By Steve Berry
THE Mitsubishi ASX has had a facelift recently and also received a new 1.6 diesel engine choice that should boost the appeal of this compact SUV – but is it enough to worry rivals?
The ASX looks more purposeful; more 4×4 than rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage but the new SEAT Ateca matches it in this respect and will possibly be its main competition.
At the front, the ASX has been brought into line with the Outlander and Outlander PHEV with its ‘Dynamic Shield’ styling. There are a couple of bonnet bulges and a shark’s fin aerial but apart from that, nothing much has changed outwardly.
Inside, the ASX hasn’t changed much either which means it still looks a little functional rather than stylish with some plastics, lower down in the cabin, being decidedly low-rent.
The base ASX 2 comes with alloy wheels, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, Active Stability and Traction Control plus seven airbags.
The ASX 3 adds two-tone 18-inch alloys plus black wheel-arch garnishes, climate control, push-start button, privacy glass, front fog lamps, cruise control and six speakers. The car also benefits from a keyless operation system, auto light and rain sensors, plus Xenon super-wide HID headlamps with auto levelling and headlamp washers. It also comes with a reversing camera.
Step up to the ASX 4 to add leather upholstery, 4WD and optional automatic transmission plus an aluminium pedal kit and panoramic glass roof. This car has a factory-fitted Mitsubishi Multi Communication System (MMCS), satellite navigation, DAB and FM/AM/LW radio, CD player, SD card compatibility and reversing camera.
Top-spec ASX 5 includes a Nappa leather interior, a premium carpet mat set and boot mat with colour-coded piping to match the leather interior, heated rear seats, twin rear USB charging ports, LED mood lighting, LED interior lights and front-door entry guards.
There is a choice of 3 engines, 1 petrol and 2 diesels. I’ve been driving an ASX 4 with the new 1.6 D-id Turbo diesel and AWD which looks very good in Orient Red metallic and contrasting chrome trim.
The driving position is very good and the driver’s seat and steering wheel have all the adjustment you will need to get comfortable.
The infotainment screen works well with buttons for all the common functions so you don’t have to poke at the screen searching for the function you want.
The sound system was just about adequate but the Navigation system works well and is intuitive to use, as is the Bluetooth hands-free system which can be operated from the steering wheel.
Essential driver information is displayed on a new 3.3” colour LCD screen positioned between the main dials.
A large push-button Drive Mode Selector sits just below the gear-lever and allows you to select 2WD for best fuel economy on dry paved roads; 4WD for better traction on slippery surfaces; and LOCK to gain maximum traction in extreme weather conditions or on difficult terrain.
Rear passenger room is good for your average sized adult, although that panoramic sunroof does take up some headroom. Leg room is not quite as good as the Nissan Qashqai and the new SEAT Ateca beats the ASX for rear space too, although the rear seat is quite wide.
Boot space is very good at 442 litres. The 60/40 split seats are easy to fold and when folded don’t leave an awkward lip, which also helps when loading those longer objects.
Driving the ASX is neither satisfying nor thrilling. It doesn’t drive badly but it’s just not very engaging. The 1.6 diesel sounds quite harsh at idle and when moving through the gears it isn’t much better.
The steering feels fine – direct and with enough feedback to instil confidence. However, at motorway speeds there is quite a bit of road-noise and wind noise that doesn’t stop you having a conversation but is more intrusive than on most rivals.
All in all, the Mitsubishi ASX has a lot to offer. It has true 4×4 performance at an attractive price and this new face-lift model adds to the driver appeal too. Definitely worth consideration if you’re in the market for a stylish but rugged AWD vehicle that won’t break the bank.
AT A GLANCE:
Mitsubishi ASX 4 1.6 Diesel 4WD
OTR Price: £24,249
Engine: 1.6 turbo diesel
Power: 114 PS
Transmission: 6-speed manual
0-62mph: 11.5 secs
Top Speed: 111 mph
Combined Economy: 56.5 mpg
CO2: 132 g/km