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Mitsubishi ASX 3 1.6 2WD

Click to view picture gallery“You can get into an ASX one of
  Mitsubishi
s crossover-cum-soft-
  roaders
from as little as 14,999.
  That
s enough to put you behind
  the wheel of an entry-level 1.6-litre
  petrol-drinking 2WD version. More
  good news:
the popular ASX is
  bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from
  a recent makeover...


BUT DON'T LET PRICE stand in your way. You can pay as much as 23,899 if you fancy all the bells and whistles and full-blown four-wheel drive. Engine-wise the choice is between a 115bhp 1.6-litre petrol with 2WD or a 114bhp 1.8-litre turbodiesel with either two- or four-wheel grip (four-wheel drive is only available on the diesel). Three simply labelled levels of spec are on offer: '2', '3', and '4'.


Crossovers, like death and taxes, are here to stay. One reason for that is that families, in particular, have taken them to heart —
both for practical reasons (their all-year-round abilities weather-wise) as well as their toughness; most crossover simply shrug-off the pox of potholes littering the UK's ever-worsening roads. Plus you sit higher and feel that both you and your children are safer than in an everyday hatchback. Other users covet them for, in 4WD guise, their off-the-beaten-track ability that fits well with 'active' lifestyles.

“Jump up into the roomy
cabin (all four side
doors are large and
make getting in and out
easy) and it all
looks very cool and
clean-cut with minimal
switchgear on the fascia
and just enough chrome
highlights to keep it
lively.
..”
Looks-wise the freshly made-over ASX looks pretty sharp — nips and tucks for these 2013 model year cars include a more polished front grille treatment with new body coloured front (and rear) bumpers, and new ten-spoke alloys. Inside the cabin there are more improvements covering items from the hi-fi to the steering wheel to upholstery materials. And under the skin the rear suspension has been tweaked. Overall nothing revolutionary — just common-sense evolutionary.

Jump up into the roomy cabin (all four side doors are large and make getting in and out easy; but there are four damped grab handles just in case) and it all looks very cool and clean-cut with minimal switchgear on the fascia and just enough chrome highlights to keep it lively.

The mid-range '3' trim level provides AirCon, heated front seats, power windows (driver's one-shot up/down) and door mirrors, auto lights 'n' wipes, powerfold door mirrors (on demand and on locking 'n' leaving), cruise control, CD player, Bluetooth, MP3 connectivity, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rear parking sensors, a multifunction (voice, 'phone, media and cruise control) leather-rimmed three-spoke wheel, keyless locking and start and a set of attractive 17-inch alloy wheels.

Safety kit is equally good with a five-star Euro NCAP rating, a full set of airbags and an emergency braking signal system. There's also an electronic stability control system to keep things neat and tidy when your driving isn't.

You may not get leather as standard in the midrange spec but that doesn't stop the seats being well-shaped, supportive and comfortable. In fact, many people still prefer fabric upholstery because it's warm in winter and doesn't, as Gollum would say, 'burns us' when you climb aboard after the car's been parked in the full summer sun. On hot days you can rely on the AirCon to keep you nicely chilled; on cold days the two-stage seat heating is a real boon —
and 'high' really does mean deliciously hot.

The driver is kept informed of important stuff such as the range, mpg, etc., via the display between the two clear main dials. He or she will also enjoy a commanding driving position made better by loads of foot room (drive in boots if you like), plenty of steering wheel reach-and-rake adjustability, height-adjustable seatbelts and plenty of seat adjustment. Most importantly, he or she gets a fine view of the road ahead.

“You may not get leather
as standard in the
midrange spec but that
doesn’t stop the seats
being well-shaped,
supportive and
comfortable. In fact,
many people prefer
cloth upholstery because
it’s warm in winter and
doesn’t burn after the
car’s been parked in the
full summer sun.
..”
Tidy mortals will appreciate the number of storage solutions within the cabin: a large glovebox, a big open 'cave' ahead of the gearlever at the base of the centre stack, a pair of co-joined cup-holders that double-up as an open tray, usable door bins that will take bottles, and a deep two-tier storage box under the sliding armrest between the front seats.

A nice detail: the traditional handbrake is still very accessible to the driver if the front passenger wants to take full advantage of the extending armrest.

Thanks to a fairly long wheelbase (that crucial measurement between the front and rear axles) the ASX has space, especially headroom, for five real-world adults.

And that goes for the rear cabin too where you sit higher; and there's also plenty of room for feet and a well-padded centre armrest with built-in cupholders that's wide enough to share. Fold it away and there's room for three.

And Mitsubishi haven't forgotten about your luggage, either —
the practical, well-shaped 416-litre boot, accessed via a fairly big opening, can be increased to a very accommodating 1,193 litres by dropping the 60:40 split-fold rear seatbacks. The resulting loadbay is flat-floored for no-sweat loading. Need to use the outer rear seats but got a long load too? No problem — there's a good-sized ski-hatch. You'll also find hidden storage (always handy) under the boot floor.

And if you prefer to keep the baggage outside, the 1.6 ASX will tow 1,200kg braked (the 1.8 oil-burner manages 1,400kg). Ideal for family campers! Those planning regular towing will probably go the diesel route for the extra torque —
221lb ft at 1,750rpm versus the petrol's 114lb ft.

When it comes to thirst the 2WD petrol is the harder drinker, with an official combined cycle consumption of 47.1mpg against the 2WD diesel's 55.4mpg and the 4WD diesel's 54.3mpg. But not everyone likes the smell (or the extra cost) of diesel fuel at the pumps, or notches up the higher mileages that tend to be part and parcel of the diesel-ownership equation.

Those choosing a petrol-powered ASX will find —
if they drive as hard as we do — that they average around 40mpg. CO2 emissions are 137g/km and there's stop-start system fitted to make sure the 1,590cc four-pot is as sparing on the unleaded as it can be.

“The ASX is also comfy
to travel in thanks to its
accommodating ride —
a compliant suspension allied to non low-pro tyres make it ‘soft’
enough over humps and
bumps; and ‘sleeping policemen’ can be run
over with ease.
..”
For those who like to know about 'techie' things, other eco-boosting features on the revised ASX include composite (weight reducing) front wings, low rolling resistance tyres, electric power steering, low viscosity oil (for quicker warm-ups), and a regenerative braking energy capture system.

The 2WD ASX leads from the front. It's easy to manoeuvre and light and undemanding to drive with a typically Japanese efficiency about its capable and reassuring front-wheel drive road manners. The 1.6-litre engine is reasonably flexible with the benchmark 62mph showing up in 11.4 seconds from getting off the line.

Making use of the five gears is easy work although on motorways at 70mph (3,000rpm in 5th) you do sometimes find yourself wanting to change up one more gear. Keep the pedal down though and, road permitting, you'll max out at 113mph.

The ASX is also comfy to travel in thanks to its accommodating ride —
a compliant suspension allied to non low-pro tyres (215/60) make it 'soft' enough over humps and bumps; and 'sleeping policemen' can be run over with ease. Even the dreaded potholes are taken in its stride.

This ASX compact crossover from Mitsubishi makes a sound alternative to a more commonplace 'tradback' —
traditional mainstream family hatchback personified by the likes of VW's Golf and Ford's Focus. It's well-specced, good-looking and durable, and strong on real-life functionality without falling into the trap of trying too hard to be too fashionable. — MotorBar

Mitsubishi ASX 3 1.6 2WD
| 16,750
Top speed: 113mph | 0-62mph: 11.4 seconds | Average Test MPG: 40.1mpg
Power: 115bhp | Torque: 114lb ft | CO2 137g/km