Previous iterations of the ASX were criticised for their somewhat drab interiors which featured hard plastics and poor finishes in places. The 2014 version benefits from some very slight improvements with regards to materials, but its cabin still lacks any real interest and the quality remains patchy in places - for example the glovebox sits in a partially unshrouded enclosure, with exposed wiring and ventilation channels visible behind.
These issues are unlikely to faze most buyers considering an ASX however, with the priorities being comfort and durability. Fortunately, it feels well assembled and the materials used, while not pleasingly tactile, should stand the test of time well. The instrumentation and switchgear is clear and intuitive, improving the Mitsubishi's ease of use.
Front occupants will find plenty of head- and leg-room. The rear will just about seat three adults, with a decent amount of leg-room, but those approaching or over six feet tall will find head-room somewhat lacking due to the panoramic roof's frame. Seating is generally comfortable but the front seats could do with more substantial side bolsters, in order to hold you in place more securely in corners.
An electric driver's seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for rise and reach make it easy to find a decent driving position. Visibility is generally good but substantial side and rear pillars can impede your view, although the reversing camera and large door mirrors compensate for this somewhat.
There are myriad storage points in the front cabin, including card holders in the sun visors, multiple cupholders, adequately sized door bins in the front and a useful power outlet and USB/auxiliary point in the centre cubby - but there is no storage, barring two cupholders in an armrest, in the rear cabin. The boot is reputed to hold an average but useful 442 litres of luggage with the seats up and 1193 with the seats down; there is also some underfloor storage and a rubber boot liner but - somewhat disappointingly - there is no spare wheel as standard, only a repair kit.
Out on the road the ASX proves to be a likeable car to drive. The steering is light and precise, although a little extra weight would be more reassuring in corners, and the Mitsubishi exhibits no unpleasant traits. There is plenty of grip on offer and, even when hustled across country at speed, it delivers a controlled and stable-feeling experience - exactly as you'd hope.
The ride quality is acceptable, with only rougher surfaces causing the ASX to feel a little busy, and body roll is relatively well controlled for a taller car. The ASX's brakes - discs front and rear - provide decent stopping power too, without an overly aggressive pedal response.
Predictably the 2.3-litre diesel endows the ASX with a decent performance credentials. Occasionally the ASX can be a little sluggish to step off the line, but once moving acceleration is swift, even at higher speeds. The diesel isn't the quietest of units but it's smooth, flexible and rarely leaves you wanting.
The six-speed automatic transmission does a decent job of picking the right gear at the right time, with relatively seamless changes through a range of well-selected ratios. Standard-fit paddle shifters allow for quick and painless manual selection of gears, as well as granting rapid access to a modicum of engine braking.
In standard two-wheel drive mode the 266lb ft on offer can overwhelm the Mitsubishi's front wheels, particularly in inclement conditions, but the traction control and transmission does a good job of quickly reining the ASX in.
A single button press is all it takes to switch the ASX into 4WD AUTO mode, where up to 50 per cent of the available torque can be sent to the rear axle. This improves off-the-line traction considerably, reducing wheelspin, and also lends the ASX a more confident feel when accelerating out of bends or junctions. A 4WD LOCK mode boosts the available torque to the rear axle further, if needs be.
Overall the ASX is very easy to drive, and its precise steering, tight turning circle and compact dimensions result in it being simple to manoeuvre and place on the road. The only major gripe is road noise, which intrudes notably into the cabin, even at lower speeds - but not to a degree whereby you have to raise your voice to talk to your passenger.
Most buyers are likely to average around, if not upwards of, 40mpg in the ASX. Besides being a tolerable consumption, considering the performance on offer and four-wheel-drive system, it also ensures a useful range of over 500 miles.
It's also gratifying to see that Mitsubishi's no-nonsense approach continues under the bonnet. For example the engine's oil cap, the washer fluid reservoir and other necessities are clearly marked and easily accessed.