Mitsubishi ASX XLS
Mitsubishi released the ASX as the SUV wave was building up, and today, the Triple Diamond compact SUV is shining brightly in a hugely popular sector, as Sean Willmot discovers.
There are four variations on the ASX theme, which boasts two petrol and two dieselengined varieties in either XLS or VRX trim. You also get a choice of drivetrain too, with the diesel models having 4WD as standard. This example however – likely the fleetoriented bread and butter version, being a 2WD petrol – just happens to be a popular choice with the family buyer too, thanks to its impressively small price and equally impressive appeal as a sensible sedan replacement. Over the time the ASX has been available, Mitsubishi has done some peaking and tweaking. This has resulted in a contemporary level of kit, without loading the vehicle – or its price – with super fancy gizmos and gadgets. Taking note of the specification, you might think “ooh, I wasn’t expecting quite that much” and being pleasantly surprised. A great many features have been easily incorporated into the ASX’S design, looking like they were always planned for, rather than added as an afterthought. Power in this instance comes from the long proven 2-litre MIVEC petrol engine. It’s a modestly performing engine, but one which powers the perky little ASX as expected, based on what you can see – a tidy and respectable, well-proportioned SUV running on contemporary 18-inch alloys. Getting MIVEC power to those alloys is the CVT transmission with a fauxmanual six speed Sport mode in the higher-grade variants. As with any CVT, putting your foot down is a rather loud experience and it won’t get the 7.6 litres per 100km Mitsubishi claims on combined cycle – that’s being conservative by the way, we got into the 6’s without trying – but then, you don’t expect this vehicle to be a street racer. Safety-wise, the ASX holds up a fivestar ANCAP scorecard, thanks to seven airbags, ABS brakes, and active electronic stability control. Couple this with the in-cabin safety features of Bluetooth hands free telephony with wheel-mounted controls, Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility to suit all phones, voice activation and a 7-inch touchscreen with reversing camera; yes, the entry level priced ASX is well specified. You do feel inherently safe in the ASX, mostly because of its on-road height – which makes it easy to get in and out of – and general feeling of being well balanced on the road. You might be pleasantly surprised at how well it handles too, given its height. That height gives the ASX another handy advantage: ease of loading into the cargo area. This is a comfortable 393 litre space with all five seats in place, gives you a metre between wheel arches and 750mm floor to roof height. Frankly, the ASX does well in the market sector it plays in, not only for its price and specification level, but also for its admirable ride quality and offering more than you would expect to find in a value proposition. Hardly a surprise to learn that the Mitsubishi ASX consistently features in the top three registrations for its market segment is it?