors quickly changes to won­der when the de­cid­edly older player un­ex­pect­edly starts kick­ing some se­ri­ous goals and out­paces the more youth­ful ri­vals.

That’s the game call of Mit­subishi’s small SUV, the ASX, which is the best­selling ve­hi­cle in its class de­spite be­ing 10 years old and com­ing up against an Aussie Rules oval full of more sprightly and fresher com­peti­tors.

A lot may be to do with pric­ing, of­fers and other means to boost the sales fig­ures, but old mod­els leapfrog­ging new mod­els is still un­usual.

Mit­subishi is keep­ing the ASX alive and hope­fully rel­e­vant with a re­fresh con­sist­ing of some fa­cial surgery, extra make-up, a neater cabin and a host of wel­come fea­tures to greatly im­prove safety.

There’s even the op­tion of more power and more model vari­ants.

Prices rise from about $500 on the out­go­ing ASX but the value ar­gu­ment re­mains strong.

The ASX is tak­ing on two roles as it par­tially re­places the Lancer sedan that ended pro­duc­tion last year.

The new ASX is ba­si­cally the same as the last model, chang­ing sheet metal ahead of the wind­screen, adding a new grille, front bumper and head­lights, and at the back, new bumper.

Safety has been im­proved – with au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing now stan­dard across the range – as has the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem that now has sat nav as stan­dard and dis­plays through a big­ger 8.0inch touch­screen.

Its ap­peal is likely to con­tinue undi­min­ished, pri­mar­ily be­cause of its ap­peal­ing price that opens at $24,990, its in­clu­sive drive­away charges, low own­er­ship cost and then its sweet-spot size and ac­com­mo­dat­ing in­te­rior with its high hip-point for ease of en­try.

The GSR and top-line Ex­ceed gain the 2.4-litre en­gine – a first for the ASX and bor­rowed from the Lancer and Out­lander – for more em­pha­sis on per­for­mance com­pared with the on­go­ing 2.0-litre mill.

Aus­tralia is the first right-hand-drive mar­ket to get the 2.4 and fol­lows a re­quest from Aus­tralia to Ja­pan af­ter view­ing it in the US.

Mit­subishi has no plans to re­in­state a diesel en­gine – dropped last year – or all­wheel-drive. The take-up rate for AWD was less than 10 per cent.

On the road it’s too much like the old model.

Al­though the re­fresh will un­doubt­edly main­tain the sales strength, tech­ni­cally the new ASX is not as dy­namic to drive, as poised through cor­ners or as com­fort­able over road bumps as most of its newer ri­vals.

The CVT au­to­matic can force the en­gine – es­pe­cially the smaller 2.0-litre – to drone, which doesn’t aid long-dis­tance driv­ing.

You would ex­pect a no­tice­able leap from the 2.0litre to its 2.4-litre sis­ter, but the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal doesn’t re­lay any ma­jor im­prove­ment other than the lat­ter’s more re­spon­sive ac­cel­er­a­tion.

How­ever, if the buyer is de­ter­mined to stay in the sub­urbs and doesn’t have to con­tend with hilly ter­rain, the 2.0-litre will be suf­fi­cient.

The strength is in ur­ban sit­u­a­tions where there’s suf­fi­cient low-down pep to keep the driver alert.

The hall­marks are its bud­get price and its nice cabin feel.

The cabin seats four adults with ease, the boot is a large 393 litres and ex­pands fur­ther with fold­down seat backs.

Aim­ing it at ei­ther end of the buyer age scale – young sin­gles and cou­ples and re­tirees – has prompted Mit­subishi to of­fer one of the least ex­pen­sive ser­vice pro­grams around, at $199 a year for the 15,000km ser­vice for the first three years.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia