By now every maker of a vehicle that even vaguely resembles an SUV must be looking at Australia as a market they just have to tap into. Our love of SUVs … in all shapes and sizes must be a lure for some manufacturers that’s just too hard to resist.
Mitsubishi is no stranger to the Australian SUV market and now they want an even bigger slice of that market. To achieve that they’ve introduced the Mitsubishi ASX … an SUV that fits somewhere between the Lancer and the Outlander and, if the advertising is anything to go by, the ASX is aimed squarely at urban dwellers who probably don’t have kids.
On the outside the ASX five-door wagon has followed just about every other SUV maker’s move away from the boxy SUV shape that was the norm for many years and it comes with sweeping curves and a smooth profile. On the inside there are plenty of creature comforts and all the looks and feel of a quality sedan.
The Mitsubishi ASX comes in three variations … the ASX 2WD, the ASX 4WD and the ASX Aspire. Standard equipment across the range includes automatic climate control air conditioning with air filter, cruise control, front and rear electric windows and exterior mirrors, an electric tailgate opener, AM/FM radio/CD/MP3 player with auxiliary and USB inputs and variable intermittent windscreen wipers.
The engine and transmission
The Mitsubishi ASX is available in both two and all-wheel drive configurations with a three different engines and manual or automatic transmission. While the ASX comes with an all-new 1.8-litre diesel engine it’s not available in all models and not with the automatic transmission
The only engine available on the ASX 2WD is a 2.0-litre petrol engine coupled to either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic gearbox and prices start at $25,990 (excluding statutory and dealer costs).
The ASX 4WD does have the new diesel but only with a six-speed manual gearbox and if you want the petrol version of the ASX 4WD then you’ll have to settle for the automatic transmission. Prices for the ASX 4WD start at $31,990 (excluding statutory and dealer costs) for the manual version.
At the top of the range you have the ASX Aspire with either the 1.8-litre diesel engine or the 2.0-litre petrol engine but once again there’s no automatic transmission with the diesel engine and no manual transmission with the petrol engine.
However the automatic ASX does have what Mitsubishi calls “virtual ratios” that the driver can select for “sports performance” and the automatic Aspire features paddle shifts mounted on the steering column.
Fuel consumption figures range from 5.9L/100km for the diesel engine to 8.1L/100km for the all-wheel drive versions fitted with the petrol engine. The two-wheel drive version returns 7.7L/100km.
The Mitsubishi ASX comes with Mitsubishi’s proprietary Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution system that integrates and interconnects structural elements to provide even more protection for passengers during an accident. Mitsubishi claims that this system disperses the energy generated during an accident … whether it be from the front, rear or side … and controls distortion.
The ASX also comes with Active Stability Control, Active Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution, Brake Assist, Emergency Stop System and seven airbags.
The ASX comes with cloth trimmed seats front and rear in the base and mid-range models while the Aspire is fitted with leather seat trim. The driver’s seat offers forward/rear adjustment and height adjustment (power operated in the Aspire model).
The backs of the front and rear seats recline and the rear seats split 60/40 to allow more luggage space. There are tie-down hooks in the luggage space and there’s 416 litres of luggage space with all seats in the upright position. With the rear seats folded down there’s 1193 litres of luggage space.
Automatic climate control, cruise control, front and rear electric windows and exterior mirrors, electric tailgate opener and AM/FM radio/CD/MP3 player with auxiliary inputs are standard across the ASX range but Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel mounted audio controls and rear parking sensors and fog lights are standard on all 4WD versions and optional on the ASX 2WD.
The ASX Aspire comes with even more creature comforts and things that are useful for the driver including a heated front seats, keyless entry and start, rain-sensing automatic wipers, dusk sensing headlights and a sun roof. The Aspire also has onboard navigation, a reversing camera and an upgraded sound system.
How will all that compare with other SUVs at this end of the market? Well when it comes to buying a motor vehicle the things that matter are more subjective than objective so if you’re thinking of buying a Mitsubishi ASX be sure to take one for an extended test drive before you sign on the dotted line.