£16,184 - £28,589 Price range
47 - 61 MPG
Sadly, the 2016 facelift will do little to endear the ASX to the young and hip. The new ‘Dynamic Shield’ front grille shape is different, but whether it’s an improvement of old chrome-surround design is very much up for debate.
Keeping things consistent, the dashboard design lacks flair but a new ‘shark fin’ aerial means Radio 4 should rarely fall from the stereo’s reach. Interior improvements are limited to revised upholstery and re-cushioned seats. That said, there’s plenty of space for four adults, room to stretch out in the back and the boot is among the largest in class.
The biggest surprise is that the ASX drives way better than it looks, relatively speaking. The steering is meaty and body control is pretty decent, too. It’s not as cosseting as the Nissan Qashqai but copes well with most bumps and poor road surfaces.
And it’s on the latter of those two that the ASX shines – offering genuine off-road potential that eclipses all its aforementioned rivals, especially when it’s paired with four-wheel drive and the torquey 2.2-litre diesel engine. The 1.6-litre petrol motor is better suited to the city and only comes fitted with two-wheel drive to cement that view.
Equipment levels are good with basic models, called ASX 2, having the bare necessities such as air-con and phone connectivity as standard. Mid-range ASX 4 models represent the best value, adding attractive extras such as a leather interior and sat-nav.
Mitsubishi has been spotted testing an all-new model. Check out the prototype in our complete 2017 Mitsubishi ASX price, specs and release date article.
Nearly everything inside the ASX is black and, though the piano black plastic lifts the cabin up, the greasy fingerprints that soon cover it do not. Aside from the lack of any form of style, the cabin is put together well and the gloomy plastics are fairly soft to the touch.
Mitsubishi ASX passenger space
For a compact SUV the ASX is quite roomy – passengers get plenty of head and legroom. Rear-seat occupants have the added benefit of being able to stretch their legs under the front seats, but the middle seat is too narrow to be comfortable over a long period of time for a fifth passenger.
The ASX offers its driver an excellent view of the road ahead and it is surprisingly easy to manoeuvre at low speeds. The steering wheel adjusts for reach as well as up and down, so it’s easy to find a driving position that suits you.
Mitsubishi ASX boot space
The ASX’s boot is reasonably big at 416 litres with the seats up and the low lip eases the loading of heavy items. With the seats down, space rises to 1,193 litres which is 42 litres down on the Renault Captur at maximum capacity. There’s also a false boot floor that hides a surprisingly deep 30-litre cubby and a ski hatch in the middle rear seatback that you can feed longer items through. Take a look at our handy Mitsubishi ASX dimensions guide for more information.
Unlike many of the latest small SUVs, which sometimes have sporty and firm rides, the ASX is much softer and inevitably, rolls heavily in corners as a result. But as comfy cruisers go in this class, it is (pardon the pun) a firm bet.
Push in corners and you’ll find the ASX has more grip than the squealing tyres might lead you to believe, but it isn’t an involving drive – a benefit or a drawback, depending on whether you want a car that’s actually rewarding to drive quickly.
Four-wheel drive is available on most engines – it’s a selectable system, meaning it sends power to the front until you flick the switch to 4WD. There’s no trick traction control system like in the Peugeot 2008 – although it won’t get you as far as the Mitsubishi’s system – and running costs take a substantial hit, so owners are advised to stick to the front-wheel-drive version unless they have a genuine need to go off-road.
There’s one petrol and two diesels to choose from and it’s best to stick to the latter. There is a choice between a six-speed manual or an automatic that delivers precise and decisive gear shifts.
Mitsubishi’s Intelligent Motion is fitted to all models. It’s unobtrusive and bundles together stop-start, regenerative braking, electric power steering, a clever alternator that only works when it’s needed, power-saving LED tail lights and low rolling resistance tyres to save fuel.
Mitsubishi ASX petrol engine
The 1.6-litre petrol engine is slow, thirsty and best avoided – it’s outshone by smaller, more modern units in the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008. It sits at high revs on the motorway, so matching the claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 48mpg is difficult and CO2 emissions of 135g/km result in £130 annual road tax, when most rivals will set you back £30.
Mitsubishi ASX diesel engines
The 115hp 1.6-litre diesel is the one to go for. It has enough pulling power at low speeds and isn’t bad on fuel – returning 61mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km for £30-a-year road tax.
The 148hp 2.2-litre engine is claimed to get 49mpg, which is decent for the size of the engine, but not class leading by a long shot. The most powerful diesel Renault Kadjar averages 58mpg.
The 1.6-litre petrol engine develops just 115bhp and struggles in a car as big as the ASX. The reviews say it needs to be driven quite hard and when you do it becomes a mite intrusive; it’ll hit 60mph in 11.4 seconds if you drive it like you’ve stolen it but you can forget about relaxed cruising because you’ll need to drop it down a gear when you reach your first hill.
One expert said that it felt like it was “constricted to deliver low CO2 emissions and an encouraging fuel economy”, although if that is the case then the average that this motoring journalist got (on a 400-mile motorway run) was only just over 30mpg, which is nowhere near the published official average fuel consumption figure of 47.1mpg.
The experts suggest that you’ll be better off with the diesel engine, which is a lovely little thing.
By contrast with the 1.6-litre petrol engine (which is a bit noisy, slow and thirsty) the 1.8-litre diesel engine was well-liked by everyone who drove it – although they did caution that it can be a bit noisy when it is extended with an “intrusive” whistle from the turbo.
It’ll hit 60mph in about 9.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of 124mph. Far more importantly, however, it’ll cruise at motorway speeds all day and still return an “astounding” 50mpg in everyday use. It feels more like a 2.0-litre engine according to those who have driven it.
It has fine manners too, “accelerating without complaint from quite low revs” and “even in the higher gears it remains responsive; picking up crisply in fourth for quick, safe overtaking”. This flexibility is hugely important in city driving too, allowing you to change up into a higher gear than would otherwise be possible.
This is a fine engine that suits the ASX very well.
The ASX represents great value for money because it gets a five-year/62,500-mile warranty package that includes 10 years cover for the car’s powertrain – only the 100,000-mile warranties offered by Kia and Hyundai are better.
Mitsubishi ASX 2
The entry-level ASX 2 may not look as desirable as the more-expensive models but it still gets alloy wheels and front fog lamps. Inside, it’s got all the basics such as air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port – so you can connect your smartphone – all-round power windows and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.
Mitsubishi ASX 3
Move up to the ASX 3 and it gets desirable two-tone alloy wheels, black wheel arches and bright HID headlights with washers. The heated front seats are the most useful addition inside along with keyless entry, cruise control and automatic climate control.
Mitsubishi ASX 4
ASX 4 trim feels more luxurious on account of its leather upholstery and it also gets sporty aluminium pedals, a panoramic sunroof as well as an infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen that comes with sat-nav. Exterior additions are less noticeable with only the practical roof rails standing out.
Mitsubishi ASX 5
One would think the ASX 4 has all the kit you’ll need, but the ASX 5 trumps it with an interior upholstered in expensive nappa leather that’s available in three colours, and matching floor mats. Along with that, the driver gets a power-adjustable seat while backseat passengers are treated to heated seats and two USB ports.
The Mitsubishi ASX is a fine car that doesn’t change the rules one iota. If you’re after a no-nonsense practical family SUV with loads of standard equipment then it’s fairly easy to recommend.
However, so are its rivals, which also feel more car-like to drive, offer better engine options and interiors that are a few steps ahead in terms of design and technology.