Mitsubishi ASX review
The Mitsubishi ASX is an appealing buy, thanks to its compact dimensions, spacious cabin and efficient engines
With looks inspired by the Evo X performance saloon, the Mitsubishi ASX is the brand's entry into the compact crossover sector. Spacious, well-equipped, nimble and relatively cheap to run, the ASX offers something the larger Shogun can’t. It is ideal for families, thanks to the large boot, comfortable cabin, impressive safety kit and cheap running costs. Although it’s not as involving to drive as the Skoda Yeti, it proves competent. We'd opt for the diesel model in particular, as it’s both economical and relatively smooth.
Our choice: ASX 3 1.8 DOHC
As one of the older models in Mitsubishi's range, the ASX's design differs from more modern cars like the Outlander. It shares the same front-end styling as the Evo X which was softened after a facelift in 2012.
Despite the visual interest up-front, the rest of the ASX isn’t as exciting. It's neatly designed and well-proportioned, but it doesn't really stand out from the crowd. The interior follows the same approach, and although quality is improved over previous cars from the Japanese firm, the cabin is dull to look at and much of it feels cheap to the touch – especially the dated switchgear.
Compact dimensions mean the Mitsubishi ASX is far easier to manoeuvre than its larger siblings, but a degree of body roll shows it's not as fun to drive as the Skoda Yeti or Nissan Qashqai. Still, the 1.8-litre diesel is the world’s first to use variable valve timing. And when you come to a stop, the engine’s idle speed drops to 600rpm, helping to boost fuel economy. Performance of both the petrol and diesel would be considered adequate, although the six-speed manual gearbox is notchy. As the first Mitsubishi to offer reach and rake adjustment for the steering wheel, it’s also easy to get comfortable behind the wheel.
The Mitsubishi ASX is loaded with safety kit, including stability control, traction control, Isofix child seat mounting points, brake assist, a passenger airbag deactivation switch and a complement of seven airbags, including one for the driver’s knees. It fared well in Euro NCAP tests as well, and emerged with five stars – scoring the maximum for the side barrier impact test. Traditionally the Mitsubishi brand has always done well in the annual Driver Power survey.
With a 442-litre boot the Mitsubishi ASX is one of the most practical models in the class, although it fails to match the Skoda Yeti when the rear seats are folded, since the Czech car can have them removed completely. The rear bench can be split and also incorporates a ski hatch, but there are no straps or netting to secure smaller items. Still, there’s plenty of room for occupants, and thanks to the raised ride-height the Mitsubishi ASX can still tackle rough tracks with ease. Four-wheel drive is only available with the 1.8 and 2.2 diesels.
Both the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.8-litre diesel engines are quite efficient. The former can return 47.0mpg and the latter 56.5mpg, with CO2 ratings ranging from 131g/km to 137g/km. Unlike many rivals, buyers can choose from two service plans – the petrol being covered for three years and 37,000 miles at a cost of £450 while the diesel, which needs more maintenance, is £650 over the same period but with a reduced mileage limit of 27,000 miles.
A new 2.2-litre diesel shared with the Outlander arrived in 2013. Available exclusively with four-wheel drive, combined MPG is 48.7 and CO2 emissions are 153g/km.
All models are well equipped, and even the mid-range ASX 3 comes with cruise control, Bluetooth and climate control.