Words by Surin Kumar. Photography by TJ & Co
Compact SUVs seem to be a trend that’s catching up like wildfire, mainly among the female audience. I don’t see why not. These cars are priced only slightly above the sedans, but pack the same amount of fun and provide more legroom while not being as bulky as the regular SUVs. The ASX does look good, mainly because it has borrowed the looks of its handsome brother, the Lancer. Sharp and sporty, all fitted in a compact SUV frame. In fact, it only seems a bit bigger than your regular sedans.
An aerodynamic front grille with fog lamps and bolder lines add a sexy appeal to the ASX. Aligned nicely below the fog lamps are the LED daylights - a personal favourite. However, it does lack the aggression and masculinity portrayed by many other SUVs. Maybe it’s just me. As sexy as it may be, the ASX wouldn’t really be the car that would make me go “wow” at first sight.
Inside of the ASX is where most of its beauty lies. While looking just about average in terms of size on the outside, there is actually ample space inside for five adults to sit comfortably. The design isn’t exceptionally unique, but friendly and easy enough for just about anyone to get used to. It boasts a sporty feel along with comfortable leather seats and telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel with a good range of adjustment. In short, it has better finishing than most of its competitors that I’ve driven so far.
The cabin is light and airy, with a panoramic glass roof that will definitely get your kids excited. The on-board computer keeps you driving efficiently, providing all the information you need. Other features include keyless entry with push start, a reverse camera, cruise control, GPS, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and a fully automatic air conditioner. The interior is designed to keep everything tidy, just the sort that neat freaks would love.
One thing I really love is the magnesium paddle shifters. Unlike other paddle shifters I’ve tried, these shifters spelled fun on every change of gear. I rarely had the ASX on auto, mainly because the paddle shifters were that fun to use. Of course, this was also because the car was backed up by an enormous amount of power that’s delivered on every shift.
When it comes to handling and performance, you can rarely doubt the Mitsubishi. For a tall car, the ASX drives like your regular sedan - agile, nimble and easy to squeeze through tight spaces. Under the hood rests a 2.0-litre DOHC MIVEC engine, paired to an INVECS-III CVT gearbox with six steps sports mode. It delivers about 148hp and 197Nm of maximum torque, which you’ll enjoy if you’re in manual. However, on straight roads, the car needs a slight amount of time to pick up, especially after 120km/h. The drive was extremely comfortable, so much that I unwarily went over the speed limit on a few occasions. You might want to keep an eye on the speedometer on that note. On paper, the ASX claims a top speed of 190 km/h, but luck and opportunity didn’t coincide during my drive, so that’s a claim I’ll have to forsake this time around.
It took me some time to get used to the steering because it felt overly light and less responsive. It’s fine on urban streets but gave me doubts during high speed manoeuvres. The ASX switches from 2WD to 4WD in just a push of a button, with two options: auto for regular four wheel control and lock for the slippery tracks. Other than that it also packs the Active Stability Control (ASC) function, dual airbags, ABS with EBD, reverse camera, engine immobiliser, traction control and Hill Start Assist (HSA) for your safety concerns.
For someone who wasn’t initially “wow-ed” by the ASX at first, I really had trouble handing over the key after my test drive period. I found myself so fond of the car and I was already missing the car for a good two weeks upon returning it!
This is a car that combines practicality, comfort, easy driving, excitement, fuel efficiency, power, safety and technology all in perfect harmony with a price tag that most could afford. I can’t think of any compact SUVS that’ll provide the bang for your buck as the ASX does.
2.0-litre inline-4, DOHC MIVEC (4B11)
Horsepower: 150 hp
Transmission: INVECS-III CVT with 6-step Sports Mode
Fuel Consumption: 13.2km/l (combined)
Top Speed: 190km/h
Features: Panaromic glass roof, magnesium paddle shifs, keyless & push start entry, auto rain and light sensors, automatic air-con, auto retractable
Price (OTR with GST):
2WD: RM 117 499.67
4WD: RM 132 021.51
Desginer Edition: RM 135 026.19