Drive the Mitsubishi ASX in an unhurried fashion at normal B-road speeds and it responds in exactly the kind of predictable, unflustered way that you would want in a family SUV. In front-wheel drive guise, it has ample grip, which lets it carry good speed through corners, while the suspension allows noticeable but progressive body roll before it stabilises.
The ASX handles being driven hard well. In dry conditions it benefits from having good grip through faster corners, which also allows it to respond to mid-corner steering adjustments with a confidence-inspiring and stable change of direction. Even with the ESP off, the ASX’s generally good balance and roadholding mean it fares well, but it can spin its wheels exiting low-speed corners in second.
In the wet the ASX is prone to understeer, as it should be, given the type of car it is. The ESP works well here, cutting in when required but with less of the drastic and occasionally disconcerting braking that is common in many front-wheel-drive cars. It still pulls the nose back into line if the ASX washes into understeer, but it’s more subtle and allows a safe degree of natural understeer first.
Ride quality is well judged for British roads, absorbing most of the typical road surface scarring without unsettling the body. The only notably disconcerting element of the handling is some kickback through the steering. Otherwise, some suspension thump creeps in and there is some jarring over severely broken surfaces, when passengers will experience some head tossing, but in general the ASX is a comfortable place to be.
The steering is precise but can feel overly light and slack, which is fine at urban speeds but less welcome in high-speed manoeuvres. All of which equates to an unexceptional but perfectly acceptable experience at the wheel of the ASX. It is not the cohesive and encouraging drive that some small SUVs have managed to achieve, but it is composed, safe and not unpleasant.