Test Drive by Graham Breeze
The ASX has been a global success for Mitsubishi and while the company has been heavily promoting Outlander PHEV technology the ASX has quietly been freshened up.
With over 1,100,000 units produced since launch in 2010 it’s easy to see why Mitsubishi is keen to see the ASX continue to bring home the cash and now it sports the latest interpretation of the company’s “Dynamic Shield” identity.
Dynamic Shield is meant to symbolise the reassuring safety inherent to Mitsubishi Motors’ SUVs, with bold chromed streaks on either side of the grille to create a 3D suggestion of motion.
In the ASX, the front bumper has been altered to accommodate the chrome streaks while the central section was blacked-out to mimic the new Outlander. Other noticeable changes see the upper grille now made of thin black horizontal slats and connecting with the headlamps for an integrated look.
ASX fits firmly into the small SUV sector where there’s a lot of competition and is the company’s most mainstream offering to date with a choice of petrol or diesel engines and two and four-wheel drive on offer.
It’s surprising shorter than a lot in the sector but has a roomy cabin, plenty of back seat space and more than enough room for the golf clubs.
There’s a choice of three trim levels and while the cabin lacks the quality finish of some of the opposition you’d be hard pressed to find a car with a clearer instrument panel.
There’s an entry-level 1.6-litre petrol in just two-wheel-drive form only to suit most tastes but you can step up to 1.8-litre or 2.2 litre diesel if low-rev muscle is on your agenda.
On the road soft suspension means the ride is good enough as Mitsubishi has geared the ASK towards comfort and not sport, though the price you pay means you do bounce around a bit when things get a bit bumpy.
If you’re an SUV buyer you will be looking for a high driving position and you get just that from the ASX with slim pillars and a clear view ahead, though rear visibility isn’t quite as good particularly with three passengers on board. Large door mirrors do help though.
You get xenon headlights, rear parking sensors and automatic headlights, on all models except at entry level and top-spec cars also have a rear-view camera.
There’s Bluetooth connectivity on all models but the base car lacks a lot that rivals throw in as standard, such as steering wheel controls. Sat-nav systems and DAB radios are kept back for the top-of-the-range specs.
With a starting price of £15,999 the ASX is cheaper than many sector rivals -but you could pay as much as £28,349 for the top-of-the-range four wheel drive offering.
The good news is that there will be some attractive discount deals to be had and Mitsubishi has always had very good re-sale values while on the negative side CO2 emissions are high across the range, a deterrent for company car driver.
All versions come with anti-whiplash head restraints, front, side and curtain airbags and one for the driver’s knees, brake assist, stability control and an emergency-stop signal system. All versions also get locking wheel nuts, a Thatcham-approved alarm and deadlocks.
It really has been a freshening up exercise rather than a re-launch and you are left feeling that Mitsubishi could and should have gone a bit further if they are to increase sales in the small SUV sector.