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Mitsubishi ASX: Convenient crossover embraces an assertive aesthetic

By Ghaith Madadha - Jul 04,2022 - Last updated at Jul 05,2022

Photos courtesy of Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi’s third most popular global vehicle, the ASX has sold 1.32-million units in 90 countries since it was first launched in 2010. A somewhat early arrival to the now ubiquitous crossover segment, it is now a long-running model. Into its fourth face-lift, it remains a relevant, comfortable, convenient and dynamically confident compact crossover. Revised in 2020 to integrate with the Japanese manufacturer’s contemporary corporate design, the ASX gets a new lease on life with a fresh-faced aesthetic and improved safety, drivability and technology.

 

Chunkier change

 

When first launched, the ASX was visually reminiscent of a wider, bulkier, high-riding wagon-bodied version of the then highly popular and aggressively styled tenth generation Mitsubishi Lancer compact saloon, with its slitty, deep-set headlights and tall trapezoidal grille. It is, however, a mark of changing consumer trends that the latest ASX abandons its car-like aesthetic cues, and instead embraces a chunkier and more SUV-influenced style that more closely resembles a smaller, feistier relation to the current Montero Sport SUV and L200 pick-up.

Sporting Mitsubishi’s ruggedly contemporary ‘Impact sand Impulse’ corporate design language, the refreshed ASX adopts a horizontally-oriented fascia, heavy on chrome accents and with a jutting bumper, SUV-like lower skid plate and C-shaped metallic trim framing its black bumper and air intake. With slim twin-slat grille flanking strongly browed headlights, it also features stacked quad lights either side, decorative side vents and prominent side character lines contrasting a descending roofline. From rear views the ASX meanwhile conveys a pert, alert and athletic stance.

 

Smooth and seamless

 

Beneath its muscularly scalloped and ridged clamshell bonnet, both front- and all-wheel-drive Middle East specification ASX versions are powered by a transversely-mounted, naturally-aspirated 2-litre, 4-cylinder engine. Employing a “square” engine design with equal bore diameter and stroke length, the ASX’s engine is smooth revving and progressive in delivery. Well-balanced in its power and torque output, the ASX’s engine develops 148BHP at 6,000rpm and 145lb/ft at 4,200rpm, which allows for 11.3-second 0-100km/h acceleration and a 193km/h top speed in front-drive specification, as featured.

Weighing 1,370kg, the front-drive ASX ‘s quoted acceleration time matches the 65kg heavier all-wheel-drive version, but it, however, seems to be slightly perkier in its on the move responses. That said, both versions are fitted with standard Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) for the region. Delivering decent, if not pulse-raising low-end response, mid-range flexibility and willing top-end delivery, the ASX’s CVT meanwhile well exploits its output in a seamlessly smooth fashion as ratios automatically adjust to help keep revs hovering at best efficiency.

Refined ride

 

With its sliding scale style of delivery as ratios fluently alter to maintain a more constant engine speed, CVT transmission is less intuitive in throttle accuracy and directness, and is typically less willing to allow high revving. However, the ASX is slightly less restrictive in this regard, especially when using its fixed ratio paddle-shift “manual” mode. In auto mode, speed efficiently accumulates with a telltale “slingshot” feel under heavy throttle input as ratios readjust, while revs hover in a narrow mid-range band.

Comfortable and smooth riding at motorway speeds, the ASX delivers a good compromise between absorbent ride quality and handling, even when fitted with grippier yet stiffer optional lower profile 225/55R18 tyres. Well-refined inside from noise and harshness, the ASX dispatches imperfections with forgiving fluency and feels settled in its vertical body control, while cornering body lean is restrained, if not firm and flat. Manoeuvrable and easy to park in tow, the ASX benefits from a tight turning circle and decent road visibility.

 

Comfortable character

 

Car-like in its dynamic characteristics, the ASX is user-friendly and settled, while its relatively short yet wide footprint makes it nimble and agile through corners, for its class. Turning in tidily and with light yet accurate steering, the ASX’s front tyres bite with commitment, while rear grip is reassuring. Lighter and perkier, the front-drive version is also more fluent and intuitive to drive, with no power being automatically redirected to the rear for the brief occasions when more traction is needed. 

Well mannered and refined on-road, the ASX is certainly no dedicated off-roader, but its generous 195mm ground clearance, compact wheelbase and good ramp angle would serve it well on dirt roads and in negotiating urban kerbs, bumps and potholes. Spacious and with intuitive controls, the ASX features good shoulder and headroom. Driving position is meanwhile comfortable and supportive, and rear seats and boot are decently sized. Well-equipped, it features seven airbags, blindspot and rear cross-traffic alerts, rearview camera and other driver assistance systems.

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
  • Top speed: 193km/h
  • Fuel capacity: 63-litres
  • Length: 4,365mm
  • Width: 1,810mm
  • Height: 1,640mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,670mm
  • Ground clearance: 195mm
  • Kerb weight: 1,370kg
  • Gross vehicle weight: 1,970kg
  • Seating capacity: 5
  • Steering: Electric-assisted rack and pinion
  • Turning radius: 10.6-metres
  • Suspension, F/R: MacPherson strut/multi-link, with anti-roll bars 
  • Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs/discs
  • Tyres: 225/55R18 (optional)
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