When we reviewed the Mitsubishi ASX back in 2014, it arrived almost exactly as large swathes of the UK became submerged during the worst flooding the country had seen in decades.
At the time, the ASX impressed us with its willingness to keep on chugging even as our roads became fast-flowing rivers, but with Mitsubishi giving the ASX something of a facelift for 2017, we thought we’d see how the company’s crossover has fared over the years.
Thankfully, the new ASX’s arrival wasn’t accompanied by monsoons or biblical storms, so that at least gave us a chance to take in the new look. Although much is as it was before, the ASX now wears the same ‘dynamic shield’ design first seen on the Outlander.
Inside, the bulk of the changes are reserved for the new range-topping ASX 5 model, with Nappa leather seats in a choice of colours, heated rear seats, LED ambient lighting, rear USB charging ports, and a few other niceties, although we’re not fans of the shiny plastic used on the bottom half of the steering wheel.
New for this year is a reversing camera for all but the entry-level model, and on ASX 4 models and above this is piped through a touch-screen media and navigation system that, while perfectly serviceable, feels distinctly aftermarket.
We should also take a moment to mention Mitsubishi’s penchant for warning beeps – dare to turn on the ignition without starting the engine, open the door with the keys in the ignition, or get out without applying the steering lock, and the ASX will attempt to deafen you into submission.
That niggle aside, the ASX offers a good view of the road ahead thanks to its high seating position, we particularly like the hooded dials and, although they could do with lumbar adjustment, the front seats are supportive.
Rear seat passengers might find headroom a little tight on sunroof-equipped models, but boot space is generous at 419 litres, plus there’s a 26-litre underfloor compartment. Fold the seats forward, and space increases to 1,193 litres.
Power comes from either a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 115hp, a 1.6-litre turbodiesel with 112hp and the option of 4WD, or a 2.2-litre turbodiesel mated exclusively to a six-speed auto and 4WD.
Mitsubishi knows a thing or two about four-wheel-drive, and the ASX’s system couldn’t be easier to use – jab the 4WD button by the gear-lever to switch from 2WD to 4WD Auto mode, with the system diverting up to 50% of engine torque to the rear wheels as conditions dictate. Pressing the button again engages 4WD Lock mode – despite its name, it doesn’t lock front and rear axles together; instead, it diverts approximately 1.5 times the torque to the rear wheels as 4WD Auto, and during our limited testing the system proved itself capable of extricating the ASX from the middle of a muddy field without too much drama.
On tarmac, the 2.2 feels strong if a touch lethargic to get rolling, and although the six-speed auto feels a little old-school in comparison to more modern units, the only real fly in the diesel’s ointment is the uninspiring droning noise that it transmits into the cabin. Both wind and road noise suppression could use a little extra work, too.
Despite that, economy is respectable, and with a little extra effort we recorded an average of just over 42mpg after a week’s testing.
Out of town, while the ASX might not offer the last word in engagement, it does offer a confidence-inspiring level of stability together with an appealing sense of agility, something yet to be mastered by some of the competition.
Sure, newer rivals offer more for the enthusiastic driver, and while recent currency movements force our top-of-the-range ASX 5 test car to adopt a fairly chunky £28,349 price tag, Mitsubishi managed to at least mitigate the effects by creating the usefully-priced £15,999 entry-level ASX 2.
That makes the 2017 model a timely update to an often overlooked contender. Because despite the arrival of many a newcomer, the Mitsubishi ASX still offers that often lost sense of practicality and all-weather dependability that made us all want to buy 4x4s in the first place.
- Worthy update to an otherwise somewhat old-school offering
- Aftermarket satnav clumsy to use
- Incessant warning beeps
- Gloss plastic on steering wheel ruins feel, marks easily
- Good headlights
- Nowhere to store parcel shelf when rear seats are folded
- Diesel engine does drone on a bit; wind and road noise both louder than rivals
- Auto a touch lethargic to pull away, although better than it was
- 4WD system couldn’t be easier to use
- Agile and dependable
- 42.2 mpg on test
|Entry-level Price||£15,999||Price as tested||£28,874|
|Engine||2268cc 4-cyl turbodiesel||Transmission||6-speed auto|
|Power||147hp @ 3,500rpm||Torque||360Nm @ 1,500-2,750rpm|
|0-62||10.8 secs||Top speed||118 mph|
|Economy||48.7 mpg||CO2||152 g/km|
|Dimensions||4355 x 1810 x 1640 (LxWxH)||Kerb Weight||1540 kg|