The small SUV market in this country is growing the ASX is Mitsubishi’s entry into the segment.
With more and more people turning to the small SUV as a family car I was interested to see how the ASX would shape up as a family during the week I had it.
I’m driving the base model driven by a 2.0L petrol engine and backed by CVT auto.
On the outside the ASX wears the Mitsubishi family face and does resemble it’s Lancer stable mate with it’s squared off wide mouth grille.
Step inside and you are greeted with an interior that seems very familiar and once again reminds me of the Lancer and while is not exactly exciting it is very functional and all the switches are in good position and very easy to find and to use.
The dash is an abundance of hard plastics which may not be to some peoples liking (doesn’t worry me as much), the fit and finish looked to be very good.
The steering wheel is somewhat comfortable to hold but a little too thin for my liking, it does however have buttons for the cruise control, audio system and phone so it does mean not having to take your hands off the wheel while driving.
The instrument panel features a tacho and speedo which are both easy to read and LCD in between that can display various functions like fuel economy via a button on the dash.
The centre stack contains the 6.1in touch screen for the audio system which I found not as easy to use as others there are on the market. The Bluetooth and hands free calling was the exception and didn’t take me long to have my phone paired.
The cloth seats are comfortable enough and were a welcome change hopping into the car and not burning yourself on leather, rear seats offered decent enough leg room and I didn’t get any complaints from my kids as far as comfort wise.
The boot offers reasonable storage of 416L and you can get a decent sized shopping trip in there for those bigger items the back seats does fold flat to give you an 1193L capacity.
On the road the ASX handles not bad for the type vehicle it is, on smooth roads its rides smooth and rides rather well on the bumpy sections as well. There is a bit of lean when pushing through corners but really the car doesn’t entice you enough to try anything remotely spirited so you don’t really notice it that much.
The steering is little boring as in the fact it doesn’t offer a lot of feel it is however light which makes wheeling it around tight car parks a dream which is really where I can it spending a bit of time.
Under the bonnet is powered by a 2.0L 4cyl pushing out Kw and nM of torque and while if does offer decent economy, it does struggle like most cars I review when in bumper to bumper go nowhere traffic. But once the traffic starts to move the economy is quiet good and saw figures around the L/100km mark, On the freeway I can return decent figures and I saw the economy get down to the low 8’s.
Although if you are looking for any sort of performance I would look in other places, quite frankly I found the performance rather boring indeed. The family joke during the week was you could put your put down and fall asleep before you reach 60km/h.
The CVT auto or (Constant Variable Transmission) is a real downer, instead of having gears like a normal transmission it basically adjusts itself between 2 ratios depending upon throttle position, so when a normal transmission may kick down a gear when you put your foot down all the CVT does as increase the revs and it absolutely sounds terrible. I had to put my foot a couple of times and all it basically seemed to do was make the engine rev harder without actually going a lot quicker, give me a proper auto or dual clutch transmission any day.
Safety wise the ASX has received a 5 star ANCAP safety rating and as you would expect is full of safety features such as Driver & front passenger side SRS airbags, Curtain SRS airbags, Driver knee airbag, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Power brake booster with emergency brake assist system, Active Stability Control (ASC), Active Traction Control (ATC), Hill Start Control (HSC), Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body, Intrusion minimising brake pedal, Reverse parking sensors, 3 point Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR), Seatbelt warning lamp for driver & front passenger, ISO-Fix child seat mountings, Shift lock with key interlock (CVT Automatic).
The ASX also gets bonus points for having a rear view camera as well that still isn’t standard fit on some cars in this segment.
After a week in the ASX I was somewhat confused it’s decent enough vehicle to use as a second family car during the week and does return decent economy figures, its light steering makes it easy to wheel around those tight shopping centre car parks.
But the big let down for me was the drivetrain the engine was lack less for my liking and the CVT transmission was just plain annoying.
Some people may be able to live with that drivetrain but I couldn’t, the ASX however is available with a diesel engine backed by a proper auto transmission that I’ve been told drive better and returns better economy so there is some hope. But I haven’t driven one so I can’t say for sure.
To me the ASX doesn’t do anything exceptionally good but in saying that it doesn’t do anything exceptionally bad either.
The Base model tested here is well equipped so it does offer some value for money and can be reasonable on fuel but for me the driveline makes it fall a bit short of some other cars on the market.
For more information on the ASX range check out the Mitsubishi website http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au/