By Gordon Hall
• Same power
• New face
• Updated CVT
• New display audio with smartphone link
The South African version of Mitsubishi’s ASX SUV is still powered by last year’s two-litre, naturally aspirated DOHC, 4B11 engine producing 110kW and 197Nm. That’s despite overseas cars having switched to the updated, SOHC 4J11 that puts out similar numbers.
Apart from that it scored a redesigned bonnet, grille and bumpers; as well as All-LED headlights, Daytime Running Lights, fog lamps, brake lights, taillights, reverse lights and integrated turn flashers in two-piece clusters. Standard wheels are 18” alloy units with 225/55 tyres.
The six-step CVT added a Sport mode that holds lower gears for longer and a Low setting for sustained towing and hill-climbing. There are no paddles; no stick-controlled override either. It’s odd but you could probably get used to it. Simply select Sport and let the CVT do its job.
Keeping power on holds a lower ratio for spirited cornering, while relaxing pressure lets it upshift for the straightaway leading to the next bend. Add boot for the following corner. Repeat.
In non-sporting use the CVT behaves like a normal automatic, provided you treat it respectfully. It happily shifts up and down all day and accelerates decently when called upon politely. Just don’t floor the gas like a road hog and expect instant obedience. That’s when whining and stubbornness kick in.
New features include Mitsubishi’s improved Smartphone-link Display Audio (SDA) with 8” display and touch controls, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and two USB sockets. Black leather seats (heated in front) remain standard. The driver’s chair adjusts electrically for reach, height, rake and seatback angle.
Traditional standard features comprise panoramic glass sunroof, cruise control, single-channel automatic air conditioner, powered windows and foldable mirrors, remote central locking and keyless starting.
Safety kit includes seven airbags, ISOFix mountings with top tethers, hill start assist and ASTC – automatic stability and traction control – helpful on rainy or gravelly roads.
This, together with excellent suspension, works like a charm. Our nasty test roads, those with devilish washboard and embedded small stones that set up tooth-rattling resonance in lesser cars, molested the ASX with all they had. And were shrugged off.
Boot: Loads at 73cm onto a flat deck; one light, two side wells, four lashing rings and protective carpeting. The space is about 780mm long, a metre wide between wheel arches and 40cm deep. The 60:40-split seatback folds by means of push-down catches accessible from behind. The spare is a steel rim with 215/70R16 tyre.
Rear seat: Knee space and headroom for six-foot passengers are marginal but foot space is plentiful. The backrest feels a little too upright for sustained comfort but three head restraints, full belts and a pair of ISOFix mountings keep occupants restrained. There’s a central armrest with cup holders, one map pocket, no door bins.
Front seat: Limited headroom; two finger-widths with chair fully lowered because the sunroof steals space. We suggest making this optional so that taller buyers may choose to do without. The spacious central armrest box contains a 12-volt, 120-Watt socket.
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Dash area: Simple HVAC controls, 8” touch-screen media centre, cigarette lighter, loose ashtray, decently sized cubby, narrow door bins and a straightforward Info button for trip details. The RHD handbrake has a firm and positive action.
Driving: Smooth, comfortable over dodgy surfaces, plenty of power, easy-handling and pleasant to live with.
Ditch the sunroof and we’d have one; preferably with five-speed manual.
Test unit from Mitsubishi SA press fleet
Prices: Manual @ R379 995 and CVT @ R399 995
Engine: Mitsubishi 4B11, 1998 cc, DOHC, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder
Power: 110kW at 6000 rpm
Torque: 197Nm at 4200 rpm
Zero to 100km/h: 11.5 seconds
Top speed: 190km/h
Real life fuel consumption: About 8.5 l/100km
Tank: 63 litres
Luggage: 406 – 1206 litres
Ground clearance: 190mm
Turning circle: 10.6m
Warranty: 3 years / 100 000km
Roadside assistance: 5 years / unlimited km
Service plan: 5 years / 90 000km, at 15 000km intervals
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