Around this time each year potential buyers become thoroughly spoiled for choice of a new car as 2015 models grace show rooms throughout the nation.
Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi is but one of the makers offering new models for the coming year with the ever-popular ASX sporting some easily noted changes. The over all body shape remains much the same but there are sufficient changes to certainly identify the ’15 ASX as a new model.
Starting at the road surface there are now 17” alloy wheels for all models with even the base LS being dressed up with Dunlop sport rubber, which is a huge plus in the handling department.
A revised front bumper features daylight LED light, which in themselves are quite outstanding. There are also black roof rails, privacy glass plus some chrome interior and exterior highlights. The over all effect is that the ASX is still a handsome car, retaining its eye-catching and somewhat sporty appearance.
There are two variants available with both the base LS and upmarket XLS offering either 2WD or 4WD drive trains, engine choices centring on either a 2.0L 4-cylinder EFI petrol engine or a very smooth 2.2L diesel. The reviewed ASX featured a petrol engine linked to a CVT auto unit with optional 6-step manual control, but more on performance later.
The 2015 ASX offers some interior changes with a leather wrapped steering wheel and gear selector now part of the package as is a quite prominent 18cm media touch screen in a piano black surround. The unit doubles as a well graduated reversing camera and is easily set up with a touch screen of favourite radio stations. There’s also USB input plus Bluetooth phone and audio with voice control.
Chrome highlights are now featured strategically around the dash area to provide a little extra bling as well. Both front and rear climate control air conditioning is standard and there’s power function for virtually everything. The steering wheel has controls for the audio system and an easily managed cruise control system.
Revised fabrics graced the Ls model’s seats, which are both supportive and large enough to be comfortable for driver and front passenger while at the rear of the 5-seater there’s a broad, fairly flat rear seat offering plenty of knee room and very good head room for rear passengers.
Buyers will find a fair number of storage pockets within the ASX’s interior although these tended to be somewhat slim up front and a bit scarce in the rear except for a central flip down armrest with pockets in it. Some of the rivals in this hotly contested market niche arguably offer more in this regard.
I found the petrol 2WD LS was a delight to drive in a mix of city and country work. The 16-valve 4-cylinder 2.0 Mivec engine with its 110kw of power, 197Nm of torque linked to a stepless CVT unit was able to cut the mustard in stop start suburban traffic, while making easy work of cruising at higher speed limits on the M1. The engine and CVT unit were a smooth combination and while the engine tended to be a little revvy off the mark, things changed for the better when cruising at speed with only a little wind noise plus some tyre hum intruded into the general interior ambience.
As a front wheel drive the ASX’s steering had a good feeling of balance and predictability while improvements to all round ride and handling, strongly marketed by Mitsubishi in this new 2015 model, meant that the compact little SUV clung to road surfaces very well with only bad or continuous undulations causing any perceived intrusion into the interior of the vehicle. The ride smoothness is also doubtlessly linked to the fact that the ASX is a relatively long vehicle at 2.67m with its underpinnings borrowed from the larger Outlander. Mitsubishi are claiming fuel consumption of around the 7.0L/100km mark but I managed 8.3L/ 100km on a mix of city and country work. Fuel tank size is 63L.
One of the outstanding features of the ASX, along with its high driver and passenger seating arrangement, is rear storage. With the rear seats – 60/40-fold capability – upright around 416L of storage is available. With these seats folded flat storage goes up to a massive 1109L capacity, which is brilliant given the over all size of the ASX. Towing ratings are 1300kg braked and 750kg unbraked, which is also very handy.
Safety items for the 5-star rated ASX include Hill Start Control, Active Stability Control, Active Traction Control, ABS and RBD and 7 SRS air bags are standard.
Last but not least is the value added package Mitsubishi offers for the ASX which sees a 5-year 100,000 km warranty plus 4 years/60,000km capped servicing for the petrol models.Reads: 2300