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What is it?

The ASX has been one of the mainstays of Mitsubishi’s return to form.

Basically it’s the SUV counterpart of the Lancer sedan, but like many of the vehicles in the current line up the design is rather dated.

Launched way back in 2010, the compact five-seat SUV has been updated many times over the years, with a nip here, a tuck there — but essentially it’s the same car.

The most recent update towards the end of last year, saw a revised grille introduced with integrated LEDs and fog lights, plus a new bumper and tailgate design.

Of note, the ASX shares a platform with the recently released Eclipse Cross and given their similarity in size, the older car may come under threat.

 

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What’s it cost?

ASX represents very good value at its $25K entry point.

Although old it’s still looks terrific and you get plenty of bang for your buck, but it’s difficult to justify the extra cost of the diesel.

At the very least you would have to hang on to the car for several years, otherwise you won’t recoup the premium in fuel savings — put simply the maths don’t work.

ASX comes in five configurations, starting at a price of $25,000 for the front-wheel drive LS with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and five-speed manual transmission.

Optioning a CVT style auto adds $2000.

Next comes LS ADAS, the same model with a CVT and Mitsu’s suite of Advanced Driver-Assist Systems thrown in — priced from $28,500.

It gets auto lights, wipers and rear view mirror, along with Forward Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning and Auto High Beam.

LS AWD Diesel is $32,500 with the same gear, plus all-wheel drive and a conventional six-speed auto — presumably because the CVT can’t handle the extra torque.

At the top of the ladder is the XLS, available in front wheel drive petrol or all-wheel drive diesel form, and priced from $32,000 or $37,500 respectively.

It adds leather faced seats and climate control air, and heated front seats (and rear air con outlets), plus a large, fixed panoramic sunroof with a power operated shade and LED mood lighting around the edges.

No matter which model you choose, they all come with 18-inch alloys and a space saver spare, although a full size spare can be optioned.

 

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What’s it go like?

We like the compact dimensions, and unpretentious design of this car.

Having said that, back seat passengers could find it a little squeezy, and by that we mean full size adults — not skinny teenagers.

The boot could be bigger a little too.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine offers strong, effortless performance and kind of purrs most of the time, a bit like a contented cat — but it can be laggy and the noise from the engine ramps up under load.

With direct injection the diesel produces 110kW of power and 360Nm of torque, the latter from a very low 1500 revs.

It’s hooked up to a conventional six-speed auto, with the provision of paddle shifters for changing gears manually if desired.

The ride is on the firm side and can be harsh on country roads where we managed to find the limit of suspension travel on more than one occasion.

Nor does it seem to handle small, annoying bumps very well either.

The chunky controls and nice, big touchscreen are easy to use, but once again Mitsubishi has failed to equip its top of the line model with satellite navigation.

You’re supposed to hook up your phone with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and use its software to navigate instead.

I don’t know about you, but I’d expect dedicated satnav if I had forked out for the most expensive model (supposedly with all the bells and whistles).

ASX attracts a five star safety rating with seven airbags, a reversing camera, rear park sensors and Forward Collision Mitigation now standard, which means the car will automatically apply the brakes if there is a risk of collision (and you haven’t done the job).

With fuel consumption rated at 6.0L/100km, we were getting almost exactly that at 6.1 after 300km. At this rate it would easily deliver  800km or more from a single fill.

 

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What we like?

  • Looks
  • Strong performance
  • Conventional auto
  • Excellent fuel economy

 

What we don’t?

  • No satnav
  • Sounds like a truck at times
  • Squeezy in the back
  • Boot could be bigger
  • Chunky rear pillars obscure vision
  • Feels like its built to a price

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The bottom line?

It’s not surprising Mitsubishi doesn’t sell many diesels. The difference in price is just too great and many people could probably live without all-wheel drive.

 

CHECKOUT: Will Eclipse Cross out ASX?

CHECKOUT: Australia’s top 10 selling cars for 2017

  • 7.5/10
    Looks - 7.5/10
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8.0/10
  • 7.5/10
    Safety - 7.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Thirst - 7.5/10
  • 7.5/10
    Practicality - 7.5/10
  • 7/10
    Comfort - 7.0/10
  • 7/10
    Tech - 7.0/10
  • 7/10
    Value - 7.0/10
7.4/10

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.