Mitsubishi’s ASX has just received another facelift to keep it up with the competition. We drove it for a week to see if it stacked up.
It’s getting increasingly difficult to stand out in SA’s ever-growing crossover segment. Everyone is getting in on the game and it takes something mighty special to make the public sit up and pay attention.
At first glance the Mitsubishi ASX is not a special car. In fact, one could be forgiven for forgetting about its existence in the first place. I’ve certainly overlooked it previously when writing about contenders in this segment, but luckily we have the Buyer’s Guide at the back of the magazine. It is quite a handy tool, even for those of us who work here!
When I first walked up to the ASX I wondered who would go for this particular car, considering the wide range of options on the market. The new Qashqai is pretty good overall, the Subaru XV is more stylish and the Suzuki SX4 also does a pretty decent job of crossing over whatever people in crossovers cross over.
Then I drove home in silence, mostly because it was already dark and I was just in the mood for some silence. It fared pretty well that day, because it does exactly what it says on the box. It’s a comfortable and easy to drive crossover, which is equally at home in town as it is on the open road. I also noted that the fuel gauge wasn’t in a hurry to retreat down to empty, so I made a mental note to reset the trip computer and check the fuel consumption the next day.
In the morning I finally discovered the ASX’s two stand-out features. Its 2,0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is a peach and the Rockford Fosgate sound system is even better.
The engine delivers 110kW and 197Nm of torque, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but the ASX isn’t a lot of car to move around. Couple that power to a smooth shifting five-speed manual gearbox, and you have the makings of a nippy little crossover. I quite liked driving it, but the same can be said of its competitors as well.
The sound system makes things a little more complicated, because no other crossover in its segment offers such a powerful entertainment system. It’s endlessly adjustable and delivers a sound quality that I’ve previously experienced only in vehicles costing three times as much as the ASX.
Setting up the Bluetooth link was a minor irritation, but it’s luckily something you only have to do once.
Other than that, my time behind the wheel of the ASX was rather unspectacular, mostly because it’s a good car with few faults. It fails to grab the imagination but then again, I don’t think it was ever intended to do so.
With prices starting at just under R300 000, the ASX represents exceptional value for money. For an added R43 000 you can have one with all the goodies, and in this case we urge you to shell out the extra cash.
It’s no small wonder that this is Mitsubishi’s best-selling vehicle in SA. It ticks all the right boxes at a reasonable price. Now if Mitsu could only do something about the rest of its outdated model range…
The ASX 2.0 GL’s feature highlights include dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, LED tail lights, a rear spoiler, front fog lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels with 215/65 tyres, electric windows all round, electric folding side mirrors, a multi-function leather-bound steering wheel with rake and reach adjustment, manual air conditioning, cruise control, a multi-info trip computer, rear parking sensors, remote central locking and a six-speaker multi-media audio system which includes CD, radio and USB support as well as Bluetooth and voice control.
The mid-range Mitsubishi ASX 2.0 GLX features enhanced specifications on top of standard GL equipment, including the new LED daytime running lights, new 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/60 tyres, a panoramic glass roof with LED illumination, leather upholstery, electric driver’s seat adjustment, heated front seats, automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, touch screen radio, a reversing camera and a keyless operation system with one-touch start.
The range-topping ASX 2.0 GLS models raise the bar even higher with the addition of HID headlamps (CVT derivatives only), an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, integrated lights on the side mirrors, Active Stability Control and Electronic Traction Control, and Hill Start Assist. In line with Mitsubishi tradition, the GLS manual is available as standard with a fully-fledged nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium audio system. This is an option on the CVT model.