ASX 3 1.8 Diesel
latest addition to Mitsubishis
long heritage of SUVs is the ASX,
a competitively priced, family-sized,
five-door, SUV-styled crossover...
EVEN THOUGH ELECTRIC POWER is high on the sales agenda (with their small
electric vehicle, the i-MiEV), Mitsubishi can fall back on its expertise in
producing cars that the public really want. Mitsubishi now has a range of cars
suitable for most proven tastes and these include SUV 4x4s in large, medium
and compact sizes.
The main feature of the ASX is its diesel engine the first variable valve
diesel engine in a production vehicle. On-the-road prices are highlights as
well, starting at £15,164 for the two-wheel drive 1.6-litre, 113bhp petrol version
and ranging up to £22,229 for the four-wheel drive 1.8-litre diesel 145bhp version.
Most people will opt for a mid-range 1.8-litre diesel with two-wheel drive in
level 3 specification weighing in at an attractive £18,729.
The petrol engine is available with two-wheel drive only with specification
levels 2, 3 and 4. The diesel models have 3 and 4 grade trim with 2WD and 4WD
versions. All models have a fuel saving Auto Stop & Go system as standard, a
five-speed manual gearbox for the petrol engine and a six-speeder for the new
diesel engine. A three-year service plan costs an additional £445 which is more
than for Mitsubishi's larger Outlander and Shogun 4x4 models.
ASX takes its name from 'Active Sports X-over' and it uses Mitsubishi's new
world C-segment platform that is shared with their Lancer Saloon and Hatchback
range. Indeed, the ASX looks very much like a taller and more muscular version
of the stylish Lancer five-door Hatchback. As such it is Mitsubishi's answer
to the market-leading crossover, the Nissan Qashqai, and the strong-selling
Peugeot 3008 which is my particular favourite.
The ASX is Mitsubishis
answer to the market-
the Nissan Qashqai,
and the strong-selling
There are a now quite a number of these SUV-styled, family-sized models to choose
from the most recent being the Kia Sportage, Hyundai iX35 and the MINI
Countryman. The Nissan Juke, a sporty looking compact SUV, will soon join the
ever growing crossover sector.
Smart to look at, well equipped and the right size for family crossover use,
on the face of it the ASX doesn't set any new standards in its sector but it
is very attractively priced. However, its star feature is the world's first
diesel engine with variable valve timing.
The all-new, four-cylinder 1.8-litre turbodiesel unit applies modern direct
injection petrol engine technology to a diesel engine. This world first for
a diesel engine uses variable valve timing applied to the inlet valve train
to deliver a number of advantages, most notably responsive driveability due
to its free-revving nature.
Just like a petrol engine in fact; good performance with 145bhp and 221lb ft
of torque from 2,000rpm and good fuel economy of 51.4mpg for the Combined Cycle
with relatively low CO2 emissions of 145g/km for the best-selling two-wheel
drive versions and 49.6mpg and 150g/km for the all-wheel drive models.
Top speed for the diesel two-wheel drive version is 124mph with a 0-62mph time
of an impressive 9.7 seconds (123mph and 10 seconds for the all-wheel drive
with variable geometry turbocharging the 1.8-litre turbodiesel is particularly
notable for its low compression ratio of 14.9:1 the lowest of any current
passenger diesel car engine on the market. This low ratio was one of the main
design objectives in order to achieve refinement, low emissions, long lasting
reliability, smooth running and enjoyable driving performance.
In most respects,
certainly for price and
the Mitsubishi ASX
is a winner...
The new variable valve timing function controls the closing timing of the inlet
valves for an improved effective compression ratio. Reducing the 'lift' of the
inlet valves creates a stronger swirl of fuel/air mixture for maximum power
and lower emissions. Multi-stage fuel injection (the variable number of injections
per piston cycle), provides the correct amount of fuel/air mixture at all times
depending on what load the engine is being put under. All clever stuff, and
a very logical move by Mitsubishi who also developed the world's first direct
injection petrol engines known as GDI.
For the record, the new 1.6-litre petrol engine, which will appeal to some customers
because of its lower purchase price, is a 16-valve DOHC unit with variable valve
timing and is based on the 1.5-litre engine fitted to Colt Hatchbacks. Power
output is 113bhp, torque 114lb ft, top speed 113mph, 0-62mph 11.4 seconds and
47.1mpg with CO2 emissions of just 138g/km.
Other fuel- and CO2-saving features offered by the ASX include Auto Stop & Go,
electronic power steering, regenerative braking, low rolling resistance tyres
and a lightweight body.
Standard equipment on all versions includes alloy wheels, air conditioning,
electronically-operated front/rear windows and door mirrors, Auto Stop & Go,
Active Stability Control and Traction Control, aux-in jack, stereo sound system,
keyless entry, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, dual-stage front side and curtain
airbags, driver's knee airbag and a tilt and telescopic steering column.
ASX 3 versions gain fully automatic air conditioning, one touch starting, cruise
control, heated seats, privacy glass, audio wheel controls, Bluetooth, leather-covered
steering wheel and gearknob, automatic lights and windscreen wipers and chrome
exterior detailing. ASX 4 models have leather seats and Kenwood in-car entertainment
incorporating iPod control, SatNav and a reversing camera.
to the comprehensive safety specification which includes up to seven airbags,
the ASX has a Euro NCAP 5-star rating. And pedestrians are considered as well,
with the use of plastic front wings, a double-bulge cushioning bonnet and energy-absorbing
Thanks to the
which includes up to
has a Euro NCAP
The engine and pricing are most definitely the stars of the ASX show. My test
model, the ASX 3 1.8 two-wheel drive costs £18,549 but the on-the-road costs
push this up to £18,729 still really good value. With just 145g/km of
CO2 emission road tax is £125 a year and for company car drivers the Benefit-in-Kind
tax is 21%. Officially this model will return 51.4mpg in the Combined Cycle
but my car did better, returning 52.2mpg for day-to-day driving during the week-long
Fuel- and CO2-efficient this new technology 145bhp diesel engine might be, but
not at the expense of performance. The first thing I noticed was how free revving
and eager it was, not the usual lazy long stroke diesel feel. It is ultra responsive
and, boosted by a turbocharger, power streams in very readily from 2,000rpm
upwards giving it a very good zero to 62mph acceleration time of 9.7 seconds
and an impressive 124mph top speed. This diesel unit feels as responsive as
the latest direct injection turbocharged petrol engine but with more torque
at 221lb ft.
The engine can be a bit noisy at low speeds but that disappears on open roads.
The Auto Stop-Go system worked happily enough and seems to complement this excellent
new engine well. The six-speed gearbox has well spaced ratios and is very slick
and positive to use.
The ride is on the firm side but it is not uncomfortable. Road control is good
and cornering grip predictable. This was the two-wheel drive model so I look
forward to seeing how this unit performs with the electronic all-wheel drive
system. Certainly the official figures for performance, fuel consumption and
CO2 emissions show very little difference between two- and four-wheel drive
models but these 4x4 versions cost £1,500 more than the 2WD models.
All positive stuff but not totally perfect in the area of the interior. Yes
this ASX is well equipped and really good value for money. It is roomy for passengers
both front and rear and offers good rear headroom. The load area is not as long
as the Qashqai or Peugeot 3008 but the quoted load capacity figures are strangely
better at 442 litres with the rear seats in place and 1,193-litres with the
But it is the visual quality of the interior that disappoints. It looks very
drab and feels cheap although the quality seems durable. It does not come close
to the sumptuous interior of the Peugeot 3008 which is a real shame because
in most other respects, certainly for price and the excellent new engine, the
Mitsubishi ASX diesel crossover is a winner. David Miles
Mitsubishi ASX 3 1.8 Diesel | £18,549
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 9.7 seconds | Overall test MPG: 52.2mpg
Power: 145bhp | Torque: 221lb ft | CO2 145g/km