New Car Report: ASX comes of age
When we drove the ASX at its 2010 launch, our only disappointment was that there was no automatic option for diesel buyers. Well, it’s taken a while, but Mitsi engineers have finally brought us a two pedal oil burner, and it’s everything we could have wished for.
Still the same stylish little SUV/Crossover that it was before, but with a punchy 2.2 litre 112kW/366Nm turbo-diesel powerplant replacing the previous manual diesel’s 1.8 litre unit, and now mated to a slick shifting and efficient six speed auto rather than the CVT transmission used in the petrol powered ASX.
The 2.2 litre engine (or to be precise 2,268cc, which we would have thought would be better described as 2.3 litre, but we’ll stick with the manufacturer’s description of 2.2), offers similar power to the previous engine, but with a noticeable 61Nm additional torque.
This latest model to the ASX range is claimed to sip diesel fuel at the rate of just 5.8L/100km compared with the 2.0 litre petrol version’s claimed 7.9L/100km. Of course, these are claimed figures, so in real world conditions you’re likely to use a bit more unless you really feather-foot it, but even so, the diesel is pretty frugal.
No more 4WD petrol
There is no longer a 4WD petrol ASX on the pricelist, with all 4WD models now being diesel and all 2WDs petrol. Two diesel models are offered; a 4WD 2.2D Auto LS and a 4WD 2.2D Auto Sport.
LS models come with 16 inch alloy wheels, a full size steel spare, halogen headlamps, cloth seats, a 4 speaker sound system and a reversing camera. Sport models have 17 inch alloys including a full size alloy spare, and additional specification includes self-levelling discharge headlamps, heated leather seats with electric adjustment for the driver, a 6 speaker sound system, keyless start system and numerous chrome accents including the door handles, exhaust tip and mirrors.
All seating positions have 3 point belts, with ISOFIX child seat anchorages in the two outer positions in the rear. Seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag and a reversing camera on all models, as well as the usual array of electronic safety aids such as ASC, ABS and EBD all contribute towards the 5 star ANCAP safety rating.
With a tow rating of 750kg unbraked or 1,400kg braked, it’s not going to pull the Queen Mary up a slippery boat ramp, but it’s OK for hauling a trailer load of garden waste to the tip or carting the camping gear and kids’ bikes away on the family holiday.
Easy to live with
Interior luggage space is a reasonable 384 litres with the rear seats up and 1,158 litres with them folded down, so not the biggest in class, but adequate for a couple of suitcases or the weekly grocery run.
The ASX 4WD 2.2D Sport Auto we drove recently was a delight under all driving conditions. Quick and nippy around town, plenty of overtaking punch on the open road and not too much road noise at cruising speeds. There’s the obvious diesel engine clatter on start-up from cold, but once you’re rolling the engine’s pretty well insulated.
Interior styling and trim is functional if a little basic, but everything’s where you’d expect it to be and easy to operate, although we’ve always found Mitsubishi’s Bluetooth system fairly clunky compared with most of their competitors, but this is about the only area where the little Mitsi falls short.
We were impressed with the engine/transmission combination and found this stylish little SUV/Crossover easy and pleasant to live with, coping well with our daily city commute and with a turning circle of 10.6 metres, being easy to negotiate in and out of our parking building that is perhaps better described as a concrete obstacle course.
A real benefit Mitsubishi offers their customers over their competitors is an excellent warranty cover, which provides for a 10 year/160,000km powertrain warranty and a 5 year/130,000km bumper to bumper factory warranty. This is the most generous in the marketplace and speaks volumes of Mitsubishi’s faith in their own product.
Priced from $41,990 for the LS to $45,990 for the Sport, Mitsubishi’s new ASX diesel ticks a lot of boxes and at these prices offers excellent value, undercutting all the relevant competitors in this crowded market sector by some margin.