Mitsubishi has a long and proud history with off-road capable vehicles.
Tradition continues with the ASX range, a mid-sized, five seater, along the lines of the Toyota RAV4.
It’s available with a petrol 2.0-litre engine or 2.2-litre turbo diesel and, depending on the model, drives through either the front or all four wheels via a six-speed manual or seven-speed CVT style auto.
Our test vehicle, the top of the line XLS AWD diesel, comes with the same 110kW/360Nm 2.2-litre powerplant that’s found in other Mitsus such as the Outlander.
What’s it cost?
It’s a good time to buy because Mitsubishi is offering drive away deals at the moment, starting with an easy on the wallet $24,990 for the entry LS 2WD petrol.
Our XLS with all the bells and whistles however will set you back $39,990.
Inside there’s plenty of nice stuff for the family, with leather and cloth trimmed seating, climate control airconditioning, heated but not cooled front seats, a large sunroof with sliding fabric screen, and Mitsubishi’s standard easy to read dash.
Although front leg room is good, the rear is less ideal, especially for those measuring 180cm and upwards.
Cupholders? There’s enough for a small army.
Oddly, though, there are no centre-mounted, rear-facing air vents for back seat passengers.
The plastic surfaces are hard to the touch and the overall design is starting to show its age.
Cargo space is decent, with 393 litres available with the rear seats up.
Tech-wise there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, available via a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and for sounds there’s DAB/FM/AM plus Bluetooth streaming.
But you don’t get navigation, even though the XLs is top of the line, and having to plug in your phone to navigate each time is a right pain.
Safety is given high priority with Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, and Euro style flashing brake lights for the Emergency Stop System – but there’s no auto emergency braking.
A reverse camera is standard across the range, as are ISOFIX child seat mounts, as well as pretensioning seatbelts, Hill Start Assist, and seven airbags including a driver’s knee bag.
What’s it go like?
It’s a typical diesel; floor it and it’ll hesitate a moment before launching.
Caress the throttle and it builds velocity quickly and quietly.
With a 60-litre tank, fuel consumption is rated as 6.0L/100km.
We were getting 5.9L/100km.
And, as the ASX weighs just 1540kg , even with the CVT, it’ll get off the line with more alacrity than its heavier siblings.
With a 2670mm wheelbase and compact body, you get a sure-footed handling and a composed ride.
This model rides on 18-inch alloys, with on and off-road capable 225/55 Bridgestones, that provide plenty of tarmac grip.
Styling, much like the original Outlander, is based on the Lancer sedan.
The bluff and upright snout features a splash of chrome and almost vertical LED daytime running lights.
It’s an assertive and not unappealing look.
The steering is light, but not too much so that you lose contact with what’s happening up front.
ASX is a very point and shoot style vehicle, with plenty of torque available from 1500 to 2750 rpm, making city driving an absolute doddle.
The CVT is smooth and engages from Park without a jolt, but after switching to the paddle shifts it stays in manual mode – to revert to auto you have to pull back on both paddles or wait until the car comes to a stop.
The AWD system is front-wheel drive biased, but can be set to AWD via an electronic clutch system.
If you need to tow, it can haul up to 1400kg.
What we like?
DAB radio and the safety features
Fantastic fuel economy
Room for four plus shopping or luggage
Neutral, family-friendly handling and a comfortable ride
What we don’t?
Interior starting to date
No rear air vents
Hard plastics and no cooling for front seats
Transmission doesn’t revert to auto without help
Even though it’s the top of the line it doesn’t come with navigation
The bottom line?
It’s a fantastic, city-focused car with a frugal diesel and plenty of room for four. It looks great, is well priced and with plenty of features – but it’s starting to show its age inside. Whether it’s worth the asking price is questionable, given the better features, room, and interior design offered by newer competitors.
Mitsubishi ASX XLS AWD diesel, priced from $39,990 drive away