Reviewed for you: Mitsubishi ASX
The Mitsubishi ASX is a regular on Australia’s bestselling cars list… it’s roomy and reasonably sprightly for city driving. It’s well priced for the small SUV segment but there are some compromises new car buyers will need to make. The question is, will the ASX be enough for you?
What’s the price and what do you get?
There are three trim levels to choose from, ES (from $23,490+ORCs), LS ($27,990+ORCs) and Exceed ($30,990+ORCs). The entry-level ES is the only ASX available with either a five-speed manual or CVT, all other variants are exclusively CVT. The ASX gets things like 18-inch alloys, 7.0-inch infotainment screen with smartphone connectivity and reversing. It misses out on active safety, however, and if you want these essentials, you’ll need to pay more for the Advanced Driver Assist Systems pack, which includes autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, rain-sensing wipers, reversing sensors and rear cross-traffic alert.
Step up to the LS and you get automatic high beam, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlights, lane-departure warning and autonomous emergency braking. The Exceed adds a panoramic glass roof, heated leather front seats, and a power-adjust driver’s seat.
What’s the interior like?
The ASX’s interior is designed to be practical and easy to use, and so it is. It doesn’t take long to get to grips with the controls that all fall easily to hand. However, it doesn’t feel as sophisticated as some of the newer compact SUVs, and Mitsubishi has addressed this with the all-new ASX which should arrive in the next year or so, offering more creature comforts. The dashboard is dominated by the 7.0-inch infotainment screen and the circular dials for the climate controls. You get smartphone connectivity, but the infotainment system isn’t overly feature-rich.
What’s the passenger space like?
Despite almost being pocket-sized, the ASX is one of the roomiest, if not the roomiest, compact SUVs you can buy. There’s excellent headroom front and back, and while the front seats feel as if they’re mounted a little too high (which does afford that higher-set driving position SUV buyers seem to be looking for), they are more than comfortable enough for longer drives. That said, some extra side bolstering in the seat would improve comfort on twisting roads.
Climb into the back and there’s plenty of room for two adults, three in a pinch. You’ll easily fit two child seats with ISOFIX mounts on the two outboard seats and top-tether anchors on the seatbacks. The back rest in the middle seat folds down to become an armrest with cup holders. There are no rear air vents.
What about the boot?
The ASX’s boot space is a good size, offering 393 litres and a wide opening. It’s better than the CX-3 which has 264 litres. The back seats also split-fold 60:40 to increase the loading area to 1193 litres. And with a low load lip and wide tailgate opening, loading and unloading are easy.
What’s under the bonnet?
The updated ASX saw the discontinuation of the 2.2L diesel engine, which was a shame because it was a ripper of an engine. The 2.0L four-cylinder petrol offers 110kW of power at 6000rpm and 197Nm of torque at 4200rpm. As mentioned, the entry-level ES can come with a five-speed manual, but for the rest of the range, it’s a CVT. The engine does a fine, if unexciting, job getting you around and keeping up with traffic. When pushed too hard, like accelerating up a long hill or stomping on the accelerator to overtake, the engine becomes a little thrashy sounding, and the CVT develops a drone.
What’s it like on the road?
While it’s not on-par with something like the Subaru XV for ride and handling, or indeed, all-round capability, the ASX is still a tidy handler. Around town, it’s nippy and light in its movements, and while the steering lacks driver feedback, it’s direct in its action. Across a variety of surfaces, dirt included, the ASX is comfortable with reasonable suppression of things like wind and road noise. Only coarse chip bitumen will see the tyres become noisy. It’s a shame Mitsubishi dropped all-wheel drive from the ASX because the system made a good car better by allowing it to go a little further than most other compact SUVs.
What about safety?
The Mitsubishi ASX carries a five-star ANCAP rating, but that’s based on a 2014 test which was based on an actual crash test from 2010. Mitsubishi improved the active safety offering late last year, and, if you choose the Advanced Driver Assist Systems pack on the entry-level LS, now includes autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, rain-sensing wipers, reversing sensors and rear cross-traffic alert. Interestingly, away from the LS, you get a varying amount of active safety systems from that list; it’s when you get to the top-spec Exceed that all active safety features are standard.
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