2018 Mitsubishi ASX Range Review

2018 Mitsubishi ASX Range Review

Priced From $23,490Information

Overall Rating

0

4 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

4 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

3 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

4 out of 5 stars

Technology

4 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProAffordability, phone integration; spacious interior; five-year warranty.

  2. ConDated styling, cabin noise, lacklustre petrol engine

  3. The Pick: 2018 Mitsubishi ASX ES ADAS ( 2WD) 4D Wagon

What stands out?

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The Mitsubishi ASX has more space inside than most small SUVs and drives nicely on country roads, with a comfortable ride and good steering. Mitsubishi’s smallest and most affordable SUV works very well with smartphones, comes with a five-year warranty and is available with autonomous emergency braking.

You can also read our review of the similar ASX this facelifted car replaced in September 2017.

What might bug me?

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Trying to communicate with rear seat passengers over the road and tyre noise.

Putting up with the sluggish petrol engine because you no longer had the choice to buy a more powerful but economical diesel ASX with all-wheel drive.

Driving at 80km/h on the space saver spare until you can fix your full-sized flat tyre.

What body styles are there?

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Five-door SUV-type wagon only.

All ASX have petrol engines that drive only the front wheels.

The ASX is classified as a small SUV, lower priced.

What features does every Mitsubishi ASX have?

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Cruise control, and a reversing camera. Climate control air-conditioning that maintains a set temperature.

A leather-wrapped steering wheel, adjustable for reach and height, that carries buttons for operating the cruise control, the sound system and your phone. Height adjustment for the driver’s seat.

A sound system with AM/FM and digital radio (DAB+) receivers, USB input, Bluetooth connectivity for phone calls and audio streaming (with voice control), and at least four speakers, controllable from a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen.

Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (via Mitsubishi’s Smartphone Link Display). Plug in a compatible smartphone and you can use some apps from the car’s central touchscreen – among them, navigation apps.

Eighteen-inch wheels made from an aluminium alloy (which look good without plastic trim). A space-saver spare wheel.

Daytime running lamps, illuminated by very long-lived LEDs. Roof rails, which make it easier to fit rooftop luggage systems.

Hill-start assist, which controls the brakes automatically to help you take off from rest on uphill slopes.

Power-operated door mirrors.

Seven airbags. Anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control - which can help control a skidding car. (For the placement of airbags, and more on Mitsubishi ASX safety features, please open the Safety section below.)

The ASX is covered by a five-year, 100,000km warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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The ASX range comes with just the one engine option, a 2.0-litre petrol engine that comes with a five-speed manual gearbox or a
continuously variable (CVT) automatic
, which brings better performance and fuel economy than most conventional autos.

The petrol engine uses 7.6 litres/100km in official tests (city and country combined) with the manual gearbox, and 7.4 litres/100km with the auto.

The ASX used to be available with a more powerful 2.2-litre turbocharged, which uses 6.0 litres/100km, but this was deleted from the range in September 2018.

(Power outputs and all other Mitsubishi ASX specifications are available from the Cars Covered menu, under the main image on this page.)

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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The ASX now comes in three main petrol versions, each front-wheel drive. You can spend as little as possible and have an ASX ES. That will get you cloth seat trim, manual transmission, and the other features shared by every ASX. Auto transmission is an extra-cost option.

For about $1500 more than an ASX ES auto you can have an ES ADAS, which comes standard as an auto and adds Mitsubishi’s Advanced Driver Assist Systems. These comprise autonomous emergency braking (Mitsubishi calls it Forward Collision Mitigation), Lane-departure warning, rear-cross traffic alert and blind-spot warning. In addition, your windscreen wipers operate automatically when it rains. And your headlights turn on automatically at night or in tunnels, and switch themselves from high to low beam when required.

For a little more you can have the ASX LS that comes with ADAS as standard, along with rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, a self-dimming mirror, automatic high-beam headlights, privacy glass and leather/microsuede interior trim.

For a lot more again you can have an ASX XLS, which sticks with auto transmission and ADAS as standard and adds luxury. You get part-leather seats, heated in front and power-adjustable for the driver. A big sunroof stretches over the front and rear seats.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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One thing that sets the ASX aside from other small SUVs is it's affordability, which you lose by opting for the more expensive XLS version. If you're spending around $30,000 for a small SUV there are plenty of newer rivals worth considering.

White is the only standard colour; all other colours cost extra.

How comfortable is the ASX?

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The controls and displays in the ASX are logically laid out, from the circular speedo and tachometer to the buttons on the steering wheel for phone and audio functions. A trio of knobs makes it easy to adjust air flow.

Up front, the seats are comfy in city driving but they don’t have much lateral support, which means more bracing with your legs if you’re on a twisting road in the country.

While wind noise is kept at bay, noise from the tyres can be testing on country roads or at freeway speeds.

The petrol engine feels lethargic initially, but builds pace enthusiastically once the car gets moving.

The ASX does a good job of soaking up bumps at open-road speeds. Around town it is less subtle in the way it deals with surface imperfections.

What about safety in an ASX?

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Every ASX has anti-lock brakes, stability control, seven airbags, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, and LED daytime running lights (which make it easier for other drivers to see you).

There are two airbags in front of the driver and front passenger; one outside each front seat to protect you at chest level from side impacts; a curtain airbag stretching down each side of the car at head level to protect passengers front and rear from side impacts; and finally an airbag to protect the driver’s knees.

In addition, ASX ES ADAS, ASX LS and ASX XLS variants bring you autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, rear-cross traffic alert, blind-spot monitor, and auto headlights and windscreen wipers.

The auto braking on an ASX accepts signals from radar and camera sensors. Mitsubishi says it is effective at speeds up to 80km/h. (It also responds to pedestrians at speeds up to 65km/h.)

If it detects a hazard ahead (typically another car that has slowed suddenly), it will intervene in three stages. First, it will sound a warning. If you ignore the warning, it will brake automatically at part pressure. If you ignore that and a collision appears imminent, it will initiate a full-pressure emergency stop.

The Lane departure warning uses a camera to monitor road markings. Should you be about to drift into an adjacent lane on the highway without indicating – perhaps from distraction or fatigue – it will trigger an audio-visual warning, and rear-cross traffic alert senses if a car is approaching from either side when you’re reversing.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has rated the ASX’s safety at its maximum five stars, most recently in November 2016.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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The two engines available in the ASX deliver respectable performance without being exciting. The petrol engine is hamstrung in manual gearbox form by having only five ratios, which don’t always allow you to work it at its optimal speed. The CVT auto does a better job of maximising the propulsion available.

The diesel has more urge in everyday driving and the six-speed conventional auto shifts decisively, ensuring good forward progress.

The ASX is predictable through bends but leans significantly when cornering quickly, which sets up more dramatic movement from the body if you are faced immediately with a turn to the opposite side. Steering is light and accurate. You may feel some annoying kickback through the wheel if you hit bumps in the middle of a corner.

Overall, though, the ASX inspires confidence on country roads and freeways. Tyres grip well and the body settles quickly after bumps.

How is life in the rear seats?

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Small SUVs are not designed to transport lots of children, but the ASX has more rear-seat space than most, with good head and leg room that makes it viable as a family chariot. Dedicated vents feed cooling or heating to the rear passengers.

There’s a hump on the centre of the floor, but the rear seat base is relatively flat, making it fairly comfortable for the person in the middle.

That centre seatbelt can be retracted into the side of the inner roof, allowing the seats to be folded more easily. However, if you do that, it must be fastened with two separate buckles.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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The boot is relatively broad, with a wide opening that sits high off the ground, so there’s no need to bend over to lift things out. A 60/40 split-fold rear seatback improves loading flexibility.

When folded, the seatbacks are on a slight angle but still create a long load area that will easily accommodate a bicycle.

Pockets in the front doors will cater for a large bottle and other odds and ends. But the centre console’s main open storage is in the twin cupholders. There is a covered binnacle under the central arm rest.

Petrol-powered models can tow 1300kg, while those powered by the diesel engine are rated at 1400kg. That is good for a small SUV.

Where is the Mitsubishi ASX made?

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All models of the Mitsubishi ASX are produced in Japan.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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Satellite navigation that does not depend on your phone, available in a Subaru XV, Toyota C-HR, Hyundai Kona or Mazda CX-3, for example.

Active cruise control, which can slow you to follow cars ahead on the highway, resuming your preset cruising speed when the way is clear. This is standard on a Toyota C-HR, for example and available with most other models.

Other small SUVs you might consider include the Suzuki Vitara, Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai, Ford EcoSport, and Holden Trax.

Interestingly, one of the ASX's biggest rivals is the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, that's newer, slightly bigger and has plenty more standard features than the ASX, but has a considerably higher starting price.

Are there plans to update the ASX soon?

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The current ASX arrived in 2010 and received a significant update in 2012. In June 2015 the wheel size was increased an inch to 18 inches and digital radio reception was added. In November 2016, a very minor facelift brought fresh nose styling, revised interior trim, and adjustments to touchscreen menus.

In September 2017 the ASX received a more significant facelift, this time with styling tweaks front and rear (and inside). Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto was added to all versions, and Mitsubishi’s ADAS driver-assistance suite, which includes auto braking, was made available. The CD player was dropped, as was satellite navigation.

In September 2018 Mitsubishi dropped the ASX versions with the diesel engine and all-wheel-drive for the 2019 model year, and introduced the ES, which became the cheapest ASX. It also introduced a limited-run ASX Black Edition which brought additional features and more aggressive styling to the ES.

An all-new ASX is under development, but its arrival date is uncertain – and may be as late as 2020.

I like this car, but I can’t choose which version. Can you help?

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The ASX’s major advantage is affordability, so we like the ASX ES with ADAS which brings you an SUV for the price of a small hatchback. The standard CVT auto does a good job and the ADAS driver assistance suite may help you avoid the sort of in-traffic incident that can ruin your day.