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Mitsubishi ASX AWD: Confident and comfortable compact crossover

By Ghaith Madadha - Feb 10,2020 - Last updated at Feb 10,2020

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi

Designed to resemble a higher-riding and estate body version of the Japanese Manufacturer’s popular Lance saloon, the Mitsubishi has revised and improved twice already. And for 2020, the ASX is re-introduced with a fresh new look and improved safety, drivability and technology.

The brand’s third best-selling vehicle since its introduction with 1.32 million units in 90 countries, the ASX was quick to join the Mitsubishi line-up as part of the highly popular compact crossover SUV segment, and as a replacement for the Mitsubishi RVR and the declining interest in its mini-MPV segment.

The smallest and most car-like among a model range that is changing to a more crossover and SUV focused one, the new ASX’s most obvious change is that it seems to have decisively ditched its aesthetic link to the small lancer saloon, and instead adopted a more rugged and contemporary fascia design.

Dubbed “Impact sand Impulse” as a design concept, the ASX sports a more horizontally-oriented face, with browed headlights, tough-looking skid pate-like lower lip, slim twin-slat grille and C-shaped chrome highlights framing its blacked out bumper and air intake.

 

Sporty stance

 

Sporty and urgent in demeanour with its quad side lamps, faux side vents and rising ridged character lines along its flanks, the ASX also features a descending roofline, wide, road-hugging stance and redesigned rear light elements that somewhat resemble Volvo’s “Thor’s Hammer” headlight treatment.

At the front, the ASX’s muscularly scalloped and ridged clamshell bonnet has hints of the first generation Range Rover Evoque about it. Underneath, the ASX is powered by a transversely-mounted naturally-aspirated 2-litre engine driving the front wheels in base specification, or all four wheels, as featured. 

A square engine design with equal bore diameter and stroke length, the Mitsubishi ASX’s 2-litre 4-cylinder is smooth and lineal in delivery, with progressive build up of torque and power.

Slightly more biased for power over torque, it develops 148BHP at 6,000rpm and a maximum 145lb/ft at 4,200rpm. This ensures that the 1,435kg ASX accelerates from standstill to 100km/h in a respectable if not outright fast, 11.3-seconds, and onto a 191km/h top speed. Responsive at low-end, versatile in mid-range and willing at top-end, the ASX’s output is well exploited through Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

 

Smooth and consistent

 

If lacking the feel and control that a traditional manual or automatic gearbox provides, CVT however delivers a smoother and arguably more effective accumulation of speed by keeping the engine at a constant speed at its most efficient, while its system of pulley and bands change transmission ratios on a sliding scale rather than through fixed ratios. 

More efficient, CVT vehicles have a slingshot feeling when accelerating. But for those preferring a more traditional feel and control ratios, the ASX has a paddle shift manual mode, where it shifts through pre-set ratios.

Well-matched with CVT, the ASX’s engine delivers power primarily to the front wheels to maintain fuel efficiency, but can allocate power to the rear axle when needed for additional traction, grip and stability.

A smooth and comfortable cruiser on highway and in town, the ASX is stable and refined on highway, with good cabin refinement and little by way of drivetrain and road noise.

Taking bumps and lumps in its stride, the ASX is a forgiving ride over imperfections, and settles well on rebound, while 225/55R18 tyres are a good compromise for ride quality and grip.

 

Tidy and forgiving

 

With generous 205mm ground clearance combined with a compact wheelbase the ASX benefits from a good ramp angle for traversing obstacles on tarmac and dirt roads. The ASX is not a dedicated off-roader, but a road-biased crossover.

Very much car-like, the ASX’s road manners make it’s user-friendly and manoeuvrable, with its wide track and short wheelbase allowing for agile handling through corners. Turning tidily with light and accurate steering, the ASX turns in nimbly and with good front grip, and corners with a manoeuvrable turning circle and decent body lean control and reassuring road-holding.

Spacious and user-friendly with logical controls within easy reach and tidy layouts in front, the ASX’s cabin provides good shoulder and headroom. Driving position is meanwhile comfortable and supportive, and with good visibility.

Rear seats are decently sized for the segment as are the ASX’s boot space and cabin accessibility. Well-equipped, the ASX boasts seven airbags, blindspot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, rearview camera and more safety and assistance systems. Comfort and convenience features include an Apple Carplay and Android Auto enabled infotainment system with a nine-speaker Rockford sound system, and panoramic glass roof.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 2-litre, transverse 4-cylinders 

Bore x stroke: 86 x 86mm

Compression ratio: 10:1

Valve-train: 16-valve, variable valve timing, DOHC

Gearbox: Continuously variable transmission (CVT) auto, front-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 148 (150) [110] @6,000rpm

Specific power: 74BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 103.1BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 145.3 (197) @4,200rpm

Specific torque: 98.6Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 137.2Nm/tonne

0-100km/h: 11.3-seconds (est.)

Top speed: 191km/h

Fuel capacity: 60-litres

Length: 4,365mm

Width: 1,810mm

Height: 1,640mm

Wheelbase: 2,670mm

Ground clearance: 205mm

Kerb weight: 1,435kg

Gross vehicle weight: 1,970kg

Seating capacity: 5

Steering: Electric-assisted rack and pinion

Turning radius: 10.6-metres

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson strut/multilink, with anti-roll bars 

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/discs

Tyres: 225/55R18

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