The Mitsubishi ASX was previewed as the Concept-cX at the Frankfurt motor show in 2007 and many of that concept’s styling details made the transition to the production car. Although Mitsubishi has a long history of SUVs, this is the first time it has produced one that can be classed as a crossover, having smaller, hatchback-like dimensions.

Building the ASX was a simple decision for Mitsubishi. The compact SUV sector is one of the most profitable and Mitsubishi has a decent heritage in value-led utility vehicles, so the firm would have been foolish not to capitalise on it with a car like this. The ASX represents more than an obvious business decision, though.

The front-wheel drive 1.8-litre diesel is likely to be the most popular variant in the UK although four-wheel drive and a 1.6-litre petrol are also offered. The ASX comes in levels 2, 3 or 4 – what happened to level 1 is anybody’s guess – with the diesel engine only available with the top two levels of trim. 

Not for the first time, Mitsubishi has brought an entirely new technology to the passenger car market. The 1.8 DiD engine tested here is the first turbodiesel motor outside of the commercial vehicle world to get variable valve timing. Common on modern petrol units, variable valve timing gives this new engine the performance of a 2.0-litre with the economy and emissions of a smaller unit, according to Mitsubishi. Whether the new tech provides the rewards Mitsubishi claims, and whether it comes in a package worthy of the highly competitive soft-roader market, is part of what we’re here to find out.

Top 5 Compact Crossovers

  • Dacia Duster
    The Dacia Duster is aimed to appeal to buyers looking for a Qashqai, Yeti or 3008

    Dacia Duster

    1
  • The Yeti is a crossover that's available with both two- and four-wheel drive

    Skoda Yeti

    2
  • Renault Captur
    The Renault Captur enters a rapidly growing marketplace

    Renault Captur

    3
  • Suzuki Vitara

    4
  • The Vauxhall Mokka is based on the same platform as the Chevrolet Aveo

    Vauxhall Mokka

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    2 September 2015
    Kia facelifts its Cee'd and drops its six-speed torque converter in favour of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox in the process. We drive it for the first time
  • First Drive
    1 September 2015
    Kia has developed a better-mannered, more sophisticated Sportage for 2016
  • First Drive
    31 August 2015
    Thought the 3 Series was losing its edge? Well it's back, with a facelifted version that offers improved performance and dynamics. Does it reclaim its top spot after our drive on UK roads?
  • First Drive
    27 August 2015
    BMW gives its flagship 7 Series an extensive overhaul in a bid to tempt buyers of luxury cars away from the Mercedes S-Class, Audi's A8 and the Jaguar XJ
  • First Drive
    26 August 2015
    New Qashqai rival majors on practicality and usability and benefits from a long warranty, but lower-specification versions are the better bet