What is it?
The Mitsubishi ASX is a compact crossover that first appeared in 2010.
Originally Mitsubishi had high hopes for the ASX. It was launched into a rapidly expanding market at a competitive price and benefitted from efficient engines and decent kit levels.
The automotive market took a turn for the worse, however, and an unfavourable exchange rate led to the ASX’s pricing creeping ever upwards.Consequently the initial forecast of 8000 sales per year was quickly revised down to 3000, partly due to a lack of money to spend on advertising, resulting in the ASX being a rare sight on UK roads.
Fast-forward to 2013 and Mitsubishi is pushing the ASX back into the limelight. The company has had a successful year, reputedly becoming the UK’s fastest-growing brand with substantial increases in sales figures thanks to new dealers, new product, increased customer spending and favourable exchange rates.
So, besides now being in a position to offer more competitive pricing, Mitsubishi has also set about revising some of the issues with the original ASX. The model line-up has been simplified, the rear suspension has been tweaked, additional sound deadening material has been installed and equipment levels have been improved - for example, entry-level models now feature Bluetooth connectivity.
Most notably the Mitsubishi ASX's powertrain line-up has been expanded this year with the addition of Mitsubishi’s own 2.3-litre diesel engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Output is rated at an adequate 148bhp and 266lb ft, which is sent primarily to the front wheels. A switchable four-wheel drive system allows drive to be sent to the rear wheels to boost traction and stability, when necessary.
This diesel is a relatively large displacement engine for a crossover the size of the ASX, which has a footprint smaller than that of a Ford Focus. Besides granting it decent performance, with Mitsubishi claiming 0-62mph in 10.8sec, it's also acceptably efficient since it doesn’t have to work particularly hard. The claimed average fuel consumption is 48.7mpg, while its emissions are rated at 153g/km of CO2 – meaning road tax of £175 per year. Both the engine and the transmission are well proven units, having being sourced from the current Mitsubishi Outlander.
Being the most powerful and costly powertrain option, as tested here, it’s predictably offered only in range-topping ‘4’ grade models. These, however, are well equipped and come with sat-nav, climate control, a reversing camera, cruise control, parking sensors, keyless entry, front and rear fogs, privacy glass and a panoramic roof.
Opting for the range-topping model does not necessarily entail a hefty price tag. An ASX in ‘4’ 2.2 Di-D 4WD Automatic specification, claimed to be the most popular by Mitsubishi, will set you back £23,899. That compares favourably to the likes of the Hyundai ix35, Skoda Yeti, Kia Sportage or outgoing Nissan Qashqai, all of which cost around or upwards of £25,000 in a similar specification.