Since taking custodianship of Mitsubishi from Mercedes-Benz in 2011, Associated Motor Holdings (AMH) has been striving to increase the brand’s viability as well as visibility. As the small SUV/crossover segment is one of the fastest growing in the local market, it makes complete sense to focus there – it currently accounts for 10 per cent of the total market!
Since introduction in 2011 more than 1 500 of Mitsubishi’s ASXs have found ready buyers. models have been sold to local buyers. Now the marque has introduced a subtly updated version.
New exterior look
Boasting revised frontal styling, with chrome accents, new foglamp surrounds and a resculpted rear end with contrasting lower apron, the changes are subtle and probably best highlighted when seen next to the slightly older model.
Slight interior changes
Inside, the changes include standard Bluetooth connectivity for one’s mobile phone, remote audio controls on the steering wheel and hands-free operation of the phone via steering wheel buttons. Along with USB connection points the aforementioned features are standard across the range. Drivers of higher specification (GLS and GLX) models have the comfort of cruise control.
The ASX is one of the more compact crossover in this segment, and its boot isn’t quite as big as the likes of the Hyundai ix35’s or Kia Sportage’s, but it is also not cramped. Rear legroom is sufficient for family use.
All models, even the base-spec GL, are equipped with an electrically adjustable driver’s chair, rear park-distance control (GLS includes rear view camera), HID headlamps with washers, air-conditioning and electrically folding mirrors. GL models have cloth seats while the GLS and GLX have leather upholstery. The higher spec models boast climate control, panoramic roofs and auto headlamps and wipers.
On the safety front there is little that the ASX leaves out; standard systems include seven airbags (driver, passenger, seat, side curtains, driver knee), ABS with EBD and brake assist, side-impact protection beams, a collapsible steering column and whiplash reduction seats. Over and above this, GLS models have ASC (Active Stability Control) with traction control and hill start assist.
As before, potential buyers don’t have to deliberate about engine options as there is only one available. The 2,0-litre multi-valve unit has Mitsubishi’s variable valve timing system known as MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing Electronic Control).
Power is rated at 110 kW and is developed at 6 000 r/min. Peak torque of 197 N.m is produced at a high 4 200 r/min. Mitsubishi claims a zero to 100 km/h acceleration time of 9,6 seconds and a top speed of 196 km/h.
Up in the rarefied atmosphere of the Highveld the engine feels somewhat lethargic, not helped by that high-rev torque delivery. One really needs to flatten the gas pedal to make haste. Then again, this is not a hot hatch, and the typical driver is likely to have a more leisurely approach to motoring. But, much like its Oriental counterparts, Mitsubishi has yet to embrace small-capacity force-fed engines, which produce a nice, fat wedge of torque lower down the rev-range, which is typically where most crossover SUVs are driven.
Perhaps an additional ratio will help to exploit the available torque a bit better. As it stands, a smooth-shifting five-speed manual gearbox is offered on the GL and GLX models. The GLS flagship features a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with a choice of fully automatic or manual shifting.
One of the ASX’s most endearing traits is its ride quality, something that appears to have been improved since our original road test of December 2011. One wonders if the influence of Peugeot and Citroen (development partners in the shared platform between ASX, 4008 and C4 Aircross) in this department won the Japanese over. It tends to soak up larger road undulations easily without bothering the occupants. More severe road imperfections are dealt with easily with a good degree of compliance but then the suspension settles down quickly.
The small SUV category may be fast-growing but it is also very competitive. All the major manufacturers compete in this segment, from the little Suzuki Jimny to the Korean twins, iX35 and Sportage to more funky options such as Nissan’s Juke and Qashqai. The ASX doesn’t necessarily set the standard in this segment but brings with it a host of standard features and competitive pricing which should help sway a few more buyers in favour of the Tri-Star. Interestingly, it has been one of the most researched cars on this website since its original launch in 2011, illustrating strong market interest in its many charms.
Model: Mitsubishi ASX GLX
Engine: 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol
Power: 110 kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque: 197 N.m at 4200 r/min
0-100 km/h: 9,6 seconds
Fuel consumption: 7,5 L/100 km
Top speed: 196 km/h
Price: see below
Service plan: 5 years/90 000 km
Service intervals: 15 000 km
Mitsubishi ASX 2,0 GL – R279 900
Mitsubishi ASX 2,0 GLX – R304 900
Mitsubishi ASX 2,0 GLS – R334 900
Mitsubishi ASX 2,0 GLS (with Rockford) – R342 900
The base pricing includes the following across all ASX derivatives:
3-year/100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty
5-year/90 000 km service plan