Expert Reviews

First drive: Mitsubishi ASX

Friday 27 January 2017

First drive: Mitsubishi ASX
Summary

The Mitsubishi ASX hasn’t exactly been making a great name for itself since its launch. Following a facelift in 2015, the Japanese manufacturer decided that there was still more work to be done, and has once again attempted to bring the small SUV up to speed with the likes of the Skoda Yeti and the Fiat 500X.

Beneath the surface, not much has changed.The Evo-derived platform remains, as does the mix of 1.6-litre and 2.2-litre petrol and diesel engines. The exterior, however, has been treated to a new front end and the cabin now has a more premium feel to it as well.

Looks & Image

The majority of the ASX’s changes have been implemented on the bodywork. The front end now wears a boxier iteration of the ‘Dynamic Shield’ design that features on the larger Outlander.

Unfortunately, the ASX doesn’t really pull its new look off that well. To our eyes, at least, it is slightly over-styled and generally looks a bit too busy. Beauty is, however, in the eye of the beholder.

Moving towards the back of the car, the updated ASX largely retains the same shape as its predecessor. The proportions give an impression of stability, yet with a high-riding and roomy interior.

In the cabin, you can see where Mitsubishi designers have done their work – even if it is only a slight improvement. Mildly softer plastics adorn the dashboard, while the centre console also feels like less of an afterthought.

That said, certain parts of the interior are starting to feel dated.  The steering wheel and dials look commonplace, while the hard plastics on the door cards don’t add to the cabin’s ambience.

Space & Practicality

A 442-litre boot means the ASX is competitive in the segment, offering 65 litres more storage space than the Toyota C-HR and roughly 25 litres more than the Skoda Yeti. That said, though, the Honda HR-V does offer slightly more.

The rear seats are also fairly spacious, with plenty of head- and legroom for adult passengers. Passengers over six foot will likely feel a bit uncomfortable after a while, but there’s loads of room for children.

Behind the Wheel

Just because the ASX uses the same platform as the old Evo, don’t expect it to be as exciting to drive. While it isn’t bad, it’s competitors tend to handle a lot better than it can manage.

Rather lifeless steering, a slow automatic transmission and little composure over more uneven surfaces stack up against the ASX. Unfortunately, the diesel engine isn’t terribly refined either, and causes a racket further up the rev range.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine we tested also offers up fairly decent economy, even though it’s the 148bhp range-topper. Official figures state that it can manage 48.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 152g/km – not too bad for an automatic four-wheel-drive.

Value for Money

The ASX is priced from £15,999, which will still get you standard features such as alloy wheels, air conditioning and a USB port.

The flagship ASX 5 that we tested is priced from £28,000. This adds in features such as a panoramic glass roof, Nappa leather upholstery, attractive interior mats, a reversing camera and additional USB ports.

The pick of the range, however, would be the ASX 4. This model is slightly cheaper than the 5 and includes most of the same equipment.

Who would buy one ?

Those in the market for either a small SUV or a hatchback with a greater ride height should certainly consider the ASX, if only as a benchmark by which to gauge its competitors’ superiority. While it might be a new car, it manages to feel dated and old-fashioned – characteristics that unfortunately aren’t covered up by a new front end.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Mitsubishi ASX 5 2.2D 4WD Auto

Engine: 2.2-litre turbodiesel (148bhp, 360Nm)

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Performance: 0-60mph in 10.6 seconds, 118mph top speed

Economy: 48.7mpg

Emissions: 152g/km

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