By Wayne Gorrett
* Comprehensive kit * Spacious interior and large boot * Solid cabin * Well-controlled ride * Strong, efficient diesel * Affordable cost of ownership *
* Not as sharp or responsive to drive as rivals * Some low-rent cabin plastics * Short service intervals (9,000 miles) * Less fun than the Sportage or Yeti * Limited engine choice
☀ ☀ ☀
The Mitsubishi ASX hasn’t fared that well since its UK introduction in 2010. That’s a shame really because as SUVs go, it’s an accomplished all-rounder. While not exactly rare, there aren’t that many around. The ASX is one of a plethora of SUVs that have appeared on the UK market over the last five years. As we all now know, the winner in that battle remains the Nissan Qas..h..q..u.. (sorry, nodded off there for a bit).
For families, the ASX deserves a place in a shortlist of four. It delivers a decent drive, is spacious in both front and rear, has a large boot and the overall cost of ownership is fairly reasonable. For parental peace of mind, safety kit is good, too.
The third-generation ASX is a return to the original 2007 concept of offering the platform used for the longer and taller Outlander – reviewed here – with reduced seating capacity from seven to five people, while sharing components of the longer vehicle. Hence, is rightfully boasts one of the most spacious interiors in its class.
The cockpit is ergonomically styled and is simple to master. The stereo controls and digital display are a tad small and high-spec models get a touch-screen system that’s a bit more of a challenge to conquer. Finding a comfortable driving position is easy and there’s plenty of space around the pedals, multi-point adjustment for the seat and a lofted visibility of the road ahead.
All versions come with plenty of equipment as standard. While the car is not as engaging to drive as some in its class – Ford Kuga, Skoda Yeti, Korea’s ix35 / Sportage twins, it is an accomplished and competent rival.
The ASX is offered with a choice of 1.6-litre petrol and 1.8-litre turbo-diesel engines but AWD is only available with the 1.8-litre oil-burner, as tested. We would opt for the stronger and more practical diesel in either ‘3’ or ‘4’ spec grade. Once loaded with five-up and accompanying luggage, the power plant rewards the driver with 114bhp delivering 300Nm of usable torque through each of the six manual gears. There is no current automatic option for the ASX. 0-62mph arrives in a respectable 10.5 seconds for the diesel. Add another second for the petrol engine.
Ride and Handling
The steering could be a bit sharper as it’s a little dull to dead ahead. The ASX’s soft suspension results in some body roll in corners, but is not excessive. The car manages rough roads comfortably and is particularly good at dismissing speed bumps and potholes. The 147bhp 1.8-litre diesel feels strong, especially from 2,000rpm, when the turbo is working at its hardest.
Space & Practicality
The raison d’être for crossovers is everyday practicality. The 442-litre boot is good and the rear tailgate opening can best be described as gaping. The fold-flat rear seats score good practical points and there’s useful underfloor storage, too. The rear seat upright has a ski-hatch tucked neatly behind the fold down armrest and is ideal for carrying longer objects. Further storage is in the way of large dash and central cubbyholes.
Because it shares a platform with its larger Outlander brother – a seven-seater, the five-seat ASX has a more capacious passenger compartment, particularly noticeable in the back.
It’s in this area where the Mitsubishi ASX scores maximum points in the value-for-money stakes. The entry-level ASX-2 gets remote central locking, full electric windows, alloys and air-conditioning. Stepping up to an ASX-3 ditches the standard air-con for climate control, adds cruise control and rear parking sensors, ideal considering its expansive rump. Top of the range ASX-4 ticks the reversing camera, integrated sat-nav, Bluetooth/USB input and leather chairs off your wish-list. Frankly, there’s a whole lot of product for the money.
Comfort and Refinement
The 1.8-litre diesel has a raft of technology to ensure it runs smoothly. However, diesel chatter is evident on start up but fortunately diminishes somewhat as it warms up. The ASX suffers from intrusive wind noise at cruising speeds but the well-engineered suspension setup delivers a comfortable ride over most but the harshest road surfaces. A rake and reach adjustable steering wheel – a first for Mitsubishi on the ASX – makes getting comfortable behind the wheel a lot easier.
Safety and Security
Boasting a full five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating, all ASX versions feature anti-whiplash head restraints, brake assist, stability control, traction control, hill-start assist and seven airbags.
Diesel and petrol emissions meet EURO V standards (2009>) with the diesel measuring 138g/km and the 1.6-litre petrol unit 139g/km. These are both respectable figures considering the cars curb weight of around 1.5 tonnes. Official economy figures for the 1.6-litre petrol are 47.1mpg combined. The diesel improves to 54.3mpg combined. My week’s test mileage in the ASX-4 AWD diesel totalled 487 miles, averaging close to the official figure at 51.6mpg. More brownie points.
Nissan Qashqai, Subaru XV, Ford Kuga.
The Mitsubishi ASX offers potential buyers a well-equipped, spacious and efficient mode of family transport. Sure, it’s not without its flaws but these are easily overcome by its excellent value for money and practical ever-day usability.