Sean Carson | January 2014
The original Mitsubishi ASX faced a tough task when it was launched back in 2010.
Offering a new car in the most crowded marketplace and in the direct aftermath of a global recession meant the mid-size Mitsubishi was always going to have its work cut out – especially against successful crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai.
But now the global economy is sprouting green shoots and the exchange rate between the Pound and the Yen is more favourable – not to mention stable – the ASX stands a better chance in 2014.
Add into the mix that the updated car also gets the option of the more powerful 2.2-litre turbodiesel and automatic gearbox from the larger Outlander SUV, and an improved interior with better refinement and more kit, and things look better still.
Prices start at £14,999 – that’s £2,500 less than before for the entry-level model – with the top-spec ASX 4 costing 10% less than its predecessor. Aggressive pricing like this could potentially pique the interest of customers who would have previously diverted to the nearest Nissan dealership and bought a Qashqai.
Plenty of practicality and a more upmarket, sophisticated interior for less than £15,000 sounds promising…
What is the 2014 Mitsubishi ASX like to drive?
But there has to be a catch, doesn’t there? Sort of. The larger 2.2-litre turbodiesel auto is only available on the range-topping ASX, costing £23,899.
But putting out 147hp and coming equipped with four-wheel drive, it’s still cheaper and more powerful than many of its rivals, such as the equivalent spec Hyundai ix35 at £26,995, the £29,305 Toyota RAV4 and the £27,650 Nissan Qashqai.
The former ASX’s 1.6-litre petrol and 1.8-litre turbodiesel are unchanged, so we only sampled the new 147hp 2.2 on the launch. Together with the engine’s 266lb ft of torque and six-speed automatic gearbox, it pulls strongly and smoothly.
It’s relatively hushed at a motorway cruise, but push the accelerator to the floor – and you’ll need to in order to match the claimed 10.8-second 0-62mph time – and the engine gets a little too vocal despite the improvements in refinement.
The ride is relatively composed but it is quite firm and becomes ruffled over bad surfaces and bumps. On the whole, however, the revised ASX is relatively comfortable.
It’s best used for covering long distances as it’s not the sharpest tool in the box dynamically – slow steering compromises agility, but the trade off is it does feel stable and solid at higher speeds.
It doesn’t roll too much in the corners, which aids the feeling of security, and the four-wheel drive system gives added peace of mind – it’s switchable between permanent two- and four-wheel drive, and features an ‘intelligent’ mode that shuffles power around if it sense any wheelspin.
We didn’t get chance to test the ASX off-road; the only time a wheel went on the dirt was to pass another car on a country lane. This is how most cars will be driven though, and on some rather wet, bumpy back lanes we no issues with traction.
Is the 2014 Mitsubishi ASX better than a Nissan Qashqai?
The 2014 Mitsubishi ASX does have price on its side, but it’ll have to beat the best in the business to succeed in the crowded crossover market.
The current champion is the Nissan Qashqai – the only off-roader to make it into the UK’s top 10 new car sales list of 2013, proving its ability and popularity. And there’s a new one on the way this year.
At 442 litres, the 2014 ASX’s boot is slightly larger than the new Qashqai’s 439-litre offering, so practicality shouldn’t be a problem.
The revised ASX’s cabin is an improvement on before, with more soft-touch materials scattered around and a few silver accents to lift the rather dark interior. However, there are some harder, scratchier plastics just out of sight.
The multimedia interface isn’t the most intuitive system to use, but together with a revised steering wheel and solid controls, the 2014 ASX feels more refined than before but just as robust.
To put that into context, it’s important to remember the Mitsubishi’s price and just how much equipment it gets as standard – every trim level is at least £2,500 cheaper than before.
All models get Bluetooth and keyless entry as standard, with the ‘3’ grade receiving climate and cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, and heated seats.
The range topping car benefits from a reversing camera, leather seats, sat nav and a panoramic sunroof with LEDs, although we’re not so keen on the gimmicky orange backlighting for the latter.
There is one area where the new Qashqai dominates the ASX, however: efficiency.
The range topping 2.2 turbodiesel auto will return a claimed 48.7mpg with 153g/km combined, whereas the upcoming 2014 Qashqai 1.6 dCi betters that by 8.9mpg more and 24g/km CO2 less.
This means £70 cheaper road tax, even if the Nissan is less powerful – in the real world, for many, this is what counts.
MR VERDICT: 2014 Mitsubishi ASX
The 2014 Mitsubishi ASX isn’t that much different to the previous car except for one key point: price.
It’s as practical as before and looks the same. The option of a new engine and transmission together with a few optimised points inside means it’s more attractive to buyers, but value is still its strongest suit.
The fact that it falls short compared to newer rivals when it comes to efficiency could sway some, but it shouldn’t, as the near £5,000 saving over the new Nissan Qashqai will go a long way in fuel. The Mitsubishi ASX makes more sense now than it has ever done.
- Hyundai ix35
- Kia Sportage
- Nissan Qashqai
- Mazda CX5
- Toyota RAV4
Engine 1.6-litre petrol, 1.8-litre turbodiesel, 2.2-litre turbodiesel
Gearbox Six-speed manual, six-speed automatic with paddleshifters
Price from £14,999
Power 114 – 147hp
Torque 114 – 266lb ft
0-62mph 10.2 seconds (best)
Top speed 118mph
MPG 47.1 – 55.4mpg
CO2 134 – 153g/km