Mitsubishi enters the crossover fray with ASX

ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: MITSUBISHI ASX CROSSOVER

All good things come to those who wait. Not before time, Mitsubishi’s ASX crossover is now on sale. wheelworldreviews Editor DAVID HOOPER reports on whether or not it was worth the wait.

Mitsubishi’s new ASX pictured near Ross Castle, in Cleethorpes.

MEET Mitsubishi’s smart looking ASX, the latest vehicle to be thrown into the Crossover market sector which has enjoyed a sustained boost in popularity over the last few years.

But what is a “crossover”, I hear you ask? A “crossover” vehicle is one that looks like a 4×4 – but usually isn’t. It features the robust, off-road styling and higher driving position that helped make 4x4s so popular, but allows owners to drive them with a clear conscience, knowing that they are not polluting the planet with big, thirsty engines and wasting fuel by dragging around a four-wheel-drive system that is hardly ever used or needed.

Intuitive controls are easy to find and operate.

Most of the major manufacturers now offer a crossover model in their range, with the majority being predominantly two-wheel-drive, although a full 4×4 is available. The added practicality and space though, comes as standard

On sale in the UK from the beginning of July 2010, Mitsubishi has brought its ASX to the party a bit late, but in my opinion, it was worth the wait. The company has done a good job with this vehicle. It is not only quite striking to look at, with its hard-to-miss front end, but I was also impressed with the driving experience and equipment levels. Sharing its platform with the Outlander, The ASX is a good car which bridges the gap between Mitsubishi’s passenger cars and its 4x4s, and with the range starting from £15,000, it is very competitively priced.

Prospective buyers have a choice of two engines, both of which meet the latest Euro V standards for emissions – a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a five-speed gearbox, or a 1.8-litre DiD diesel engine featuring variable valve timing, which is a world first in a diesel engine, combined with a six-speed gearbox.

Mitsubishi’s ClearTec technology helps keep emissions down.

The car was equipped with the latest stop/start technology, which switches the engine off when stops temporarily in traffic. Mitsubishi call their system Auto Stop & Go, and without the driver doing anything other than putting the car into neutral, applying the handbrake and taking their foot off the brake the engine will switch off at traffic lights, or in queues, instantly restarting when the clutch pedal is pressed again. This is just part of the story though, as electric power steering, low rolling resistance tyres, a clever braking system and particularly slippery oil all contribute to the ASX’s emissions and economy figures.

There are three trim levels, curiously starting at 2 and going up to 3 and 4. Auto Stop & Go is standard across the range, as is a stability and traction control system, keyless entry, which is brilliant and dual stage front, side and curtain airbags.

The mid-range model, ASX 3 which I have been driving, comes with fully automatic air conditioning, one-touch starting, cruise control, heated seats, privacy glass, a multi-function steering wheel controls, Bluetooth™, a leather steering wheel and gear lever and automatic lights and wipers, while the top of the range model gets leather seats, a better stereo system, sat nav and a reversing camera.

Mitsubishi has done a good job with the design of the exterior of the car, but I was a little bit disappointed with the look of the dashboard which could have done with some silver or chrome trimmings to brighten it up. It’s certainly functional though, and the instrumentation is bright and clear – I liked the bar chart-style fuel and temperature gauges, too.

The seats are comfortable and in the back cup holders are built into the central arm rest. The rear perches will fold flat to increase the luggage space when needed.

The ASX is nice to drive – the compliant suspension set-up provides a comfortable ride. It handles well and cruises comfortably at motorway speeds, with little disturbance inside the car from wind or road noise.

All in all, Mitsubishi has done a good job with the ASX. I suspect that once word gets around, it will win the company some new customers from other brands, people who have already owned a crossover style car and are looking for something different next time they change.

With its distinctive “family nose”, the ASX is an attractive looking car.

Rating: ★★★★★☆

THE VITAL STATISTICS

MODEL: Mitsubishi ASX3 1.8 diesel 2WD.

MITSUBISHI ASX RANGE: From 2 1.6 (£14,999) to 4 1.8 Diesel 4×4 (£22,049).

ENGINE: 1798cc, 147PS four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.

CO2 EMISSIONS: 145g/km.

PERFORMANCE: Top speed 124mph. 0-62mph in 9.7 secs.

ECONOMY: City: 42.2mpg. Country: 58.9mpg. Combined: 51.4mpg. uel tank: 63 litres.

WARRANTY: 3 years/Unlimited mileage.

PRICE: £18,549.

WEBSITE: www.mitsubishi.co.uk

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