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Mitsubishi ASX puts on brave face in tough sector

PUBLISHED: 14:27 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:28 18 April 2017

Facelifted Mitsubishi ASX gets  a boxier interpretation of the Outlanders Dynamic Shield front end. Picture: Mitsubishi

Facelifted Mitsubishi ASX gets a boxier interpretation of the Outlanders Dynamic Shield front end. Picture: Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi has facelifted its mid-size crossover, but is it enough to bring it up to date? James Fossdyke finds out.

Mitsubishi ASX compact sport utility vehicle has been given a dramatic makeover for a fresh look. Picture: MitsubishiMitsubishi ASX compact sport utility vehicle has been given a dramatic makeover for a fresh look. Picture: Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi has taken a more drastic approach to updating its smallest sport utility vehicle, the ASX, than before.

Underneath, it’s the same car with 1.6-litre and 2.2-litre petrol and diesel engines. On the outside, though, it has been modernised with a new front end, while an updated cabin makes it feel like a slightly higher-quality product.

Looks and image

Mitsubishi ASX's interior quality has also been improved. Picture: MitsubishiMitsubishi ASX's interior quality has also been improved. Picture: Mitsubishi

The bulk of the changes are to the bodywork, with a boxier interpretation of the Outlander’s ‘Dynamic Shield’ front end. It’s quite a divisive.

Further back, it’s much more as it was before. The proportions give it the impression of being planted and stable while still high-riding, roomy and rugged. It isn’t especially exciting, but it’s a solid, no-nonsense piece of design for which there is much to be said.

The cabin is improved with softer plastics on the dashboard and a centre console that feels less of an afterthought.

It still seems a little bit old, though, with the dials and steering wheel beginning to show their age and plenty of slightly hard plastics on the door cards.

Space and practicality

The 442-litre boot is competitive – 65 litres bigger than the Toyota C-HR, around 25 litres more than the Skoda Yeti but slightly less than Honda’s HR-V.

Space in the rear seats is decent, with sufficient head and legroom for adults, and although a six-footer would probably feel the effects of a long journey back there, there’s bags of room for kids.

Behind the wheel

Despite the impressive credentials of the ASX’s platform, it doesn’t have the joie de vivre of the Evo on which it is based. It’s not bad, but it’s competing with cars that handle better than you might expect in this class, and it falls a little short, let down by inert steering, a slightly sluggish automatic transmission and a lack of composure over severe potholes.

With a slightly less exuberant driving style, the ASX feels more competent and the light steering makes it’s easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces.

The 150PS 2.2-litre diesel is relatively economical but roars at high revs. Officially, it returns 48.7mpg and emits 152g/km of carbon dioxide – not bad with four-wheel-drive and automatic transmission.

Value for money

ASX prices start at a reasonable £15,999 and that entry-level spend will get you toys such as alloy wheels, air conditioning and a USB port. At upwards of £28,000, the all-singing, all-dancing automatic flagship ASX 5 with leather upholstery, smart interior mats, reversing camera and extra USB ports is still well kitted out.

The best value is ASX 4 which costs a little less but includes most of the same equipment.

Final say

The ASX caters for those looking either for a capable small SUV or a high-riding hatchback. It makes a reasonable job of this but is just edged out by rivals.

SPEC AND TECH

Price: Mitsubishi ASX 5 2.2D 4WD Auto £28,349(range from £15,999)

Engine: 2.2-litre, 150PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Performance: 0-62mph 10.8 seconds; top speed 118mph

MPG: 48.7 combined

CO2 emissions: 152g/km

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