Mitsubishi ASX review
The Mitsubishi ASX has a decent infotainment system and comes with a long list of standard kit, but it feels too dated in important areas to recommend ahead of newer alternatives.
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What's not so good
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Let’s first address the elephant in the room – and, by the way, this elephant has a walking stick and free bus pass. Yep, the Mitsubishi ASX is now almost 10 years old, which in car-building terms is a bit like being David Attenborough at a disco.
And despite this latest ASX looking a lot different to the previous one, it’s actually pretty much the same car underneath, yet these days faces much fiercer competition from the likes of the Seat Arona, Volkswagen T-Cross and Mazda CX-3.
Why’s the ASX so old? Well, boring reasons to do with Mitsubishi’s new partnership with Renault and Nissan and having to wait in line for new technology and an all-new model. So, for now, the ASX has had a large facelift instead, getting Mitsubishi’s new ‘Dynamic Shield’ grille styling, new front and rear bumpers, and LED lights. You’ll find new wheel designs and extra colour choices in the brochure, too.
Inside there’s a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the middle of the dashboard, but either side is much the same dash fitted to the previous car. As such, there’s just enough pleasant-feeling plastic to rival alternatives and solid build quality, but the further down the cabin you go the cheaper it feels, while the ASX’s switches aren’t particularly satisfying to use.
On the subject of infotainment, entry-level Design models this comes with DAB radio, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a couple of USB connections. On more expensive Dynamic models the system also gets built-in sat-nav by TomTom. In both its forms the system is bright and responsive, with easy-to-follow menu systems moved through either via touch or rotary dials.
The amount of standard equipment you get is also impressive, bettering other small SUVs. There are just two trims but even entry-level Design comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless start, a reversing camera, climate control, heated front seats and cruise control.
The Mitsubishi ASX’s updated infotainment system stands out in what is otherwise a small SUV that looks and feels long in the tooth.
Tall adults will have no problems with the amount in the front of the Mitsubishi ASX, but in the back the news is less positive. Kneeroom for another couple of adults is fine, but they’ll find their heads against the ceiling and, while few small SUVs manage to seat three in the back, the ASX’s middle seat is uncomfortable and there isn’t much foot room for the middle passenger. Still, at least its boot is actually one of the more spacious among its peers.
Its peers are all better to drive, though. The ASX’s single 150hp 2.0-litre petrol engine option feels weaker than its power figure suggests and its vague steering and poor body control don’t inspire confidence on winding roads. Plus, it’s uncomfortable in town and noisy on the motorway. The ASX’s five-speed manual gearbox is unpleasant to use, too, so we’d spend more on the CVT automatic if you can stretch to it.
Which all makes the ageing Mitsubishi ASX difficult to recommend ahead of newer alternatives, even considering its generous five-year warranty and Mitsubishi’s sterling reliability record. Truth be told, there are numerous small SUVs that are more enjoyable to drive, better for rear passengers and have far more attractive cabins.
The Mitsubishi ASX has one of the biggest boots out of all the smallish SUVs and front passengers will have few issues, but adults in the back will find more to complain about.
Boxy, family-based SUV is rather practical. Who’d have thunk it?
Tall adults will have no problems with the amount of space in the front of the Mitsubishi ASX. Head and legroom are both very generous, although Design models, with a manually adjustable driver’s seat, offer a better driving position because the electrically adjustable one in the Dynamic model sits quite high even in its lowest setting.
In the back, though, the news is less positive. Kneeroom for another couple of adults is fine, but they will find their heads against the ceiling. Dynamic models with the panoramic roof are even worse as the ceiling rests against the side of the head too. Few small SUVs manage to seat three in the back particularly well and the same is true here. The middle seat is uncomfortable and there isn’t much foot room for the middle passenger, either.
The Mitsubishi ASX might not have the practicality of some rivals such as the Honda HR-V, but storage areas inside are decently thought out.
The front door pockets can only hold a 500ml bottle, but you have three more cupholders in the centre console. The large glovebox and the two central cubbies should have no problems swallowing phones.
The rear door pockets are also fairly generous, you’ll find a couple of further pockets on the backs of the front seats and there’s a fold-down armrest between the rear seats with cup holders too.
The ASX’s boot is reasonably big at 406 litres with the seats up and the low lip eases the loading of heavy items, while with the rear seats (which also split 60:40) down, space rises to 1,193 litres. That’s only a little down on a VW T-Cross with its seats in place, but quite a way behind when you drop them flat.
There isn’t much in the way of practical touches like hooks and tethers either, but you’ll still be able to fit a couple of large suitcases inside along with some soft bags; a set of golf clubs will slot in, too, as will a pushchair.
The ASX’s single engine option isn’t particularly strong or efficient and it feels unsettled over lumps and bumps at most speeds, but not many small SUVs offer proper four-wheel drive and genuine off-road ability
The ASX fails to hide its age with its drive. Its steering is poor and it's pretty uncomfortable over bumps.
There is just one engine option for the Mitsubishi ASX: a 2.0-litre petrol that produces 150hp without the help of any turbochargers. You can then choose a five-speed manual gearbox with Design trim and front wheel drive or a CVT automatic and all-wheel drive on Dynamic models.
With either gearbox fitted the 2.0-litre is no firecracker, but despite figures that suggest otherwise the CVT actually feels slightly more urgent. That’s because this engine doesn’t pull well from low revs, forcing you to manually change down sometimes a couple of gears in search of a little get up and go using what is a notchy manual shift with a long throw.
However, the CVT raises the revs far quicker when asking for acceleration and gets you moving more urgently, plus is generally more relaxing to mooch about town with. As such, although it’s noisier when accelerating, we’d go for the auto if you can stretch to Mitsubishi’s more expensive Dynamic trim.
Official fuel economy figures are yet to be released for any ASX, but you can expect economy somewhere in the mid-thirties range for the manual two-wheel drive and less than that for the all-wheel-drive auto.
The Mitsubishi ASX is pretty straightforward when it comes to its drive because there are no clever driving modes to change its steering, suspension or throttle response. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t drive particularly well, with vague steering and lots of body roll in corners making it no fun on a winding road.
It’s less offensive in town where decent visibility and light steering make it easy to thread through urban traffic and slot into parking spaces, but you won’t enjoy its suspension, which struggles to soak up ruts, potholes and drain covers. And on the motorway the ASX is very noisy, both in terms of its engine drone and noticeable wind noise around its A-pillars and door mirrors.
Still, should you want to head off-road then the ASX will get you further from the Tarmac than most small SUVs – providing you buy the Dynamic model with its four-wheel drive system. It can run in either two-wheel drive mode, in an Auto mode that will send power to the back when needed or be locked in an AWD mode that keeps all four wheels turning when needed.
The ASX feels old inside both in terms of design and the materials used, but its infotainment system deserves more praise