Mitsubishi ASX

Final Report: With its Evo looks and strong pace, crossover makes us feel like a rally star – even in the middle of town!

  • The ASX is great fun to drive and feels much more agile and entertaining than other crossover models I’ve tried. And while the Evo-inspired styling won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly helps the car stand out from the crowd. Also, the supportive front seats are comfortable on long motorway journeys.
  • Not only is the cabin a little cramped, the quality of the fixtures and fittings is a bit disappointing. Some of the plastics look and feel cheap, while the design is dated. At least it comes packed with standard kit, including climate control, Bluetooth connection and keyless entry.

Normally, I’m a mild-mannered motorist, but the Mitsubishi ASX has brought out my racy side. The Japanese firm is famed for its high-performance, rally-bred Evo models, and it’s clear that some of this motorsport-inspired magic has rubbed off on its new crossover.

Despite its chunky SUV styling and raised ride height, I’ve found the ASX surprisingly sporty to drive – particularly compared to the Peugeot 3008 I ran before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting it would make a great tyre-squealing track day car. Instead, it’s a rugged family model that’s clearly been designed to keep keen drivers happy.

At the heart of the Mitsubishi’s dynamic appeal is its 1.8-litre diesel, which delivers enough mid-range pace to leave the odd hot hatch owner red-faced. Away from the open road, the oil-burner has impressed, with its low-speed response and refinement. 

I haven’t got to grips with the stop-start system yet, though. Even on my traffic-clogged commute I’ve found that I’m seldom stationary long enough to use the fuel-saving kit.

On the plus side, this issue doesn’t seem to have harmed the ASX’s performance at the pumps. As the miles have piled on, its thirst for diesel has diminished considerably. In the hands of its previous keeper, town-bound deputy motoring editor Jack Rix, it managed a disappointing 27mpg. But in recent months, that has jumped to a superb 45.7mpg.

This impressive figure is in part down to the efforts of senior designer George Vedmore, who took the ASX on a 3,000-mile trip around Europe. He returned raving about its long-distance comfort – a quality that was enhanced by the intuitive cruise control system, which comes as standard. Like me, though, George found the rear seats a little cramped, while squeezing luggage into the 442-litre load bay was a struggle.

In fact, in terms of versatility, the Mitsubishi is no match for the Peugeot it replaced. The less stylish cabin doesn’t have as many useful storage bins and cubbies to take the strain out of family motoring. As a result, the Wilsons have had to travel light. Not that I’m complaining; the fun I’ve been having behind the wheel has been worth the sacrifice.

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