The Mitsubishi ASX combines high driving and seating positions with wagon-like styling and carrying capacity, with very good road manners.
With the new model ASX’s release late last year, Mitsubishi obviously used the strength of our dollar to trim prices. The result being that the company is offering a well put together Japanese car for $25,990, for the five speed manual unit with Mitsubishi’s five year 130,000km full warranty.
The All Wheel Drive top of the range ASX Aspire underwent a few subtle changes in styling, both front and rear ends, but of most interest is the fact that the 2013 model has now become available in 2WD. This brings the 2WD ASX into line with some of the more serious competition with cost savings in both purchase and fuel consumption. Little else changes, really, with the car still riding and handling virtually every bit as good as the company’s popular Lancer sedan.
Its tow capacity is rated at 1300kg for a braked trailer, which would see a 4.2m craft on the towbar in many situations.
The new 2WD ASX comes in two variants – standard ASX and Aspire. The test vehicle was the standard (entry) model is powered by the 2L 110kW, 197Nm four-cylinder petrol engine linked to six step CVT auto transmission.
Even though a base model, it featured cloth trim seats and other high interest features for an owner. For 2013, the audio systems have been upgraded with iPod and iPhone compatibility as standard; seven air bags comprising of curtain SRS air bags as fitted; an electric tail gate opener; electric functions for windows; cruise and audio controls on the steering wheel for the FM radio with CD/MP3 player; electric fold side mirrors; some serious safety equipment in the form of ABS with electronic brake distribution, active stability control, active traction control; plus Hill Start Control. It is also comforting to know the ASX carries a five star ANCAP safety rating.
The driver is pampered with tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment while instruments are recessed in a neat cluster directly ahead of the leather covered wheel. The Smart Key entry system allows doors and tailgate to be locked or unlocked. Rain sensing wipers, climate control air, auto head lights plus an optional reversing camera interfacing with the large Multi Media display on the dash in lieu of the rear view mirror.
The interior of the 2WD ASX is also blessed with a multitude of pockets and associated storage areas for best comfort of driver and passengers. Rear seat travellers will find leg and head room adequate rather than outstanding but it’s wise to remember the ASX is a compact SUV.
The cargo area at the rear has a volume of 426L with the rear seat upright, and 1193L with seat backs folded down.
No matter whether punting along city back streets, four lanes freeways or highways within the countryside, the ASX is a delight to drive. Its driving position offers the best in visibility with all controls, dials and gauges ergonomically placed for reference. The rear suspension has been tweaked to make an already good ride even better while the Constantly Variable Transmission unit has also undergone some changes to keep the four cylinder petrol engine buzzing under hard acceleration to a minimum.
For the uninitiated, the stepless CVT transmission is a curious business in that speedo and tacho seem to be perfectly synchronised as the vehicle moves off. These units certainly work smoothly, but the option of manual gear changes – with six gears – is also available by tipping the leather bound gear selector to the side and using the gearbox as a clutchless auto unit.
Fuel consumption for the auto test car with two aboard plus some picnic gear in the boot, ran to around the 8L per 100km mark, which was quite acceptable.
The front wheel drive ASX will offer a bit of steering wheel feedback to the driver under hard acceleration but it’s minimal, certainly not intrusive.
Overall, the ASX 2WD is ideal for people looking for a well designed and well built compact SUV without hitting the hip pocket too hard. As a tow vehicle for boats or camper trailers it’s certainly quite suitable for general all round use. However, do remember that the front wheels will be providing the traction so best stick to the bitumen and formed roads.
As for boat ramps? A lot of boats enter the water and then exit via 2WD vehicles, so why not the ASX?Reads: 2233