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.

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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?

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