From £15,2495
Ageing ASX is spruced up with new front end and better technology, but can it cut it in such a competitive segment?

What is it?

It’s hard to ignore the Mitsubishi ASX’s perennial problem: outstanding rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Seat Ateca. The ASX is an aged car - first launched in 2010 and with numerous facelifts since - so it’s no surprise that it’s time for another reinvention to keep up with newer models

Why no all-new ASX yet? Word is that Mitsubishi has held off launching a new model until it can fully utilise the platforms and technology provided by its alliance with Renault-Nissan, formed in 2017. 

Then there’s the recently launched Eclipse Cross. Confusingly, it’s also a Qashqai rival, but the plan is that a next-gen ASX will be more compact than today’s, aligning it with the Nissan Juke. For now, the ASX and Eclipse Cross are competing in a similar space, albeit with the ASX being slightly smaller and cheaper.  

This latest ASX facelift includes a new front end, bringing the design in line with the revised L200, extra safety systems such as a low-speed braking system and updated infotainment, increasing the screen from seven to eight inches as well as offering TomTom nav and real-time traffic information.

The engine line-up is also simplified with just one option, a 148bhp 2.0-litre petrol with five-speed manual or CVT and two- or four-wheel drive. 

What's it like?

Behind the wheel of the four-wheel-drive, CVT-geared model, predicted to be the most popular in the line-up, it’s quickly comfortable with good ergonomics and easy-to-use functions, something that Mitsubishi says is intentional with the ASX.

On the road, it’s hard to hide the fact this is a near 10-year-old car with failings far beyond its newer rivals.

On flat roads with sensible, linear acceleration, the ASX is pleasant enough; it's not slow, the CVT is fairly smooth and refinement is acceptable. But push it beyond the most gentle of throttle openings, and the engine's roughness becomes apparent and the CVT gearbox noisily flares the revs in an effort to deliver the requested acceleration.

The steering is nicely weighted but always a little lacking in responsiveness and feedback, which makes mild cornering less enjoyable given the ASX demonstrates decent enough body control to allow some fun around the odd bend.

And there’s the ride comfort, which only worsens as you get faster. It’s softly sprung yet seems to pick up every undulation in the road, even at times when the road appears smooth.

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That, then, is not a great school report for the driving dynamics of the ASX, especially when compared with its main rivals. But for all our grumbles, its buyers - typically empty nesters or young families - are most likely to drive the car at its best temperament (gently, with no sharp acceleration or movement) and won’t experience the same foibles that we have.

We didn’t have the chance to test the ASX’s 4WD capabilities but we're told it does have better ground clearance, at 190mm, than its slightly bigger sibling, the Eclipse Cross.

Inside, the bigger touchscreen features Apple CarPlay, DAB and Bluetooth as standard, while the top trim Dynamic has TomTom sat-nav. The touchscreen is rudimentary in comparison to rivals, particularly the Volkswagen Group-owned Ateca and Skoda Karoq, but there is a charm in its simplicity: there’s no delay on the touchscreen and it’s easy to find the desired function – which isn’t the case with many far pricier cars.

There’s also good rear leg space for the segment, though a 6ft peer proved head room isn’t quite good enough. Materials can’t match the Ateca, but plastics – at least higher up – appear good quality and soft to touch.

Should I buy one?

The ASX can’t compete with its rivals for driving and interior appeal, but there are a couple of areas in which it excels: equipment and aftersales reassurance.

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Design, the entry-level trim, includes features such as heated front seats and a rear-view camera, while the Dynamic top trim adds leather seats, sat-nav and some driver assistance systems. This level of equipment on rivals typically comes at a far greater price. The most expensive ASX is likely to cost from £26,500. The most similar Seat Ateca, albeit with better performance, costs four grand more.

Mitsubishi also offers a five-year warranty and a 12-year anti-corrosion perforation warranty, and the ASX particularly has a growing reputation for reliability. 

Factor in those benefits, attractive styling not representative of the ASX’s age and a core of conservative customers who are namechecked by Mitsubishi for their loyalty to the compact SUV, and you can see why a niche number of buyers could be in the market for an ASX.

Mitsubishi ASX AWD auto Dynamic specification

Where Lisbon, Portugal Price £26,500 (est) On sale September Engine 4 cyls, 1998cc, petrol Power 148bhp at 6000rpm Torque 192lb ft at 4200rpm Gearbox CVT Kerb weight 1470kg Top speed 118mph 0-62mph 12.2sec Fuel economy WLTP figures tbc CO2 WLTP figures tbc Rivals Seat Ateca, Nissan Qashqai

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Comments
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FastRenaultFan 11 June 2019

I think the new front looks good but

Otherwise I have to admit its an old car now and you want to be getting it for 20k or less if buying one. The interior does look very dated and old now. My local dealer used to sell both Kia and Mitsubishi cars but is only selling Kia cars now. Says it all really I suppose. A pity really as the Eclipse Cross is a great looking car and lovely to sit in too. Just a pity it never got a diesel or even a hyprid or fully electric powertrian when launched.  

ianp55 11 June 2019

Mitsubishi ASX

The ASX dates all the way back to Mitsubishi's tie up with Daimler Chrysler and shared it's platform with Chrysler,Dodge & Jeep. For a nigh on ten year old design it's stood up well,I doubt that the styling of Eclipse Cross will last as well as the ASX. For what it offers the ASX is fair value at least it has the option of all wheel drive which isn't the case with other fake SUV's produced by the PSA Group amongst others

michael knight 11 June 2019

Needs a refresh on that

Needs a refresh on that interior too. Looks light years behind the 3008. Damn slow too: 12.2 secs to 60, that must be some kind of record in this segment. 

xxxx 11 June 2019

Record

Especially when combined with a £26.5k (est) price tag.