Mitsubishi released a re-vamped ASX in late 2014 as their model year 2015 offering. Like the company’s previous ASX models, the newbie was very well received even though there was no game changing modifications to what was, in reality, a pretty good product to start with.
The ASX owners find that the vehicle has some interesting practicalities about it; it looks somewhat small yet is quite roomy inside with lots of leg and head room, a very large boot, which can be expanded nicely by laying seats down for carriage of larger items, and is a great car to drive.
With the new ’15 offering the over all body shape remained much the same, although 17” alloy wheels are now dressing up the rubber and some cosmetic changes can be found, the big news is to be found under the bonnet of the ASX diesel models.
Prior to the late 2014 upgrade diesel ASX variants were equipped with a 1.8L engine linked to a manual gear box. It was a great little engine, but as most manufacturers have come to understand over time that very few Australian drivers are interested in changing gears while punting around the city, which is where most ASX SUV’s are going spend their lives. They will accept it in the case of a large 4x4 to be used for the long haul or serious towing but not for the cut and thrust of ‘stop-start’ suburban work.
Let’s face it, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with changing gears manually; but with the proliferation of auto units in most of our ‘smaller’ cars the concept just does not get off the ground. Mitsubishi is not the only maker to discover this fact of life. Virtually every manufacturer that offers a diesel variant in manual mode finds that the cars sell far more readily once an auto version is released, which is precisely what most manufacturers end up doing sooner or later.
I did not mind the manual ASX diesel, but the upgraded LS 4 WD diesel (the DiD auto) with its 2. 2L engine is a far more powerful and tractable unit. The in line 4-cylinder turbo charged common rail direct injection engine churns out 110kW of power, 360Nm of torque, with peak torque on hand from around 1750rpm right up to 2750rpm, which sees a lot of city, highway, towing, mountain range climbing easily taken in the ASX’s stride.
To be fair, the engine is somewhat slow to kick into action off the mark but once that 1800rpm is reached, performance is quite impressive.
Also, I particularly liked the towing stats. The diesel is rated to tow a 750kg unbraked and a 1400kg braked unit. That rating takes in a lot of smaller boats and even a few camper trailers in my book.
Talk of torque and other things aside the 2.2L diesel ASX will be heard chattering away happily at start up revs, with noise levels decreasing dramatically once under way to the point where the engine, like a lot of modern diesels, cannot be heard at cruising speed.
The all wheel drive system in the ASX is very capable, and in fact exceeds performance specifications of several rivals. The ASX can, in fact, be locked into 4WD mode at speeds in excess of 100km/h when loss of traction is possible. It comes down to having a very useful option; if a section of road looks like turning slippery, it’s simply a matter of using the selector on the console to ensure that power is being taken to all 4 wheels to ensure they are driving full time, not just when traction is being lost up front. Note that a 4-wheel drive ‘Auto’ mode is also available, which then selects all wheel drive (in lieu of front wheel drive) on occasions when the on-board computer system detects that extra traction is required. This system is a little more fuel friendly.
The icing on the cake with the 2.2L diesel ASX is undoubtedly the 6-speed auto gearbox. The unit, far more applicable to the enhanced torque of the diesel over the petrol ASX (360Nm over 197Nm ) delivered seamless, virtually undetectable gear shifts, which could also be manually arranged via the SUV’s steering wheel paddle system. The paddles can also be used to keep the engine on its most torque efficient power band, which I did when heading up the range to Toowoomba. The point is that the power is certainly there; I’d see a full family load of passengers and assorted cargo causing no issues whatsoever with the powerful diesel and it’s 6-speed auto shifter. Likewise, some boat towing or a run to the tip with the box trailer of a Saturday morning will be a piece of cake.
I was impressed with the ASX LS diesel, the ride was very good in most circumstances and fuel consumption comes in at around the 6.8L/100km mark in a mainly country road expedition, which was not far above factory figures. A full suite of safety features dress up all of the ASX range and there’s handy features such as all electric functions throughout, cruise control, Sat Nav, a reversing camera, Bluetooth audio and phone integration, USB audio input and Ipod compatibility to keep the phones and entertainment on hand.
Mitsubishi warranty is 5 years or 100,000km for new vehicles with 4 years or 60,000km capped price servicing offered as well. Price of the LS diesel ASX is around the $31,990 mark.Reads: 1397