Tuesday 28 January 2020

ASX-FACTOR Mitsubishi's crossover is lighter, brighter and more efficient

Mitsubishi do some things fantastically well – banging their own drum is not one of them.

Mention the words 4x4 and you'll be immediately bombarded with endorsements from satisfied customers including farmers, builders, and indeed mountain rescue teams.

Tonka-toy tales of indestructibility while tackling treacherous terrain are all par for the course.

Iconic names like Pajero, Outlander and L200 are synonymous with 'man driving' and proper off-roading.

Equally in awe are we of its racing pedigree with enthusiastic car fans gushing about the supercar power and handling of the epic Evolution, now in its 10th generation.

But mention bread and butter models like the Space Star (which replaced the Colt) or the mega ASX crossover SUV and there's barely a whimper.



Granted, when it was launched back in 2010, the massive basking shark like snout wasn't the prettiest but then its nemesis (the Qashqai) was no raving beauty either.

What it lacked in dashing good looks it more than made up for in drive dynamic, build quality and fuel economy.

Three years on and 250,000 sales worldwide, it's time for a bit of nip and tuck.

The front gets a less aggressive 'smiley' face complimented by the use of thicker chrome around the grille and scooped inlays around the fog lamp units.

At the back the changes are a little more subtle with a sculpted rear bumper and slightly higher looking flanks.

Because the new ASX is built on the same platform as the Outlander and has shorter overhangs the inside is noticeably bigger.

The cabin is airy with plenty of room for a couple of kids and a dog if not three six-footers on a golf outing.

There is more than enough room in the boot for several sets of clubs as well as the weekly shop with a pram and buggy in tow.

The dash is simple and to the point although the voice-controlled bluetooth only took instructions in German.

Thanks Geronimo (another scallywag journalist) who reprogrammed the bloody thing.

The level of standard kit though is heroic with 16-inch alloys, hill start assist, bluetooth with voice control, automatic air con, cruise control, privacy glass, fog lamps, electric/heated folding door mirrors, roof rails, rear spoiler and adjustable multi-function leather steering wheel. Drive-wise the new ASX doesn't disappoint. There is plenty of power and masses of torque from the diesel engine which tackles every day tasks with ease.

Thanks to a revamped multi-link suspension the comfort and ride is vastly better as is the reduced body roll.

The new offering is available here in two engines, a 1.6 litre, 117bhp petrol and a 1.8 litre, 116bhp diesel – both generating 137g/km and costing €180 in road tax.

Because of the reduced weight fuel consumption has dropped further with the petrol achieving 47mpg (6.0l/100km) and the oil burner an even more impressive best -in-class 56mpg (up from 49mpg) or 5.0l/100km.

The only real gripe is the blandness of the dash, the absence of the spare wheel (which is becoming more usual than unusual these days) and the option to change the phone voice control to German, Portuguese, Russian or even Romanian– which my 10-year-old son found hilarious.

But the one thing that's sure to put a smile on your face is the unrivalled 8-year warranty or 150,000kms (whichever comes first) which comes with the car and is transferable to any new owner.

Now that is worth banging your own drum about.

Prices for the Mitsubishi ASX start at €23,950 with the diesel costing €26,950.

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