On the road

First drives: Mitsubishi ASX

The fundamental mechanics of the Mitsubishi ASX may date back 10 years to its original release, but its third major face-lift goes more than skin deep.

The new ASX has a raft of improvements and new features across the current models, with two new variants joining the line-up.

All models across the range have new sheet metal from the A pillars forward, the latest iteration of the ‘Dynamic Shield’ grille and fascia, as well as LED headlights and external lights. There have also been a few tweaks to the rear, including the bumper and rear lights. Forward collision mitigation (AEB) is now standard in all models too. In the base spec ES you can opt for the ADAS package, which adds lane departure warning, auto high beam, reverse sensors, blind spot warning, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert for $2500. All other models get the suite of ADAS features as standard.

The ES is available in five-speed manual or CVT auto, coupled to a 110kW, 197Nm 2.0L petrol engine. LS and the newly added MR use the same engine but are CVT only. For those who think they would like a bit of extra performance, GSR and Exceed models are fitted with a 2.4L engine, increasing power and torque by 12% and 13% respectively. Keyless entry and start is standard for LS and above models, as well as two USB ports and a handy and safe location for your mobile phone.

Orange Mitsubishi ASX

Front interior of Mitsubishi ASX

MR and GSR variants are new to the range and add a sportier look and feel. Dark alloy wheels, black grille and door mirrors, privacy glass, fog lights, alloy pedals, leather appointed steering wheel, gearshift knob and park brake, and red stitching complete the MR, while the GSR is fitted with black interior headlining, a rear spoiler, paddle shift, six speaker audio along with the larger 2.4L engine. All models get the new 8” multimedia screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the top-of-the-range Exceed includes leather seat trim, four-way power driver’s seat, panoramic glass roof, 18” alloys, navigation and Rockford Fosgate premium audio with a subwoofer located in the cargo area, which does rob a little bit of usable space.

We spent a couple of days cruising country roads and highways in the Exceed and definitely noticed the extra power with the bigger engine.

Making our way through country towns, the 2.4L engine and CVT combination worked exceptionally well together. It rarely flared into the top end of the rev range, which is quite common with CVT autos. Ride handling and comfort aren’t what I’d describe as class-leading, but for the most part they get the job done pretty well. When it comes to fuel economy, the official combined cycle figures are 7.6L/100km for the 2.0L and 7.9L/100km for the 2.4L. However, in my experience this varies when you actually hit the road depending on traffic conditions, vehicle condition, load and how you drive.

ASX comes with Mitsubishi’s five-year warranty and has three-year capped-price servicing with an annual/15,000km cost of $199. Prices start at $24,990 drive away for the entry level ES manual, add $1750 for the auto. The new GSR with 2.4L auto is $32,240 drive away, while the top of the range Exceed is $35,740 drive away.

ASX has been the leading vehicle in the small SUV category for many years. With each model in the range offering pretty good value for money, it’s not hard to see why so many have found homes in Australian driveways.

 

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