Car Reviews

2020 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed review

Review of the 2020 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed in Australia, including price, specs, interior, ride and handling, safety and score.

THIS IS Australia’s best-selling small SUV right now, eclipsing sales of much newer competitors despite its ten-year-old platform and packaging. We spent a week driving the top-spec Exceed model to give it a good going over.

IN A NUTSHELL: The value is good on many objective fronts such as price and after-sales care. And the facelift for 2020 sure helps. But much newer contenders offer nicer interior finishing with better ride and handling.

THE GOOD: Driveaway pricing deals, current seven-year warranty and capped-price servicing deals, the Exceed is packed with a lot of gear.

THE BAD: Ride and handling are not great, interior design and trim are a bit bland.

What is the Mitsubishi ASX Exceed?

Mitsubishi is great at extracting volume sales out of a single model’s generational presence. It did marvellously well with the Lancer, the Mirage, the Pajero, the Outlander… you can pretty much pile up every model it sells, and this ASX sits atop the heap having plotted through ten years of service on the showroom floor and it still beats new rivals like the Hyundai Kona for sales each month.

If anything, it must be a testament to Mitsubishi’s reputation and perceived value. If there’s a dud model on any brand’s floors it doesn’t take long for word to get out. We don’t hear much on the ASX. And the value remains sharp despite a bit of an increase in price.

What does the Mitsubishi ASX Exceed cost and what do you get?

Priced at $32,990 plus on-roads ($35,990 driveaway at time of writing), the flagship Exceed equips the new, larger 2.4-litre petrol engine with a CVT automatic. This new engine is more powerful than the old one, which we’ll get into later, and powers the front wheels only – you can’t get an all-wheel drive version. It also comes with AEB, which is standard across the range.

Equipment unique to the Exceed includes leather trim, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, panoramic sunroof, Rockford Fosgate nine-speaker sound system with a subwoofer, and TomTom satellite navigation. Other equipment which carries up from lower in the range are 18-inch alloys, an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlights, reversing camera and electric folding mirrors.

Safety features include AEB along with lane departure warning, rear parking sensors, automatic highbeam, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. And right now it comes with a long seven-year, 150,000km warranty and fixed-price servicing.

What’s the Mitsubishi ASX Exceed interior like?

It’s very simple inside, though the Exceed enhances the ambience with nicer material choices. The seats are a touch firm – likely made to last the distance though – and there are some swathes of simple plastic surfaces to fill the gaps between the dash and door panels. The steering wheel is nice, with a good grip in the hands, and functionality of the controls is simple but predictable in use.

The 8.0-inch infotainment is an upgrade and it works well. The graphics are clear, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enhance functionality, though the Exceed, unlike other models, comes with sat-nav inbuilt too. There are two USB ports and a 12v plug upfront but none in the back, and no rear air vents either. The Rockford Fosgate sound system (a brand Mitsubishi has been using for years as its premium audio supplier) is really punchy with the individual subwoofer in the boot, and while it doesn’t have the fine detail of a high-end system, it sounds good with streaming music or the DAB+ radio.

While it doesn’t wow inside, it’s fit for purpose as a simple city car, and the stiff plastics feel like they will take a beating.

How much space is there in the Mitsubishi ASX Exceed?

Incredibly, the little ASX matches the bigger (seven-seat) Outlander’s 2670mm wheelbase, so it brings a good amount of rear-seat space. Headroom is a little short in the rear for six-foot frames, but it’s liveable. There are Isofix anchors on the two outer rear seats too, so fitting a child seat is simple. 

It’s similar upfront, though offering better headroom and shoulder space, along with a nice big glovebox and centre console for storing knickknacks. There’s also a cradle for one phone in front of the gearshift.

In the boot, the subwoofer and amp claim a portion of the right-hand side of the compartment, so capacity shrinks from the model’s usual 393-litre offering down to 358L. That’s the price you pay for a banging sound system. Underneath is a space-saver spare, as no model comes with a full-size wheel, and the rear seats split-fold 60:40 for when you need over 1000L space.

What engine is in the Mitsubishi ASX Exceed?

The old 4B11 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine continues on in the ASX lineup from the entry variant up, but the Exceed (and GSR) uses the ‘new’ 4B12 2.4-litre petrol. This motor has been around the block a few times for Mitsubishi (Outlander, Lancer, Delica… even in Canada’s 2010 ASX) but that just means it’s tried and tested.

It produces 123kW at 6000rpm and 222Nm at 4100rpm through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic to the front wheels. Over the 2.0L motor, that’s an increase of 13kW of power and 25Nm of torque.

It’s nothing inspiring but gets the job done and brings a little more pickup over the smaller petrol engine. The CVT does a fine job of staying in the revs when accelerating hard while calming down at highways speeds, but don’t expect a big performance improvement with the 2.4L engine.

Mitsubishi’s claimed fuel consumption on the government-mandated combined cycle is 7.9L/100km (0.3L/100km more than the 2.0L engine), which is a touch behind new rivals with smaller turbo engines but in the real world was fairly accurate – something fuel ratings rarely are.

Is the Mitsubishi ASX Exceed good to drive?

Despite its contemporary MacPherson front, multilink rear suspension setup, the ASX isn’t completely competent and has a firm response on bumps and hard edges. The 18-inch alloys wrapped in reasonably thick-profiled 225/55 rubber are likely the key contributing factor, but not many buyers want to be seen in a car these days with the undersized rims that arrived on the first ASX. A revision of the dampers and springs might help level out its balance of abilities.

On smooth roads though, it’s a fine ride. The steering is about as pleasant, giving good initial turn-in but not overly sharp (or responsive), with a lightweight feel suited to most urban duties. The small size helps city driving and vision is good throughout the glasshouse.

At higher speed it’s calm but road noise can be loud on coarse chip bitumen, which is a fault of both the tyres and sound deadening. At lower speeds, it isn’t as boomy, and pleasant for A to B driving.

How safe is the Mitsubishi ASX?

The MY20 Mitsubishi ASX has a five-star ANCAP rating which it carries on from 2014 testing.

The ASX Exceed comes with AEB, lane departure warning, rear parking sensors, automatic highbeam, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

What are the Mitsubishi ASX Exceed alternatives?

Three are plenty, like the Mazda CX-3, Nissan Qashqai (and incoming Juke), Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Venue and Kona, Kia Seltos, Renault Captur and Kadjar, Suzuki Vitara, Skoda Karoq, and Subaru XV.

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the value?
How do we rate the controls and infotainment?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?

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2020 Mitsubishi ASX pricing and specifications

Price From $32,990 plus ORCs Warranty 7 years/unlimited km Engine 2.4L petrol; Power 122kW Torque 265Nm Transmission CVT auto Drive front-wheel drive Body 4365mm (l); 1810mm (w) Kerb weight 1390kg Seats 5 Thirst 7.9L/100km Fuel tank 63L Spare Space saver

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David Worb
David Worb
3 years ago

Thanks for the honest review. I get that it’s simple but I don’t think the price is bad for the value inside. That 2.4 litre engine went for donkey years in our old Outlander too! The newer Mitsubishi stuff certainly seem a bit better over what came out of there in the past.

Barry Talbot
Barry Talbot
3 years ago

I notice that there are two different torque figures given. The first being 222Nm, which I think would be correct. In the final specifications the torque is given as 265Nm. Nor is the Power, Kw. identical.

Alex Rae

Alex Rae