Road Report
Mitsubishi ASX

The Crossover/small SUV segment is the place to be seen these days and manufacturers who don’t have at least one entrant in the segment are a bit like the weird kid at school who never had the latest cool toys and always smelt a bit like cabbage. That is why Mitsubishi trimmed the Outlander down a bit and created the ASX.  Not a bad call in all honesty, because while the Outlander is big enough to be a practical and versatile family vehicle, it is of a size that some people may find intimidating to drive. So why not slice a bit off it to create a smaller vehicle on the same platform?  And it works too, with the ASX feeling noticably smaller than the Outlander, despite the two sharing an identical wheelbase. While the Outlander does a fairly good impersonation of an SUV, the ASX feels far more akin to the Lancer. Which is a remarkable trick from Mitsubishi, given that they are all based on the same platform and that the ASX even shares the Outlander’s suspension, albeit tuned differently for the smaller and lighter application.  Inside Mitsubishi have treated the ASX to a fair amount of soft-touch surfaces and while this IS a massive improvement, a lot of it still feels cheap and the “softness” of some of the materials is questionable at best. Still, at least the interior is sensible and well laid out. It looks nice, but just feels a bit naff.  It does, however, come stocked with a good number of features that make the ASX more appealing. Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, iPod connectivity and a keyless operating system all help ease the cheapness of the interior, but it is the ASX’s ease of operation around the urban environment that helps it to rise above its downsides.  Dynamically the ASX is, well, extremely average. With vague steering, over-enthusiastic stability control and an addiction to understeer, the ASX sure isn’t a sparkling jewel in this regard and when you throw the awful CVT transmission and strained-sounding engine note into the equation, the ASX presents a very strong argument for simply going slowly.  Which is fair enough really. After all, at its heart the ASX is a practical, comfortable round-town commuter and doesn’t strive to go much further than that. It would be nice to have a bit less understeer and a more responsive transmission to get you out of a sticky situation, if you ever find yourself in one though…  But it is precisely its ease as a round-town commuter that sees the ASX regain some of its shine. Smooth and comfortable - and boasting an impressively compact turning circle - the ASX is perhaps the ideal city car for someone who needs more than a Supermini can provide.  The stubby overhands and tight turning circle make the ASX a breeze to park and the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine is strong and responsive down low, making it brisk enough off the mark to be competitive in the Traffic Light Grand Prix. Even the annoying-on-the-open-road CVT Transmission works well around town.  The highish seating position gives an SUV-esque view of proceedings and the general air of airyness and visibility - despite the slightly dull air the dark interior brings - makes the ASX feel extremely well suited to city life. The extra space it brings over a Lancer only adds to the package.  Overall, while the ASX is extremely average on the open road, its abilities around town go a long way to making up for it. Indeed, if you spend most of your time around town, as a lot of people will do, the ASX is worth checking out at the very least.







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