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Mitsubishi ASX a 'city sized' SUV

Given the Mitsubishi ASX 2WD is at the bottom of the tree, it's a surprisingly well finished and spacious cabin.
Given the Mitsubishi ASX 2WD is at the bottom of the tree, it's a surprisingly well finished and spacious cabin. Contributed

PLUNGING your hard-earned into publicly listed companies comes with a level of risk.

Business acumen and luck in some instances plays a pivotal role.

Mitsubishi is hedging its bets with the compact sports utility vehicle, ASX.

It actually has nothing to do with Australia's stock exchange, the acronym actually stands for active smart crossover.

Sitting on the same wheelbase as the Outlander, it has shorter front and rear overhangs.

Mitsubishi calls it ‘city sizing', so by lopping the ends the ASX ends up being slightly longer than a Volkswagen Golf.

The Japanese carmaker says the new offering bridges the gap between the Lancer hatch and Outlander SUV.

It's an interestingly tight gap, and early figures show both models enjoyed similar sales in the latter stages of last year (combining for about 13% of the market).

While the range-topping all-wheel drive ASX Aspire costs about $37,000 in petrol and diesel guises, we sampled the two-wheel drive version that costs a more budget friendly $28,500.

Comfort

Given the ASX 2WD is at the bottom of the tree, it's a surprisingly well finished and spacious cabin.

Unlike the Outlander and Lancer, there are very few of the hard ugly plastics. That is confined to a few sections of the console, with the remainder of the dash and doors boasting soft-touch materials.

They aren't Teflon-like, but better than what we've seen previously.

It's a well designed centre stack with easily read and operated dials. The pivotal gauges are also clear and concise, while the steering wheel with rake and reach adjustment is a welcomed breakthrough for the brand.

You sit high like most SUVs, and the seats are mostly comfortable, but lend to being too flat around the rump.

Once up and running the cabin is quiet with some tyre rumble. Engine noise also permeates when you work the engine hard.

Leg- and head-room front has back is good, although fitting three adults across the back seat would be a stretch.

On the road

Composed and sure-footed, the two-wheel drive ASX behaves well in the metropolitan area and on the highway.

When the 2.0-litre four-potter is mated to the continuously variable transmission it can sound like a happy old bloke working on his house – humming its way to the desired speed.

A race car it's not, and those looking for rapid acceleration will need to get the engine working high into the rev range.

The four-cylinder can feel underpowered, especially on hills where it battles to maintain momentum which can be averted by dropping the auto shifter across and taking control manually.

Push into the corners too hard and there's the familiar SUV body roll although overall the ASX isn't a bad driving experience.

The CVT can take some getting used to, but once you're familiar with its behaviour getting the most of its efficiency and performance becomes simple.

This offering is most definitely a soft-roader despite the additional ride height, and we suspect even the all-wheel drive versions will seldom ever step off the bitumen despite having Mitsubishi's advanced all-wheel drive technology.

What do you get?

The base model has an ambience of something more expensive. Equipped with a leather steering wheel, climate controlled air-conditioning, cruise control, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary and USB inputs, it's well kitted out.

All ASXs have no less than seven airbags (including a driver's knee bag), active stability and traction control, hill start control, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist.

You also get the brilliant Diamond Advantage scheme: which is a vehicle warranty for five years or 130,000km and a 10-year/ 160,000km powertrain warranty.

Other options

It's a popular genre with varying abilities, but the competition includes the Nissan Dualis ($24,990), Hyundai ix35 ($26,990), Suzuki SX4 ($20,490), Peugeot 3008 1.6 XSE ($35,990) and VW Tiguan 125 TSI DSG ($36,490).

Practicality

The space isn't as good as an Outlander, but it's not designed to be. The boot is still roomy, with a volume of 416 litres with the rear seats up, which jumps to 1193L with them folded flat.

Carrying children and their associated goods is a breeze, al- though hooking up child seat anchorage points can be challenging.

Running costs

Our test proved consistent with the official average of 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres.

Insurance costs would be reasonable for just about all ages, and the excellent warranty provides peace of mind.

Funky factor

Female interest in the ASX has been strong from early showroom feedback.

The snub-nose has links to the Lancer, which was later transferred to the Outlander, featuring an expansive, aggressive-looking grille. It has some nice lines and is a stand-out in the SUV crowd.

The low-down

Niches within niches have suddenly become commonplace. Mitsu- bishi is covering all bases in the booming compact sports utility vehicle segment.

The ASX has plenty of positives, including a great interior, good peripheral vision, smooth ride when you're up and running as well as the comprehensive five-year warranty.

Those investing in this ASX can probably have more confidence in this car than the stock market.

Vital statistics

Model: Mitsubishi ASX 2WD.

Details: Five-door front-wheel drive compact sports utility vehicle.

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder generating maximum power of 110kW @ 6000rpm and peak torque of 197Nm @4200rpm.

Transmission: Five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic (as tested).

Consumption: 7.7 litres/100km (combined)

Emissions: 181g/km.

Bottom line: $25,990; $28,490 (as tested).

For more motoring check out Drive.com.au.


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