Images show the Kingfisher Blue Mitsubishi ASX Aspire
(petrol/auto) which we drove from Sydney to Melbourne via Hume Highway and return via the Snowy Mountains
Highway through Thredbo and onto Canberra.
Mitsubishi ASX road test
by Mark Walker
28th March, 2011
Road Tests >
The launch of the all-new Mitsubishi ASX compact cross-over into
Australia was a milestone for the Japanese brand. The new model represents Mitsubishi's first foray into the
compact SUV/cross-over segment providing a smaller, cheaper alternative to its successful Outlander model.
The Mitsubishi ASX is available in three variants ... ASX, ASX AWD and ASX Aspire. As with the Outlander, the
ASX is available in both two-wheel drive (2WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations. The entry level ASX is
2WD and only available with a 2-litre petrol engine (manual or auto). The ASX AWD is an all-wheel drive (as the
name suggests) and available with a choice of diesel/manual or petrol/auto powertrains. The range-topping Aspire
is solely AWD and is, likewise, available with the choice of diesel/manual or petrol/auto.
We tested the ASX Aspire in both petrol/auto and diesel/manual configuration recently, spending plenty of
time in the driver's seat between Sydney and Melbourne.
The 2.0 litre four cylinder petrol powerplant produces 110 kW of power and 197 Nm of torque. This engine is
also used in the Lancer range. The engine is very quiet and smooth at low speeds. In Aspire guise, this engine
is only available with the excellent continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic which helps ensure gear
changes and acceleration are smooth whilst preserving fuel consumption. This is excellent for stop/start city
Factory supplied fuel economy data for the AWD petrol variant claims combined cycle consumption of 8.1
litres per 100 kilometres. We covered 3,481 kilometres in the Aspire 2.0 litre petrol with the majority of
driving being highway in 2WD mode using cruise control. However, we never achieved better economy than the
stated combined result.
Under highway conditions, the diesel ASX is superior to the petrol version. The 2 litre petrol engine
performs as well as its petrol-fuelled competitors on the open road but not quite as well as the diesel with
its extra torque. The 1.8-litre all-aluminium DOHC 16-valve four cylinder common rail direct injection turbo
diesel engine produces a maximum power of 110 kW @ 4,000 rpm and peak torque of 300 Nm @ 2,000 rpm. That is
the same amount of power as the petrol but has 52% more torque. This extra torque aids acceleration at all
speeds. Its particularly helpful at highway speed, ensuring you can overtake with confidence, even on steep
inclines. As mentioned earlier, the diesel is only available with a six speed manual gearbox and this is one
of the few negatives about this car. We'd like to see an automatic option available with the extra pulling
power of the diesel. The fuel economy of the diesel is excellent at just 5.9 litres per 100 km. The fuel tank
capacity for the AWD ASX is 60 litres and with the meagre diesel consumption, this equates to a theoretical
range of 1,000 km on one tank of diesel. This was possibly a design target for the engineers.
Typically Mitsubishi, the styling is conservative with the 'jet fighter' grille dominating from the front.
You might not notice at first glance, but the ASX actually shares its wheelbase and 70% of its underpinnings
with the larger Outlander model. Externally the ASX manages to set itself apart from both the Outlander and
the smaller Lancer. The ride height is lifted and the front and rear overhangs minimised to give you the
appearance of off-road ability. The reality is the ASX is likely to spend most of the time in the city or at
least on sealed roads. To that end, the ASX is pleasing to drive with well weighted steering and excellent
vision from the raised driving position. The suspension has been modified slightly from the Outlander to
accommodate for the shorter and lighter ASX. The ASX feels safe and dependable in corners and under
The AWD models allow the driver to choose between three modes: 2WD, 4WD and Lock. Mitsubishi call it
All-Wheel Control (AWC) and this allows you to change the setting on the move up to speeds of 100 km/h. In
2WD mode, all the torque is transferred to the front wheels. In 4WD, the torque is distributed between
front and rear wheels in an optimal range as determined by the AWC sensors. The torque split range is
between 2% front, 98% rear and 50% front, 50% rear and is continuously variable dependent on conditions.
It's also possible to select 4WD lock mode, which provides gives constant drive to both front and rear.
Euro NCAP have awarded the ASX its best possible rating of five stars. Not surprising as the ASX is
packed with standard safety features. All ASX variants get anti-lock braking and 7 airbags including
drivers knee airbag and curtain airbags to protect occupants in the rear. Safety is also assured by the
inclusion of electronic brake force distribution, hill start control to prevent rolling backward, active
traction control and active stability control.
For safe and precise parking, the Aspire has both a reverse camera and reverse park sensors. The camera
is engaged automatically when reverse gear is selected and the picture is shown on the MMCS entertainment
screen in the centre of the dash. The camera is at a good angle but does collect a lot of glare meaning
performance suffers a little in bright sunshine. In other conditions it is excellent. The sensors on the
rear bumper have not been painted to match the body colour which is surprising given the excellent overall
quality of the ASX. Parking is also assisted by good rear vision and large side mirrors. The side mirrors
can be folded electronically also to protect them in tight parking spots. The Aspire is also equipped with
rain sensing wipers and dusk sensing head lights.
The Aspire gets larger, more stylish 17 inch alloys as opposed to the 16 inch alloy wheels available
on the other variants. The Aspire also sets itself apart with dark privacy glass and chrome trim around
the grille, fog lights and the belt line. The belt line is the lower edge of the side windows.
The Aspire gets the luxury touch inside with full leather trim. The driver's seat is power operated
and both front seats are heated. The Aspire also receives the Mitsubishi Multi Communication System (MMCS)
which includes satellite navigation and a very user friendly 7 inch touch screen. The MMCS is also
integrated with Bluetooth connectivity for your mobile phone and lets you access and customise a whole
host of vehicle settings like the trip computer and climate control. You can connect to the MMCS with your
iPod or via a USB cable and also play DVDs. The DVD won't show any vision (for safety reasons) whilst the
car is moving.
The interior quality and functionality is excellent. The seats offer excellent comfort around town and
importantly, a very good driving position. Unfortunately, on long drives we didn't find the driving seat
as comfortable as it should be as it lacks support for the lower back with no lumbar adjustment available.
The position itself is very flexible to accommodate all shapes and sizes including being able to adjust
the steering column for both tilt and reach. Around town the interior comfort and layout is ideal.
Passenger comfort is good and there is plenty of legroom in the rear.
The ASX pricing starts at $25,990* for the 2WD entry level manual. Add $2,500 for the automatic
transmission. The all-wheel drive ASX pricing starts at $31,990*. Importantly, the petrol powered AWD is
the same price as the diesel. Don't forget, the diesel is currently only available with manual
transmission and for the AWD ASX, the petrol engine is only available when paired with the CVT auto box.
The top of the range ASX Aspire AWD is $36,990* in both petrol and diesel. Metallic or pearlescent paint
are $450 options on all models. The Aspire AWD petrol test vehicle was fitted with the panoramic roof
option which has a list price of $800.
The 4WD petrol model has service intervals of 15,000 kms or every 12 months and thanks to Mitsubishi's
Diamond Advantage Capped Price Servicing scheme, the first 4 services will only cost retail buyers $225
each. The diesel has the same intervals, however servicing costs are slightly more expensive at $250 for
the 15k service and $350 for the next three services. The Capped Price Servicing pricing is honoured by
all Mitsubishi dealers not just the selling dealer. If you sell your Mitsubishi, any unexpired fixed
price servicing benefits transfer to the new owner.
Mitsubishi is particularly proud of its 5/10 warranty and this applies to the ASX. This is 5 years or
130,000 kms of cover, whichever occurs first on the car. This is fully transferable if the car is sold
within the warranty period. Additionally, the power train is covered for 10 years/160,000 kms, whichever
occurs first however this extension of the warranty is not transferable. Importantly, you also receive 5
years or 130,000 kms of roadside assistance which is not common place in cars of this price. This feature
reinforces the value offered by Mitsubishi and also ensures maintenance costs remain below that of
The high build quality and practical design of the ASX are enough to ensure it is considered by new
car buyers. Its high specification, including safety features as well as its excellent pricing and cost
of ownership make it a contender as one of the best vehicles in the segment.
NOTE: * MLP (manufacturer's list price)
excludes options, dealer delivery fees and the various statutory charges. Additionally, all prices,
fees, charges and specifications are always subject to change without notice.
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