First impression: Mitsubishi ASX
Let me start with a few interesting facts; not specifically about the car in question here, the Mitsubishi ASX, but rather the market in which the ASX finds itself. Firstly, some 66% of the cars sold in the entry level cross-over segment have 2.0 litre petrol motors; most of them have manual gearboxes; and almost none are All-Wheel-Drive (or 4×4).
Those facts basically shattered my expectation of the market. In the ideal world I’d have guessed most consumers would opt for the more frugal diesel and tick the box for the automatic transmission, given that most of these cars are driven around in traffic by ‘mom’ on her way drop the kids at school. I suppose in that sense the 4×2 option makes the most sense; even though I’d pick the 4×4/AWD one in case I’d like to rough it on weekends.
Anyway, back to the Mitsubishi. No surprises to find that the Japanese firm has decided to only offer a 2.0 litre petrol motor in 4×2 configuration here in South Africa. They will however offer both manual and automatic gearboxes, the latter being a continuously variable transmission (or CVT) as is becoming popular these days.
From the outside you’d be hard pressed to spot what has changed; and that’s because outwardly nothing has. None-the-less the ASX looks sharp and fresh. I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of the nicer crossovers around at the moment if you’re not after something weird and wonderful looking like the Citroen C4 Aircross.
Funny I should mention the Citroen, as the ASX shares its platform (along with the Peugeot 4008) and therefore benefits from the combined expertise of Mitsubishi and a number of European brands, making for an exceptionally well refined vehicle. And because it has been put together by Mitsubishi, an exceptionally well built one too.
Out on the open road the ASX’s 2.0 litre petrol motor is absolutely marvellous. It’s quiet, frugal, powerful and the manual gearbox is equally slick and efficient. With 110kW on tap you’re never left feeling like you’re at the helm of a big barge. My only complaint was that the gear lever itself feels too tall.
Dynamically I wasn’t expecting much and never do from a crossover. Here the Mitsubishi fares fairly. The steering is over assisted at highway-type speeds and lacks some feel, but otherwise there is enough grip to keep you pointing in the right direction and exceptionally well sorted damping in the suspension to provide a subtle ride without allowing excessive body roll. Even while barrelling along some pretty rough dirt roads it maintained composure and never felt uncomfortable.
The ASX’s party piece however is the amount of kit and safety equipment that comes standard with the asking price. There’s a full arsenal of airbags, all manner of safety acronyms, Bluetooth, voice controlled dialling, cruise control, rain sensing wipers, touch screen displays and so the list goes on. Even the audiophiles are catered for with a Rockford Fosgate sound system incorporating a 500W subwoofer plus nine speakers scattered around the cabin.
While Mitsubishi may been seen as a small fish in a rather big pond, I can assure you their ASX shouldn’t be written off so lightly. Pricing is exceptionally competitive, even if you don’t account for all the additional kit it comes with and its 5 year/100 000km service plan. With all that on board it’s an almost unbeatable prospect. So, kept the receipt for that Qashqai/Rav 4 in the driveway did you?
Price: From R284 900 to R349 900
Engine: 1998cc four cylinder petrol
Power (kW): 110
Torque (Nm): 197
Acceleration (0-100km/h): 9.6 (manual)
Top speed (km/h): 194
Fuel Consumption (l/100km): 7.5 (claimed)
First published in Autodealer KZN