2017 Mitsubishi ASX Review
Alex Rae’s 2017 Mitsubishi ASX Review with pricing, specs, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: It’s ageing now but its original charms are still present: a spacious and practical cabin for its segment and solid all-wheel drive performance.
2017 Mitsubishi ASX
PRICING From $25,000+ORC WARRANTY five-years, unlimited kilometres SAFETY five star ANCAP ENGINE 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol; 2.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel POWER 110kW; 2110kW TORQUE 197Nm; 360Nm TRANSMISSION CVT, six-speed automatic or manual DRIVE front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive DIMENSIONS 4355mm (L); 1810mm (W); 1640mm (H) BOOTSPACE 393 litres FUEL TANK 60L THIRST From 5.3-6.4L/100km (combined)
THE MITSUBISHI ASX hasn’t changed much over its life and the current model features much of the same spec that we’ve always seen, however, for 2017 the ASX has received a light facelift. But you’d be forgiven for missing some of the differences.
Manufacturers are keen on entering the small SUV arena but there hasn’t been anything to ruffle it up lately except the new Toyota C-HR. So Mitsubishi might expect to hold its number two position for sales behind Mazda. But the ASX is getting a bit long in the tooth.
What is it?
Out of the main players in its segment – that includes the (newly updated) Mazda CX-3, Nissan Qashqai and Honda HR-V – the Mitsubishi ASX offers a fine balance between value, features and cabin space.
The ASX comes in two model grades – base LS and top-spec XLS – and is priced from $25,000 (+ORC) for the entry model with front-wheel drive and manual transmission. The diesel LS four-wheel drive model on test here costs an extra $7500 on top of that.
All models come with 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, halogen headlamps and infotainment (6.1-inch for LS, 7.0-inch for XLS). The XLS gets some extras like leather-appointed seats and keyless entry.
The ASX remains a reasonably sharp looking car outside but its design is ageing and is perhaps a less exciting product compared to the CX-3, CH-R and HR-V – a fate the Mitsubishi Lancer suffers too. However it is the larger feeling car inside in this segment.
2017 Mitsubishi ASX pricing (+ORC):
- LS 2.0-litre petrol FWD man – $25,000;
- LS 2.0-litre petrol FWD auto – $27,000;
- LS 2.2-litre diesel AWD man – $32,500;
- XLS 2.0-litre petrol FWD auto – $31,500; and
- XLS 2.2-litre diesel AWD auto – $37,000.
Compared to the entry model CX-3 FWD manual, priced from $20,490 (+ORC), the ASX might not appear such good value. The CX-3 also gets better safety, like AEB as standard (which ASX doesn’t feature on any grade), and its interior is newer.
For performance, the petrol-powered ASX is middle of the road compared to its rivals. That engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol producing 110kW/197Nm and achieves a combined fuel consumption of 6.4L/100km. The diesel offers better spec (and driveability in the real world) from its 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine (sourced from its big brother, the Outlander) which produces 110kW/360Nm and combined fuel consumption is a little lower at 5.3L/100km. The common-rail direct injection diesel does command a higher price though.
What’s the interior like?
Our base spec LS feels and looks simple inside and the design hasn’t changed much over the years. Unlike the C-HR and CX-3, the ASX feels more focused on basic transportation rather than a comfortable interior for longer trips, and it’s things like too high a driver’s seat and hard plastics around the cabin which detract from the design which, overall, tries to create a sense of room inside the car.
The infotainment – something that’s becoming standard in all cars now – in the LS grade looks more like an aftermarket addition rather than an integrated unit, and shows the age of the design. There’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity, although an iPhone can be connected via USB for multimedia playback. No USB ports in the rear.
But there are positives inside, with a spacious cabin that’s better than most rivals for legroom and headspace front and rear, and the fabric seats in the LS grade are comfortable and feel hard wearing. There’s also basic climate control (no vents in the rear) and the windows are auto up-and-down for the front only. The XLS grade (pictured) adds a larger and nicer 7.0-inch infotainment screen and panoramic sunroof.
In the rear it’s possible to fit three adults across, not something most small SUVs will do in reasonable comfort, but the seats really are better for two teenagers or three smaller kids. There are no cupholders (four are upfront) in the door pockets, but there are two in the middle seat rest when folded down.
The ASX’s boot space is a good size offering 393 litres and a wide opening. It’s better than the CX-3 which has 264 litres although it’s less than the capacious HR-V’s 437 litres. The seats also split fold 60:40 to increase the loading area to 1193 litres – about the same as the others in this configuration. During testing we were able to fit a bassinet style pram in the boot, but it was tight.
What’s it like on the road?
On the road the ASX’s steering feels light, too light even for this type of urban runabout, and the driving position isn’t terrific, tending to be too high for a six-foot frame. The automatic was also noticeably lazy off the line although it did keep up well once moving at around-town pace.
The diesel-powered ASX is, from our experience, a better drive than the petrol. A downside of the petrol is it doesn’t come with a traditional six-speed automatic transmission like the diesel, instead only offering a CVT or manual. The diesel feels more responsive higher in the rev range and shifts with better precision at higher speeds, although it can be lethargic at low speeds.
But what the diesel engine lacks off the line it makes up for with good highway power when overtaking and reasonable grunt if you’re game enough to tow – providing a 1400kg braked towing capacity. Indeed, after picking up some bags of cement, the ASX diesel chugged very nicely up some steep hills. It also provide sure-footed braking when under pressure down hill.
The diesel is also frugal and, with mixed driving conditions we achieved a fuel consumption of 6.0L/100km. Pretty good considering AWD was also used.
The all-wheel drive (4WD) mode is activated by a button and the system automatically changes the amount of torque delivered to either the front or rear axles depending on conditions. It worked well when the two-wheel drive mode struggled to negotiate a steep, wet incline and the all-wheel drive was able to help out by shuffling some drive to the rear and thus drive up the slope. The cut in and out of the system also wasn’t particularly noticeable, which is good.
Over a variety of surfaces the suspension was firm enough to provide some good handling response but there’s enough softness in the dampers that it provides a comfortable ride too. On a particularly corrugated piece of gravel road the ASX handled the rough conditions well and its clearance of 180mm provides peace of mind when heading off the sealed bitumen. Combined with its good all-wheel drive system, the ASX makes a good weekend warrior for campers who aren’t interested in proper four-wheel drive tracks but may want to get a little muddy.
NVH is good considering the diesel is noisier than the petrol – although it is a little rough feeling – and over course chipped surfaces the tyre noise and vibrations were well hushed. It rates about average in its segment.
A slight annoyance is that during testing the ASX diesel was a little delayed to start, to the point that the push start ignition could be pressed twice in error and would thus turn the engine off once it did catch.
What about safety features?
The Mitsubishi ASX has been rated five stars by ANCAP, but the rating is listed as 2014 tested – and that rating is from 2010. So the ASX hasn’t really been held to scrutiny recently, and as it lacks safety features such as active radar cruise, AEB, lane keep assist, cross traffic in any model grade, it falls behind nearly all of its rivals.
Why would you buy one?
The ASX might be old now but it still looks good, and its spacious cabin with a solid drivetrain are reasons to consider it above some others. It doesn’t have the standard safety we’d like to see, however, and this is something that will probably come in the next generational update… Whenever that is.
The ASX comes with Mitsubishi’s good five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, four years roadside assist and three years fixed priced servicing at 15,000km/12 month intervals.