Mitsubishi ASX car review
- We like...Ride; equipment levels
- We don't...Dull cabin
The ASX is a big car for Mitsubishi. Although it is, in size, only a match for a Nissan Qashqai it moves the company into a new area of sales. Buyers are keener than ever for ‘crossovers’, a new breed of car having the chunky looks and ground clearance of an off-roader but, often as not, running with just front-wheel drive.
And so the ASX enters what’s becoming a busy, if crowded market-place. Competitors include the Qashqai we’ve just mentioned and run to Peugeot’s good if oddball 3008 and Kia’s all-new Sportage.
So how does the ASX shape up? It’s a neat design, if a bland looker once you stray from its ‘jet fighter’ grille that’s common to other Mitsubishis. Here we’re driving the mid-trim ‘3’ model, powered by a 1.6 petrol motor that pushes out 115bhp and drives just the front wheels. Only the dearest ASXs in the line-up offer four-wheel drive.
Inside it’s roomy, offering enough space for five adults, although the centre rear seat is too thinly padded to stay comfortable for long. There’s a generous boot – as big as the Qashqai’s – and of course the rear seats fold to extend the space when needed.
The cabin’s well built but it’s dull. Mitsubishi has played it safe by telling its designers to stow whatever creative thought they might have brought to it and it shows. What’s more, the switchgear is lifted straight from its Lancer, where it was already looking outdated. As if to compensate, the car’s loaded with equipment – auto lights and wipers, heated seats and cruise control are among the highlights.
Light controls make for an easy drive and there’s a big range of seat and wheel adjustments to help drivers get comfortable. But thing they won’t like include a big blind spot around the tailgate and another in the screen pillars. This car really needs rear parking sensors.
The ASX isn’t a car that flatters too-enthusiastic driving but it corners tidily, showing less body lean than some others. Its ride is a strong point, nicking the balance between cush and tautness just about right although potholes do make themselves felt and heard.
That 1.6 motor needs working hard before it feels energetic and if you do this it gets thrashy. Once up to the speed on a motorway is settles to a hum, but overtaking or a hill forces you to drop down a gear, perhaps two, and rev hard. There’s a feeling, too, that it is constricted to deliver low CO2 emissions and an encouraging fuel economy. Talking of which, the best we could manage on a 400-mile run the length of the M1 and back was a little over 30mpg – nowhere close, then, to its published 47.1mpg best overall.
Should you buy one? No doubt, the ASX’s good. But it brings nothing new to tempt buyers and that’s disappointing for a just-minted design. With so many talented rivals around, it’s hard to make a compelling case for one.
- Engines1.6-litre petrol
- 0-60 mph11.4secs
- Insurance groups13
Motors.co.uk value verdict: