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Road Test : Mitsubishi ASX Aspire

Review by Tristan Tancredi - 14 March 2012

Mitsubishi ASX Aspire - Road TestMitsubishi's City Sized SUV, the ASX, is available in 2WD, 4WD and the top of the range ASX Aspire.

According to the folk down at Mitsubishi, the ASX moulds "..the combination of the flexibility of an SUV and agility and comfort of a compact passenger car".

The first question we raised when researching the ASX was:  Is a passenger car mixed with an SUV practical?

The diesel fuelled ASX Aspire is fitted with a Reversing Camera and the Mitsubishi Multi-Communication System to make driving on all surfaces and in all conditions stress-free.

Packing a 1.8 litre 4 cylinder valve MIVEC direct injection diesel engine, the ASX Aspire is a smart looking, agressive package with a neat interior and solid performance.

Let's take a closer look at how it performs.

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Drive 
Engine 
Exterior 
Interior 
Safety

Make: Mitsubishi
Model: ASX Aspire
Price: $36,990*
Transmission: 6-speed Manual
Engine: 1.8 litre 4 cylinder valve MIVEC direct injection diesel
 Max Power: 110Kw
Max Torque: 300Nm
Fuel consumption: 5.9L / 100km (claimed)
CO2 Emissions: 
Safety: 5-star ANCAP
Car SupplierMitsubishi Australia

Drive: 3.5/5

Mitsubishi ASX Aspire - Road Test

Black Themed Interior

Mitsubishi ASX Aspire - Road Test

ASX Aspire : A City Sized SUV

Mitsubishi ASX Aspire - Road Test

Don't let the diesel powered aggressive engine noise fool you. The Car is quite sluggish in the lower gears.

The 6-Speed Manual transmission available with the diesel donks feels slow gaining speed in 1st and 2nd gears, culminating in a rather substandard driving performance from a stop-start.

Once the ASX gets rolling, the performance lifts and a more enjoyable driving experience is there to savor. 

Off-road and the ASX does the job. Whilst not dominating the harsher terrain, it delivers what is required to get you from A to B.

The ASX handles straight-road driving and cornering quite well utilising both 4WD and 2WD options. However, at times, the handling does come across a tad "loose" when mastering the tighter turns of the Victorian roads.

The cabin remains a pleasant, relaxing place to be despite a slight diesel-engine rattle reverberating through.

Engine: 3.5/5

The ASX Aspire Diesel variant comes with a 1.8 litre 4 cylinder valve MIVEC direct injection engine. Figures released by Mitsubishi put the vehicle at 110kW of power and 300 Nm of Torque.

Figures aside, despite delivering a sweet diesel fueled growl, it simply doesn't translate to a powerful drive. Sprinting 0 - 100kph in 10.2 seconds for a compact SUV isn't slow, yet it's far from quick.

Driving the 6-speed manual around for a week and, dissapointly, there isn't alot of power in the lower gears (Poor performance at low revs).

The ASX Aspire Petrol variant has a 2.0L 4 cylinder DOHC 16 Valve MIVEC engine beneath the hood. A 6 speed sports mode continuos variable transmission is available.

A healthy fuel consumption is what saves the ASX Aspire.  Drinking only 5.9l per 100kms (we can vouch for that) is a great effort for compact SUV.

Exterior: 4/5

The city sized SUVs top of the range vehcile, the ASX Aspire, has quite the on road presence.

A distinctive front shape is exemplified by an eyecatching front grille, that in all honesty, looks pretty darn sexy. This is complimented by stylish 17" Alloys.

A well designed shape allows the ASX Aspire to stand out, but not glaringly. Measuring in at 1615mm tall, 4295mm long and 1770mm wide, the ASX clearly is a compact SUV.

Fog lamps and dusk sensing headlamps that activate when lighting becomes poor merge neatly with the front grille.

Forgotten what the stars look like? Fear no more, a panoramic view is available at around $800 extra. The view covers most of the roof (Think massive window on the roof). Initially something to "wow" the kids, this soon becomes forgotten and probably rarely used. Especially when the sun's out!

Notably, the exterior look of the ASX Aspire is one of the vehicles best features.

Safety: 5/5

How Safe Is Your Car gives the 2011 Mitsubishi ASX 2WD a 5 star ANCAP safety rating.

Jam packed full of Airbags, including; Driver and Front Passenger SRS and side SRS Airbags, Curtain SRS Airbags and Driver Knee Airbag.

All Wheel Control enables the ASX Aspire to easily switch between 2WD and 4WD to cater for different terrains and different driving styles to offer extreme wheel control.

The Mitsubishi Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) provides a strong, well designed body that offers terrfic support in any accidents.

Coming standard with the ASX Aspire are the common safety features: Electronic Brake Distribution, Active Stability Control, Active Traction Control and ABS.

Interior: 3.5/5

Once inside the ASX Aspire, you will soon discover that it is a pretty comfortable and somewhat spacious car. Whilst not as roomy as other SUV's in the backseats, the Aspire is more then sufficient to carry around a family of 5.

The interior of the Aspire is loaded with fully adjustable leather bucket seats that wrap around the body to offer great back support. The seating position is high and offers unrestricted views to all mirrors and the road ahead.

Awash with dark seats, trims and finishings, the bleak interior colours are subjective to personal taste. Personally, I loved the black colour schemes.

A 7" Screen features the Mitsubishi Multi-Communication System. The MMCS features Sat Nav, Audio and Multimedia Controls, a Reversing camera and a host of other options and preferences.

The 7" Screen is unfortunately a touchscreen. Whilst undoubtably popular with some car enthusiasts, we find it harder to navigate with a touchscreen then say a turning knob, (AKA Volvo and Audi).

The Navigation System can be confusing to operate, we had some initial problems entering co-ordinates. However, once accustomed to the procedure, it works well. When in motion, entering destination coordinates is disallowed to avoid on road distractions, which is both safe, yet horribly frustrating.

The positioning of the climate control knobs below the Communication System are inconviently positioned. We found ourselves searching for the knobs and taking our eyes off the road a few too many times.

A host of other features including; bluetooth technology, one touch smart system, multi-information display (fuel usage, trip counters, etc) and a premium sound system with 9 speakers all add to the prestige of the ASX Aspire.

Overall: 3.5/5


As we all know, there are an abundance of city sized SUVs currently on the market (The Suzuki GV Sport is one such competitor). Hence why the ASX Aspire may struggle to find its niche in the market.

With a great exterior look and a strong physical on-road presence, the ASX Aspire, despite being nice to look at, doesn't exactly "knock your socks off" when sitting behind the wheel of the 6-speed manual.

Importantly, the Aspire fits a family of 5, yet becomes quite a squeeze when you add a few kiddy seats to the equation. 

The ASX Aspire comes to the market at around $36,990 and is worth checking out.

* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Mitsubishi dealer.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Exterior Design

  • Fuel Economy

  • Lacks Genuine Speed

  • Back seats become tight with Kiddy seats

Comments on the review? The Car? Your Car? Email us.

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