Buoyed by the relative success of its ASX – around 1500 have found homes in SA – Mitsubishi has introduced an updated version for the 2013 model year. Not only that, but both an all-new Outlander and a Polo Vivo/Ford Figo-fighting Mirage hatchback arrive this year as well. But back to the ASX, which remains for the meantime, Mitsubishi’s top-seller. To keep that interest from flagging, the new car features a an even bolder front end that is less dependent on the old car’s Evo X-like grille for its identity. A completely reworked front bumper incorporating neatly detailed fog lamp cut outs and a chrome-lined grille aperture lend the ASX’s styling a subtly more premium bent.
Interior tweaks amount to a redesigned steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls across all spec-lines plus cruise control buttons on the top-line GLS model. Other changes include a new CD/radio head unit with Bluetooth, USB input and voice activation, darker, titanium-hued centre console inserts and a soft-touch dash covering. The range-topping GLS model gets a six-inch touch-screen display, facilitating a reverse camera view to supplement the range-standard rear parking sensors.
The front wheels of all three models are driven by Mitsubishi’s 2.0-litre petrol engine that produces 110kW @ 6000rpm and 197Nm of torque @ 4200rpm. Considering the figures, I didn’t expect the mill to feel quite as lethargic at times, requiring a mostly unpleasant trip high up the rev range for any real go – an action met by the engine’s rasping metallic edge. The base GL and mid-range GLX both employ a five-speed manual transmission, with the CVT reserved for the GLS. For those who like the stats, 0-100kph takes a claimed 9.6sec, top speed is 196kph and manual cars consume 7.5 litres/100km over the combined cycle – one tenth of a litre less than the CVT.
Additional standard spec include alloys, electric folding side mirrors, HID headlights with washers and fog lamps. Mid- and top-range cars are fitted with 17-inch alloys, a huge panoramic glass roof, auto headlights, a rain sensor, electric driver’s seat adjustment, keyless access and a starter button
As before, the ASX rides on a MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension set-up that offers reasonably firm lateral body control, but is also well damped without being bouncy. Its ability to absorb back road bumps really stood out on launch. Rather unusually, the full electric steering system transferred a bit of vibration over some of the less regular road surfaces.
Overall, a minor, but welcome set of updates for a vehicle that finds itself bang in the middle of a dazzling array of competitors. Despite this, the ASX acquits itself well to the general demands of the front-wheel drive crossover buyer, rides competently, offers competitive value for money and promises to bring the once-popular brand back onto the radar screens of many South Africans.
The recommended retail prices
ASX 2.0 GL – R279 900
ASX 2.0 GLX – R304 900
ASX 2.0 GLS (CVT) – R334 900
Pricing includes a five-year/90 000 km service plan and a three-year/100 000 km warranty, with 15000km service intervals.