The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Mitsubishi ASX is a great-looking model that’s also well-equipped and very efficient. But refinement and interior quality aren’t so great.
Reasons to buy:
- Standard equipment
How good does it look?
First impressions are favourable, as the Mitsubishi family face translates well onto the ASX. It’s striking and aggressive and the proportions are just right. The swept-back headlamps and gaping grille give the ASX real presence. The privacy glass standard on most models gives the car a thoroughly contemporary look, helped further by the rising waistline and sculpted sides. Entry-level cars don’t have some of the exterior detailing of the more costly models though, so they look a little cheap in comparison.
What's the interior like?
Cabins are often a weak point with Mitsubishis, because of cheap materials, as well as some cheap-looking switchgear. That’s exactly the case here, as the interior is let down by some budget materials and some controls which disappear after dark because they are not illuminated. But there’s ample cabin space and the seats are comfortable enough, although a bit more support wouldn’t go amiss.
How practical is it?
The ASX is good and bad in equal measure when it comes to practicality. The split-level boot is a nice touch that allows you to make the most of the available space. Not so good though is the fact that there isn’t a lot of space to make use of. Leave the rear seats in place and there’s a 442-litre boot, which increases to 1,193 litres with the seat backs folded. Buy a Kia Sportage instead for example, and you’ll have at least 564 litres at your disposal, or 1,353 litres with the seats down.
What's it like to drive?
The ASX has firmer suspension than owners of older models will be used to, giving it reasonably good handling. Its ride comfort is relaxing in most situations, and particularly at higher speeds. Where it can come unstuck is through pot holes, where the suspension can thump at the end of its travel and there’s some unwanted kickback through the steering wheel.
How powerful is it?
There are just two engines available in the ASX – a 1.6-litre petrol unit and a 1.8-litre diesel. Opt for the petrol and you’ve got to have front-wheel drive only. The diesel is offered with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, but there’s no automatic gearbox option for either engine. The petrol engine produces 115bhp and 114lb/ft of pulling power, while the diesel unit offers a more muscular 147bhp and 221lb/ft. The diesel version is quick enough, however the biggest disappointment is a lack of refinement. Road and wind noise permeate the cabin, but there’s not much in the way of engine noise as the diesel powerplant is smooth and quiet. This is the first diesel engine to incorporate variable valve timing, so it has the power of a 2-litre unit while being cleaner and more frugal than many powerplants of a comparable size.
How much will it cost me?
There’s little to choose between petrol and diesel when it comes to economy, as the 1.6-litre petrol unit is pegged at 47.1mpg while the diesel unit manages 54.3mpg. Bearing in mind that the petrol-engined ASX is much cheaper than the diesel model, it may make more sense to opt for the former. However, the ASX 1.6 is likely to lose value at a greater rate, simply because of buyers’ perceptions. Four-up, over more than 800 miles of fast motorway cruising into Europe, we averaged 47mpg in our 1.8 DiD. To help cut fuel consumption, stop and start is standard on all ASXs, so that official fuel consumption figure looks eminently achievable. Over a further week of driving in the UK we were able to maintain more than 50mpg in a 1.8-litre diesel with front-wheel drive, leaving us impressed with the economy of this version.
How reliable is it?
Mitsubishi has an excellent reputation for reliability. The company has been building similar models for decades now, and those have proved to be tough as well as dependable. Crucially, the key areas in which many modern cars cause problems – those of electrics and electronics – have proved to be a strong point for Mitsubishis. Update – There has been a recall of the Mitsubishi ASX to check the electric connection for the electric power steering is fitted correctly. If it becomes disconnected, steering becomes heavy, but the car is still drivable. All affected owners should have been contacted, but if you are concerned about this issue, contact your local Mitsubishi dealer.
How safe is it?
The ASX achieved a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. Offering plenty of reassurance is a raft of safety technology such as electronic stability programme, traction control, brake assist and hill start assist. There are Isofix child seat mountings too, plus three-point seatbelts for everyone and airbags galore. These include curtain airbags for all, plus side and front airbags for those in the front.
How much equipment do I get?
Mitsubishi offers the ASX in trim levels 2, 3 and 4, as well as Attivo, 4Work and Black editions. You can buy an ASX 2 only with the 1.6-litre petrol engine. As standard you get air-con, electric windows front and rear, trip computer, electrically adjustable mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels and a four-speaker CD/tuner with auxiliary input. Move up to a 3 and you’ll get a better grade of interior trim, cruise control, heated seats, multi-function steering wheel, plus automatic lights and wipers. It also comes with an iPod link, which ultimately works well enough, but is frustratingly slow to initially find the MP3 player. The top-spec 4 gains leather seat trim, sat-nav and a reversing camera.
With its comfortable ride, precise gear change and accurate steering, the ASX is dynamically competent and it generally feels well-screwed-together too. With good kit levels, excellent economy and strong performance it’s easy to make a case for the diesel ASX in particular, especially as it’s also quite a looker.