Mitsubishi ASX Exceed: Price minus performance

ASXWhat is it?

Exceed is the range topper of a recently overhauled ASX range.

With seven models it offers superb choice for buyers, with a new face that brings it into line with the rest of the Mitsubishi family.

It’s still a compact, five-door small SUV, but no longer has that squat, dumpy look, thanks to an inwardly angled nose and goggle-eyed headlights.

The so-called shield nose gives it more presence, and complements the slightly rejigged tail light cluster.

ASXWhat’s it cost?

There’s good reason why ASX is hot property in its segment.

The range starts with the ES at just $24,990, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and manual transmission. 

The top of the range Exceed is currently offered for $35,990 driveaway.

That includes a seven-year warranty and two-year free servicing, making it a value-packed proposition.

A reasonable equipment list includes audio from renowned heavy hitter Rockford Fosgate.

There’s some serious punch thanks to a cargo area mounted sub-woofer, and the whole system provides a well balanced sound stage, with good clear treble, and some excellent vocals in the mid-range.

Auto headlights and auto wipers start the driver assistance side of things.

An electrochromatic (fancy word for auto-dimming) rear vision mirror helps at night, especially in squally weather. 

A rear-view camera is standard and rear sensors back that up.

Safety is good with all of the required features, such as Forward Collision Mitigation, Blind Spot Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Change Assist, along with seven airbags including a driver’s knee bag.

Front seat seatbelt pretensioners and a pair of ISOFIX seat mounts for the rear seats are also standard.

A revamped 8.0 inch touchscreen makes for a cleaner interface and more user friendly interaction.

DAB, satnav, Android and Apple apps, and Bluetooth streaming are included.

The seats up front are heated, not vented — but venting is because of a full-length glass roof.

They’re trimmed in leather look vinyl, but lack support — you sit ON them, not IN them.

The doors and dash have a similar look, but lack padding for soft touch.

In terms of presence, it’s generally lacking against competitors and really needs a revamp.

That, we’re sure, will come with the next model. Right, Mitsubishi?

Space-wise it manages to squeeze in 921mm of leg room and 934mm of head room for second row passengers, with 1056mm/988mm in front.

Shoulder room is not an issue with over 1400mm each for front and rear seats.

The tail gate is manual, despite being the range topper and reveals 1143 litres of cargo space.

The rear lights retain the same shape, but the look is different with a move to LED.

It’s the shield face, with full LED lighting, and quad light clusters for indicators and fog lights, in the lower corners, that brings a whole new presence to the ASX range.

The flanks are broken up to lighten the look.

The front guards feature a black plastic and chromed insert, marking the beginning of a line that runs to the rear door handles, highlighting the lower set position of the front door handles.

The rear wheel arch is more rounded than the flatter sides of the front arch.

All purpose Bridgestone Ecopia 225/55/18 inch rubber wraps distinctively styled, 10-spoke black painted and machined alloys.

There are eight colours available and the review car was in Mitsubishi’s signature Lightning Blue metallic.

ASXWhat’s it go like?

Exceed runs a 2.4-litre MIVEC engine with CVT-style auto.

By the way, there is no longer a diesel and we’re yet to see a hybrid option.

Power is 124kW, with torque a seemingly good 222Nm. That rolls in at 4100rpm.

It’s not a heavy car at 1390kg dry weight nor is it a big ‘un, at 4365mm in length. 

The CVT offers a Low range style gear or Sports mode, and this is best used for a standing start, and climbing even moderate slopes.

Left in Drive, a snail would be quicker. The CVT saps almost every erg of energy the engine puts out, making it feel as enthusiastic as a toddler falling asleep.

Sports mode unlocks the chains and the Exceed shows what it can be capable of.

It’s spritely, energetic, with real spritz and verve.  The engine will flare past 4000rpm in an eyeblink and is quite raucous in doing so.

The CVT still feels as if it’s holding back performance, but it’s a world away from the standard drive mode.

Economy is a winner though.

On our drive loop we saw a worst of 6.3L/100km.

With a 63-litre tank, it takes standard 91RON petrol and rated at 7.9L/100km. 

It’s no longer all-wheel drive nor is there a choice of drive modes such as Mud or Snow.

The suspension needs work on lateral stability.

The MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear setup does a decent enough job on a flat, straight surface, but a slight curve and a rut have either end skipping, noticeably and appreciably — sideways.

There’s more kickback than there should be through the steering rack too.

Otherwise, the suspension does a good enough job of damping most irregularities — however, it’s a short travel setup.

Hit the bigger speedbumps around schools and shopping centres and the front end crashes on to the bump stops.

The steering is light but doesn’t feel over-assisted, which makes for nimble movement on the road.

Brakes are also light, with sufficient feedback to let you know what’s required.

ASXWhat we like?

  • It’s a better looker
  • Rockford Fosgate provides an epic sound
  • Economy is excellent

ASXWhat we don’t like?

  • CVT saps performance
  • Seats need venting
  • Interior is fading

ASXThe bottom line?

It’s a backwards step, in our humble opinion — dropping the diesel and drive mode selections.

The CVT . . . gee . . . just no. A transmission should be good enough on its own — you shouldn’t have to rely on Sport mode.

With the new nose, it’s an attractive looking car and there’s no doubt the pricing is an absolute winner. 

But in its latest form, the ASX has become merely a transportation device, suitable for those that don’t need a CAR — just a means to get from A to B.


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Mitsubishi ASX Exceed, priced from $32,990
  • Looks - 7/10
  • Performance - 5/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
  • Thirst - 8.5/10
  • Practicality - 7.5/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
  • Tech - 7.5/10
  • Value - 7/10

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