"The Mitsubishi ASX looks good and is competitively priced, which makes it an attractive rival to the Nissan Qashqai."
The Mitsubishi ASX is one of an army of SUV-inspired family cars that has been introduced to rival conventional hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf. Described as a crossover, it blends the commanding driving position of an off-roader with fuss-free hatchback-style handling. The ASX hopes to cash in on the success of cars like the Nissan Qashqai, and is offered with a choice of petrol and diesel engines – four-wheel drive is only available on the latter. All versions come with plenty of equipment as standard.
The steering isn’t as precise as a Nissan Qashqai's, while the ASX's soft suspension results in some body roll in corners. However, the car is comfortable on rough roads and is particularly good at dealing with speed bumps and potholes. The 147bhp 1.8-litre diesel feels strong, especially from 2,000rpm, when the turbo is working at its hardest. The 1.6-litre petrol needs higher revs to perform and is noisier on the motorway, as it makes do with a five-speed gearbox; the diesel features a six-speed manual box.
clever technology is designed to ensure the 1.8-litre diesel runs smoothly, but when you start the engine there's still a fair bit of clatter from under the bonnet. The petrol engine is smoother, but all versions of the ASX suffer from wind noise on the move. The soft suspension offers impressive comfort, with the car riding ripples, lumps and speed bumps with ease. This is the first Mitsubishi to come with a tilt and slide steering column, which makes it easier to get comfortable behind the wheel.
The ASX's interior is smart enough, and evertything works well and feels built to last, too. However, the plastics used don’t have the same quality look and feel as those in the likes of the Volkswagen Golf. Safety impresses – the car comes equipped with seven airbags, as well as anti-skid electronic stability control as standard – and this helped it achieve a maximum score of five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP.
The whole point of crossovers is practicality – and the ASX scores top marks with its fold-flat rear seats and 442-litre boot. The boot opening is large and there's some underfloor storage, too. A ski hatch helps when carrying longer objects, while a large glovebox and central cubbyhole provide plenty of storage space. As the ASX has a long passenger compartment, there's lots of room in the back.
Value for money
THIS Mitsubishi is great value for money, with even entry-level models getting air-conditioning, alloy wheels and remote central locking. The big-selling ASX 3 adds climate control, cruise control and rear parking sensors. Range-topping models include a reversing camera, satellite navigation and leather seats, so you get a lot of car for the money.
The big-selling 1.6-litre petrol ASX 3 doesn’t cost too much to run. Stop-start technology means the engine shuts down when you’re sitting in traffic, which helps it return an impressive 47.1mpg and emit 135g/km. The diesel has even better economy, at 51.4mpg, but emits 145g/km, so annual road tax costs £15 more, at £125. The diesel has shorter 9,000-mile service intervals, too; the petrol car only needs to visit the dealer every 12,500 miles. Either way, Mitsubishi's fixed-price servicing will help owners plan their costs.