One for the Money
When Nissan launched the Qashqai, they could never have imagined how big the market would turn out to be for quasi SUVs. Today every manufacturer and his dog have a Qashqai rival, but of all those who do, one brand Mitsubishi has a model which may just have gone under your radar, even though it benefits from Mitsubishis vast experience of rugged, working 4X4s coupled with saloon-like handling and great fuel economy.
Launched in 2010, Mitsubishi’s ASX was updated & improved in late 2016. Launched initially as a response to the new niche in the market created by the Qashqai, Mitsubishi had a very good attempt at matching Nissan’s creation, but like the Mk1 Qashqai, after 6 years, the ASX needed updating.
The latest design of the Mitsubishi ASX gets a sleek new look courtesy of Mitsubishi new “Dynamic Shield” visual identity, with bold chromed streaks sitting either side of the grille, shielding the three diamond mark.There’s also a shark-fin antenna, revised seat cushions, new seat upholstery across the range & a new “Lightning Blue” colour option. Variant names in the new ASX range have also been changed, returning to the straightforward ASX 2, ASX 3, ASX 4 and ASX 5 format, with changes to the trim levels too.
The Mitsubishi ASX 2 is the entry-point to the ASX range, with standard equipment including 16″ alloy wheels; front fog lamps; air con; Bluetooth; a USB port with iPhone compatibility; a leather-trimmed steering wheel; multifunction colour instrument display; electric windows front & rear; rear privacy glass & arm rests for front and rear occupants. Safety equipment includes Mitsubishi Active Stability and Traction Control (M-ASTC), Hill Start Assist & seven airbags as standard. The Mitsubishi ASX 2 1.6 petrol 117hp has a list price of £15,999.
Next up the ASX3 adds two-tone 18″ alloys; black wheel-arch garnishes; automatic climate control; keyless entry and operation; cruise control; automatic light & rain sensors; xenon super-HID ‘wide vision’ headlamps with washers; DAB radio & Bluetooth music streaming; auto-dimming rear view mirror; heated front seats; electric-folding door mirrors & a reversing camera. The Mitsubishi ASX 3 1.6 petrol is priced from £18,349 with the ASX 3 1.6 turbo diesel is priced from £20,349.
The Mitsubishi ASX 4 features 4WD as standard & also includes leather upholstery, black roof rails, an aluminium pedal kit; a panoramic glass roof & the Mitsubishi Multi Communication System (MMCS), which includes a 7″ HD touch-screen display, satellite navigation, DAB, CD player, SD card compatibility & reversing camera. The Mitsubishi Outlander ASX 4 1.6 turbo diesel 4WD is priced from £24,249 while the ASX 4 2.2 turbo diesel automatic 4WD is priced from £25,649.
The ASX5 tops the range & this model comes with seats trimmed in rich Nappa leather available in a choice of three colours – Claret Red, Porcelain Cream or Gunmetal Grey; heated rear seats; a power-adjusted driver’s seat; twin rear USB charging ports; LED interior lighting & front-door entry guards. The Mitsubishi ASX 5 1.6 turbo diesel 4WD will retail from £26,949 in January 2017 and the top-of-the-range ASX 5 2.2 turbo diesel automatic 4WD will be priced at £28,349.
Entry level ASX 2 1.6 petrol 117hp has a list price of £15,999, which is very competitive, with the most fleet-friendly model that I was testing, the ASX3 1.6 turbo diesel priced from £20,349.
As a family we were going on a long journey over the weekend that I tested the ASX & it proved to be both a comfortable & frugal companion, with an average fuel consumption for just under 500 miles of 50.2 mpg. Even though it had a 1.6 diesel engine it drove like most others ‘two-litre plus’ diesels and the torque in particular was pleasing on the motorway. Around town the ASX was also a good performer, although there is no mistaking you’re in a high-sided car, with a bit of body lean on the tightest corners. This however, was more than compensated by the power steering, which was light and responsive.
The ASX with a Euro NCAP 5 stars, has every safety feature known fitted across the range: whiplash reducing seats, up to seven air bags, ABS with EBD and Brake Assisi, Active Stability Control, Hill Start Assist and an Emergency Stop signal system.
On the environment front, the ASX has as standard Auto Stop and Go, regenerative brakes, low rolling resistance tyres, low viscosity oil, LED lighting and weight reduction measures. All help make the ASX a competitive choice regarding emissions and economy. In terms of fuel economy & emissions, the 1.6 turbo diesel with front-wheel drive produces CO2 emission of just 119g/km & is capable of 61.4 mpg on the official combined fuel economy cycle, whilst 4WD versions produce 132g/km & return 56.5 mpg.
Perhaps the ASX’s greatest strength is inside, with superb space. It shares it’s wheelbase with the larger Outlander, which means there is plenty of room for five adults & accompanying luggage. Indeed, as an Alfa Romeo Giulietta driver, I was aware of just how small a five-door hatch can be when compared to the ASX & its ilk.
Inside, the dashboard and controls & importantly, the SatNav were easy to understand and use. Bluetooth was easy to connect to as well. The cabin fixtures & fittings fell easily to hand & were well designed & of good quality. In common with a lot of cars I drive, there were some cheap feeling finishes on both the glove box & door pockets, an area where car manufacturers must all cut corners. Having said that, the cheaper plastics are often the hardest wearing in my experience so perhaps it’s a deliberate ploy rather than cost saving exercise,
Could I live with an ASX day to day ? I most certainly could & felt that the ASX really is an impressive car. However, whilst the changes Mitsubishi have made to the ASX have improved it, those made by it’s competitors have improved their models also. Mitsubishi is not at the top table in this category, with the likes of the Seat Ateca, VW Tiguan & the originator Nissan Qashqai all offering compelling reasons to buy. Add in a new Mazda CX-5 out later this year & the competition gets tougher. On the plus side, it may not be as common as a Qashqai but the ASX offers a much more complete experience than the Nissan being closer to a real 4X4 in how it performs & most importantly, the entire range & what you get for your money means that all versions of the ASX are attractively priced.
A Comfortable 3 out of 5.