By Sala Masindane
If underrated was a car, the updated Mitsubishi ASX would be that car. The reason for the unjustifiably slow sales may be that Japanese SUV has been around for a while now without an update. The evolutionary designs and cosmetic changes of the updated model are significant and in more ways than one address that. They breathe a new life into car, inside and outside.
Exterior and Interior
In terms of looks, there is a new bumper, radiator grille, LED headlights and daytime running lights upfront while the rear spots new LED lights. These updates, along with the alignment of the car with the latest Mitsubishi look, make the car appear quite modern.
Just as the outside, the inside has a few notable changes. The instruments and controls remain similar from the previous generation. Fortunately, the cabin gets a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Although the screen feels a bit dated, it is easy to use. The dominant panoramic roof looks good and makes the ASX feel more spacious.
The driver has the benefit of the comfortable electronically powered seats and a leather covered multi-functional steering. The interior is solid and chases the likes of Honda in terms of quality but falls slightly short when compared with its direct competitor, the Mazda CX3. Other standard features include a keyless entry, electronic folding mirrors, cruise control and reverse camera with rear park distance control.
The ASX feels spacious in the front and back. There’s sufficient head and legroom for adults as well. It is worth noting that the panoramic roof might make the interior space feel larger, but it does comprise headroom for taller rear passengers.
The luggage boot space capacity is claimed to be at 406-litre and expands to 1206-litres when the 60:40 rear seats are folded.
Buyers of the ASX will have the benefit of the safety features such as seven-airbags, Hill Start Assist System, ABS, EBD, and ISO FIX child seat anchors.
Drive and Performance
The ASX is powered by a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine with 110 kW and 197 Nm that is paired with a six-step CVT automatic transmission. The engine carries the body well, but we would advocate for one that is turbocharged. This is purely based on its lack of responsiveness when taking off and the high fuel consumption. Once on the move though, the ASX is capable as most of its competitors. We are generally not fans of the CVT gearbox, and the one mated to the ASX is no exception. Even when you are gentle on the acceleration, the engine will still have an unpleasant drone sound. It is even more frustrating when you are approaching an up-hill or need to hurry the ASX on overtakes as the drone sound becomes more pronounced. In our experience, consumers tend to overlook this, and we have no doubt that this will not be a deal breaker for them in the ASX as overall it drives fairly well.
The ASX not be an off-roader like its older siblings such as the Pajero Sport but manages to do gravel and harsh roads fairly well. We found this out when we ventured into one or two gravel roads during our stay with the ASX.
For a starting price of R399,995, the ASX comes up against a lot of newer competitors but it offers a lot of standard features which may have you looking at it twice. This and the latest looks which liven it up quite a bit, make a strong case for it actually.
The Mitsubishi ASX is sold with a 3-year/100,000km warranty and a 5-year/90,000 service plan.
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