Mitsubishi has described its new ASX as new versatile family car with the space of a people carrier, the styling of an SUV, and the humble running costs of a small hatchback. That is a crossover and it says a lot but in a way the ASX is more than all that. It has that hard to define Qashqai quality, where you feel a manufacturer has got it just right.
This is explained in a roundabout way when you hear that the ASX is developed from a mid-size platform, where it blends the best of two of Mitsubishi’s most recognisible and iconic vehicles — the driving characteristics of the Lancer and the commanding driving position of the Outlander — and gets the formula right.
Launched last autumn, the ASX was available with two engine choices, a 1.6L petrol and a 1.8L common rail direct injection diesel engine, and one highly equipped trim level.
The ASX has more than 40 safety, styling, and comfort features as standard including hill start assist, telescopic steering wheel adjustment, roof rails, and electric folding mirrors. Built to secure a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating, the ASX also comes with seven airbags, including one to protect the driver’s knees, ABS with EBD, and traction control.
The 1.6L petrol (tax band B ) is priced at €23,675 with €156 annual road tax and up to 47mpg. The 1.8L diesel (tax band B ) is priced at €25,550 with €302 road tax and up to 5.7L/100 km or 50mpg.
Built in Japan on Mitsubishi’s global platform, the all-new ASX competes in the hugely popular compact crossover segment that has been growing steadily over the last three years and now accounts for about 7.5 per cent of all car sales in Ireland.
The ASX carries most of the Outlander’s lower structure as well as the basic architecture of its chassis (MacPherson front suspension and multi-link rear suspension ), which is tuned for this lighter and more compact 2WD vehicle.
A notable feature is the introduction of an electric power steering mechanism to further lower emissions, which is also fitted with both tilt and telescopic adjustments.
It drives really well with good handling feedback through this steering. The driving position is very good too, as is the ride comfort. I really liked my test drive in the ASX, and cannot help but feel that this is one car that is vastly underestimated.
The ASX exterior is not over styled, yet it appeals and inside the cabin is driver friendly and stylish. It is also very practical as the utility features, making it ideal for the likely loading requirements of its potential customers. A spacious luggage area can also be accessed via the 60:40 split rear seat which also has an easy-fold (flat ) rear bench. And there is an underfloor tray with a 30L capacity.
Like the new lancer, the new ASX is targeting a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating through a most comprehensive safety package.
Mitsubishi Motors Ireland expects to sell 500 units in 2011 and it deserves to and more.