THE ASX LOOKS UP TO ITS BIG BROTHERS FOR FAMILY TIES

Mitsubishi_ASX_front
Mitsubishi’s little brother SUV, the ASX, has joined siblings, the Outlander and Pajero Sport, in taking on a fresh face and more features.

In line with its big brothers, the ASX has the family features of the company’s Dynamic Shield design language with gloss black-and-chrome finish added to the new-shape front bumper and grille. A new shark fin antenna also gives the ASX a more streamlined look.

Mitsubishi’s top selling SUV in Australia, the MY17 ASX is available in two specification levels – LS and XLS – coming with the choice of two engines, a 2-litre petrol or 2.2-litre turbo-diesel two-wheel drive mated with a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission, and all-wheel drive diesel (LS and XLS) with six-speed automatic.

The Mitsubishi ASX comes onto the market with LS 2.0 petrol 2WD manual at $25,000, plus on-road costs, with the range closing out with the XLS 2.2 diesel 4WD automatic at $37,000. On test was the mid-range LS 2.0 petrol 2WD automatic, priced at $27,000.

STYLING
Following the trend of modern automobile makers, Mitsubishi has jumped on the branding bandwagon with the ASX taking on a design language – Diamond Shield – ‘bespoken’ by SUV siblings, the Outlander and Pajero Sport.

This has involved reshaping the front bumper and radiator grille, and adding a black-and-chrome finish. Halogen headlights and fog lamps, which replace daytime running lights, complete the picture up front.

Black wheel arches set off contrasting triple five-spoke alloy wheels, while power-fold side mirrors with integrated turn signals combine with rear roof spoiler with high-mounted stop lamp and shark fin radio antenna put the finishing touches to the compact SUV.

Mitsubishi_ASX_rear

INTERIOR
Inside, rear seat comfort is improved with additional seat base bolstering on all models while the LS gain new high-grade fabric seat trim with red stitching.

Leather bound gearshift and steering wheel, piano black centre panel, chrome interior door handles and accented control switches and instrument cluster draw attention away from rather plain surroundings.

Carpet covers the floor, adding a touch of quality to an otherwise ordinary ambience.

INFOTAINMENT
A 6.1-inch full colour touch screen gives access to a multi information display, which includes trip computer, outside temperature, average fuel consumption, and audio, the latter giving access to digital (DAB+) radio, AM / FM radio / CD / MP3 player through four speakers, USB input and iPod control.

A number of improvements have been made to the MMCS audio menu and graphics to make it quicker and easier to locate the system’s features and pair a mobile phone.

Mitsubishi_ASX_interior

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine provides 110 kW of power and 197 Nm of torque and has earned its stripes in other Mitsubishi SUVs such as the Outlander and Pajero Sport.

The continuously variable automatic transmission is tuned to operate at optimum engine revolutions for greater power and reduced consumption.

SAFETY
There can be fewer vehicles on the road that better the ASX for safety features. Hence, a top five-star safety rating is well earned.

DRIVING
Not a great introduction to the test ASX, the keyless entry fob may have been given a makeover for 2017, but there is still a temperamental touch about its operation when in a pants’ pocket. Frustrating to say the least.

An average performer off the mark, despite making use of the same engine as bigger brother Outlander, the lighter ASX test vehicle had a spring in its step when it did get going.

Petrol consumption rarely varied from the mid-seven litres per 100 kilometres on a range of conditions in town and country over the test period.

Upgraded ride and handling was adequate, though nothing to write home about on broken road surfaces. Electric power steering put the vehicle where the driver wanted it in a responsive, yet unruffled way.

However, it is in the field of safety where the ASX sparkles. Active stability and traction control keep the car tracking on target whatever the conditions under foot; anti-skid braking is backed up by electronic brake force distribution, which automatically shifts braking between front and back wheels no matter what the load is on board.

Hill start assist comes to the aid of the driver when setting off on steep inclines by stopping the vehicle from rolling backwards by keeping the brakes on while moving the foot from brake to accelerator pedal. However, left-foot braking would achieve the same thing with less hassle.

Parking likewise is made less stressful with a reversing camera coming up on the dashboard screen when reverse gear is engaged. A grid guides vehicle movement into tight spaces, while audible sensors warn when it gets close to objects, including pedestrians, behind.

If it comes to the worst and the ASX is involved in a crash, seven airbags and a sturdy cabin offer protection to occupants, resulting in the SUV earning a five-star safety rating.

SUMMING UP
I’m not a fan of SUVs that don’t offer the ability to tackle at least basic off-bitumen conditions, such as gravel roads, and going that is less than ideal for the average two-wheel drive. Therefore, I would veer towards the all-wheel drive ASX rather than its two-wheel drive variant. Of course, price is the tipping point.

AT A GLANCE

MODEL RANGE
Mitsubishi ASX LS 2.0 petrol 2WD manual $25,000
Mitsubishi ASX LS 2.0 petrol 2WD automatic $27,000
Mitsubishi ASX LS 2.2 diesel 4WD automatic $32,500
Mitsubishi ASX XLS 2.0 petrol 2WD automatic $31,500
Mitsubishi ASX XLS 2.2 diesel 4WD automatic $37,000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mitsubishi dealer for drive-away prices.

FEATURES (LS):
18in alloy wheels
Fog lamps
Halogen headlamps
Roof rails (black)
Privacy glass
Rear roof spoiler with high mount stop lamp
Door mirrors with integrated turn indicator
Euro 5 emission compliance
New Dynamic Shield front bumper and grille
Shark fin antenna
New cloth seat trim with red stitching
Cruise control
Central door locking with keyless entry
Steering wheel phone, audio and cruise control switches
Door mirrors with power fold control
Power windows front and rear
Climate control air conditioning
Rear air-conditioning and heater ducts (underneath front seats)
Pollen filter

XLS (same as LS, plus):
Heated seat switches relocated to instrument panel
Improvements to MMCS audio

SPECIFICATIONS (Mitsubishi ASX LS 2.0 petrol 2WD automatic wagon)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 1.998 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 110 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 197 Nm @ 4200 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 90 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.6 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 176 g/km

DRIVELINE: Continuously variable automatic transmission

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4355 mm
Wheelbase: 2670 mm
Width: 1810 mm
Height: 1640 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1365 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 63 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / 100,000 km

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