Released in the latter part of 2010, the neat Mitsubishi ASX has been earning praise from reviewers and new owners from the outset.
The ASX stands for Active Smart Crossover (not Australian Stock Exchange) and this very neat and well put together five person compact SUV vehicle is very similar to a miniature Mitsubishi Outlander, with a hint of Lancer. It even sits on the same platform and wheel base as the Outlander but just more compact in size.
Styling is right up to the minute. It has the Lancer Evo’s jet engine intake style grille, 16” alloy wheels and enough discreet chrome trim to look the part without gilding the lily. This is the ultimate city compact SUV with rivals such as the Nissan Dualis, Hyundai IX35,Volkswagen Tiguan and Toyota Rav 4.
There are six models within the ASX range, from 2L two-wheel drive petrol, 2L four-wheel drive petrol, and a powerful 1.8L diesel in six-speed manual configuration that packs 110kW of power and 300Nm of torque.
All are packed with safety features including seven air bags, ABS, Hill Start Control, Active Stability Control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Active Traction Control.
I enjoyed driving the ASX 2WD auto. Powered by the four cylinder 2L petrol engine, it offered 110kW of power and 197Nm of torque. The transmission was courtesy of a stepless CVT gearbox that presented a six-speed manual setting if the driver wanted to over ride the super smooth CVT unit. I found no valid reason to flick the gear selector to the side and change gears myself, the seamless Constantly Variable Transmission was that good.
There’s only one chance at a first impression and the ASX makes the most of it. The stylish exterior catches the eye, and the svelte and well-finished charcoal toned interior features well sculptured and comfortable front and rear seats, brushed metal highlights around the deep set (Lancer orientated) dash layout and door trim areas. The soft feel sports-style steering wheel is linked to tilt and telescopic adjustable steering, which is a great bonus for a vehicle in this price range.
The ergonomically designed dash deserves special comment. The eye pleasing layout is highlighted by the twin dials of silver rimmed tacho and speedo set within a deep binnacle. A full colour LCD multi information display between these gauges offered a wealth of information including fuel levels, fuel range to empty at current average consumption, trip and total distance, current fuel consumption and kilometres to next service.
Standard fare for the driver were wheel mounted radio and cruise control tabs, electric controls for virtually every function within and outside the ASX. Rain sensing wipers were standard and the large exterior wing mirrors folded in, and out, by themselves at the ignition keys activation.
Passengers will enjoy the automatic climate control air-conditioning, ample head- and legroom quality AM/FM radio CD/MP3 player with auxiliary and USB inputs. Blue Tooth compatibility is standard fare throughout the entire ASX range.
Rear boot room is assisted by a space-saver spare stowed under and, in standard set up, the boot has a capacity of 416L extending to 1193L with the rear 60/40 split fold seats down and out of the way.
The ASX has a passenger car ambience and feel whether cruising the highway, traversing a gravel or rough bitumen back road, or shunting around town in the traffic. There’s no denying that this compact SUV is fun to drive.
Ride is slightly firm yet comfortably controlled by independent suspension up front (McPherson struts) and a multi link set up at the rear. As a front wheel drive vehicle, the ASX steering is neutral at straight ahead, coming to life when turn input is applied.
There was a little tyre noise on rougher surfaces but given the overall quality of the ride, I saw it as little to quibble about. Fuel consumption is claimed at 7.9L per 100km but I managed 8.1L on a mix of suburban, fast highway, and country back road driving.
The Mitsubishi ASX will have strong appeal to small families and young singles, looking for a cut above the standard run of sedans without moving up to a battle wagon like a 4WD.
In 4WD mode, opposed to the 2WD model reviewed, the ASX would undoubtedly extend its travels further within forest tracks and similar. However, remember this is still a cross over (soft roader) style vehicle without the benefit of that low range gear a true 4X4 possesses.
Nevertheless, within the booming sub compact market niche the ASX is a fierce competitor due to sharp pricing, high product quality and excellent levels of standard features. As tested, the petrol 2WD auto would leave Nundah Mitsubishi’s show rooms for around the $32,515 mark.
Mitsubishi’s warranties are extensive. The factory warranty of 5 year/30,000km covers whole of vehicle, power train warranty is 10 year/160,000km and there’s a 5 year perforation/corrosion warranty as well. Free 5 year/130,000 road side assist is part of the package, along with capped price service for 4 years or 60,000km, whichever comes first.Reads: 5625