Yes yes yes, oh YES: space, comfort, fairly well equipped.
Oh dear me no: Noisy tyres, ride too firm
We drove both the LS FWD 2.0L petrol with CVT and the 6 speed auto XLS AWD 2.2L turbo diesel and one thing is clear, the recipe works. The GS platform is shared with many other models over several different brands including a slightly disguised Peugeot version.
The base model LS misses out on a lot of the good stuff in the cabin and is great is you just fancy a higher seating position and don’t like the Lancer which is also in the GS platform. The $25,000 (drive away) LS manual price is good value too. $38,500 drive away for the top AWD 6 speed auto has oodles of gear such as: power leather seats, glass roof, smart entry/start.
Anyone who has driven a Lancer will feel right at home in the ASX with the controls and appearance looking spookily similar and that’s a good thing. The new model arrives sometime next year and will no doubt bring an “Outlander” type of feel.
I had a Lancer driver onboard who remarked that the seats were as uncomfortable as her Lancer. Whilst I didn’t agree, I noted how differently people could feel sitting right next to each other in the same car. I’d happily drive any distance in an ASX and after a few hours behind the wheel felt perfectly fresh.
Both engines have 110kw of power but the diesel has 360Nm vs the petrol 197Nm. This makes the diesel feel slightly more powerful because the torque will get you on the move that bit faster. The diesel gets 6.0L/100k and the petrol 7.4L/100k according to Mitsubishi. While we are on the subject of diesel VS petrol, you should know the petrol only comes in front wheel drive and the diesel only in all wheel drive. It’s hard to imagine why but there it is.
The interior is starting to feel a bit last week so the new model can’t come soon enough. The audio system is the standard Mitsubishi model with Bluetooth streaming and is easy to connect to your phone using voice commands. Even in the top model, the sound from it is only just OK. It is about now that you have to remember you’re in an entry level SUV, so in that light it isn’t too bad. I noticed when shutting the doors that they sounded a bit tinny, and the Lancer has that same sound. No, it doesn’t sound like a Golf but in light of recent events that mightn’t be a bad thing.
The cargo space goes from 393L seats up to 1143L seats down so plenty of room for a couple of bags for a weekend away.
On the road:
The noise from the tyres is a bit intrusive on the 18” wheels which are standard across the range. The big wheels also make the ride a bit too firm for my taste. It isn’t bad by any means but it doesn’t need to be so harsh on a car that will never go off-road. However, the handling is light with steering giving most assistance at low speeds when you really need it. Like most electric power steering it doesn’t have quite the same feel as hydraulic but doesn’t take long to get used to. The diesel is quite course and intrusive particular under heavy acceleration but there is no doubting the extra oomph and economy. In city traffic you need to keep the revs up on diesels models to get the most nip.
You notice the front wheel drive scrambling for grip but if you’ve purchased the diesel engine you’ll be able to switch to AWD. In AWD the torque steer vanishes completely. I wouldn’t bother with FWD period as the handling is considerably improved with the power going to all four wheels.
You won’t be going around corners at warp speed but you will still enjoy a decent country drive. Bumps mid corner upset her but not to the point where she skips sideways. Using the paddle shifter on the steering wheel helps you get a little bit extra out of the engine but the ASX really is not the sort of sports vehicle that gets much advantage from it.
On the highway, the road noise isn’t so intrusive as to be unpleasant but is much noisier than the Outlander.
All models score cruise control, climate control, power windows and power folding mirrors.
XLS gets keyless entry/start, glass roof, auto day/night mirror.
If an entry level vehicle is all you want, then look no further. It is an attractive package with decent fuel figures. The top spec model lacks a bit of the gear you might hope for but is still decent value. The look, though aging, is elegant and classy. The cabin is comfy and you could do a long trip without much strife.
If I could make one suggestion, it would be to drive the Outlander too. It overlaps in price and tops out at 48 grand. It is a nicer drive and feels more modern.
Either way you can expect worry free motoring as Mitsubishi scores well on reliability and 5 stars on safety. Remember, the 5 stars was when last tested which was probably when the model was launched almost 5 years ago.
I like a car to be as quiet as possible. I recently berated Mini for the unforgivable noise in the Mini ONE. Whilst the ASX was nowhere near as rowdy, it would be wearing on the nerves after a thousand K’s.
I’d like to mention one final thing: When driving cars for review, it sometimes happens that you drive entry level and premium level one after the other. This week we have had both the ASX and Audi’s Q7. In no way do we seek to make a comparison but it is only natural to feel slightly glum going from a Q7 to an ASX. It would be unfair not to mention this for the purposes of accuracy and openness.
Would I buy one? I might, but I wouldn’t do a thing without taking the Outlander for a spin first.
Price: $25,000 – $38,500 (drive away NSW)
Engine:2.0L MIVEC petrol 110kw-197Nm/2.2 DID turbo Diesel 110kw-360Nm
Trans: 5sp manual/CVT auto (petrol) or 6 speed auto with paddle shifters (diesel)