CROSS­OVER

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

The six-speeder is well suited to the torquey diesel and comes with long fifth and sixth ra­tios for low-rev high­way cruis­ing that cuts fuel con­sump­tion.

I av­er­aged 6.7 litres/100km which in­cluded a run to In­n­is­fail, up the Palmer­ston High­way, through the Misty Moun­tain muddy trails and back to Cairns via Ku­randa, as well as some com­mut­ing.

In many ways, it’s like driv­ing a Lancer sedan but the ASX han­dles just like a top-heavy hatch­back. It tends to lean no­tice­ably around cor­ners and there’s a lack of lat­eral seat sup­port, but it never feels un­tidy or un­com­fort­able and it cor­ners pre­dictably.

There’s also de­cent grip from the 17in road-bi­ased tyres, al­though they gen­er­ate plenty of noise, even around town.

Steer­ing kick­back over mid-corner bumps is less wel­come. The ride is also lumpy at low speeds, de­spite the sus­pen­sion set-up’s bias to­wards com­fort, only be­com­ing more re­laxed and com­posed as the pace quick­ens.

Mid-range torque is the diesel’s party trick and it can be hauled out and ex­ploited for rapid over­tak­ing times – even in top gear. It also makes a few gear changes re­dun­dant so you find cor­ners are taken in third or even fourth. It’s com­fort­able, quiet and com­pli­ant. The ASX trav­els on the dirt quite well. I left it in 4WD Auto for the 20km run through the Misty Moun­tains and it didn’t put a wheel wrong de­spite the wet and muddy con­di­tions.

THE VER­DICT

What a sur­prise. The ASX is good enough in diesel for­mat to at­tack, not only its com­pact SUV ri­vals, but its Out­lander brother too.

There are some gripes, like the tinny sound­ing doors, the poor rear­ward vis­i­bil­ity and an an­noy­ing buzzing noise from the pas­sen­ger door-pull han­dle.

But over­all it’s a good thing, well-built model, with a great five-year war­ranty, half-de­cent driv­ing man­ners and a great in­te­rior.

It’s quiet, rea­son­ably brisk and eco­nom­i­cal and has nicely-bal­anced looks.

There’s heaps of equip­ment and apart from the turbo-lag drives smoothly.

Just drop the ASX name and adopt As­pire and Mit­subishi has a sure fire sales win­ner.

>> TEST VE­HI­CLE COUR­TESY OF IRE­LAND MIT­SUBISHI, MUL­GRAVE RD, WEST­COURT, PH: 4052 3666

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