Mitsubishi ASX Sport 2012 Review

Christmas road trips are by far the best time to truly test a car’s capabilities. Not only are there the usual mix of unfamiliar roads to negotiate and passenger comfort to consider through the corners, but you also have to deal with unusually shaped luggage, an endless stream of cretinous motorhomes to overtake and, this year, torrential rain.

The police message that they would target slow drivers didn’t seem to get through to everyone as the drive up to Coromandel fromThameswas annoyingly slow stuck behind an aging ute towing a cruddy boat. However, Christmas should be a time of goodwill to all (wo)men so a lip was bitten and a horn left un-pressed.

We accomplished our journeys in Mitsubishi’s new ASX Sport crossover. It’s like a lifted up Lancer hatch…or a shrunk Outlander. It sits in a segment alongside the Hyundai ix35, Skoda Yeti, and the upcoming Subaru XV (which is based on the Impreza platform). Consequently this means it’s going to suit those who want SUV styling and the raised driving position, but don’t want to go for the full-blown SUV experience and associated body roll.

The standard equipment is impressive. Rain-sensing wipers were appreciated immensely given the weather over the period. A mixture of rain, heavy rain and light rain interspersed with water falling from the sky and also following vehicles that threw up spray meant they were always calculating the appropriate wiping speed. A reversing camera which displays in a portion of the rear view mirror is brilliant as it perfectly compensates for crossover vehicles’ inherent poorer rear visibility. There’s a push button start, and a great many other buttons to push on the steering wheel for cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity and controlling the stereo. The stereo sounds great with its six speakers, though we couldn’t get it to connect to our iPod – perhaps a loose connection or faulty cable.

With the temporary ridiculous lower speed limit of 90kph between the Auckland motorway and Coromandel peninsula, and the over-zealous policing to 4kph above the posted speed limit (both of which apparently did extremely little to reduce the holiday road toll), the cruise control was on pretty much all the time. All cars are designed to over-read when the speedo says 100kph. Usually it’s 3-4kph and stops you from suing the vehicle manufacturer if you get a ticket when you thought you were doing 108, but you were really doing 111. However, our Navperson satellite navigation system has a GPS speed option and they’re usually accurate to within 1kph. So, I was surprised to find out that when the speedo indicated 110, we were apparently only doing 104! So, we set the cruise control to 105kph on the dial and we were comfortable in the knowledge that we were only doing 100.

While it wears the Sport moniker on the boot, the ASX is not sporty at all and is more suited to longer touring trips, in which it performs very well. The steering is light and very precise – the turning circle is excellent, too. The only thing is that you’ll have to plan your overtaking moves and the engine really did seem like it struggled up the hills with two of us and light luggage. This is partly due to the CVT gearbox’s method of operation and partly due to it only making 112kW from the 2-litre engine. This is the same as the previous model. Quoted fuel economy is 7.9l/100km but we found that’s optimistic unless you like accelerating by breathing gently on the right-hand pedal. Even Mitsubishi’s website’s dashboard image shows 13.4l/100km. We found that the journey fromAucklandto Coromandel in fairly light traffic averaged 8.1l/100km.

The Sport comes with paddle gear change behind the steering wheel. Given the car’s lack of sporting prowess you might thing that having this is useless, but you’d be wrong. Changing down a gear or two on long downhill stretches saves the brakes. Not that there’s anything wrong with the brakes. They’re powerful and keen and we experienced no fade.

Would I buy the ASX? Maybe. It’s not that I didn’t like the ASX, even though it could do with more power. It’s comfortable, rides well in the corners, looks sharp and comes with a good level of features. It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position with the telescopically adjustable steering wheel, and the seats are supportive and not overly firm. The problem is that I thought that for an extra couple of grand I could have had the 5-seat Outlander 2.4 (4WD) which is (in my opinion) better. Even though it doesn’t handle as well, I like the Outlander’s styling and it’s more practical.

Or for the same price I could have the top spec Lancer VRX Hatch with its 2.4-litre engine, and we already know the Lancer is a good car. However, for a promotional car, the ASX would be awesome with its striking looks and tall stance allowing plenty of sign writing options. It’s easy to get into and out of, being slightly taller than a normal car and has better towing capability than the Lancer. It’s also unlikely to be as ubiquitous as a Lancer; it will remain a bit exclusive because crossovers don’t sell as many.

Pros

  • Good forward visibility, especially at night
  • Comfortable
  • Plenty of headroom

Cons

  • Underpowered
  • Price point leaves Outlander looking like a better option

Price: from $36,690 for the base model; Sport model as tested $40,590

GENERAL LS SPORT
MODEL CODE BF4LS45 BF4SP45
BODY TYPE 5 door wagon
SEATING CAPACITY 5 persons
ENGINE LS SPORT
ENGINE 2.0L DOHC 16V MIVEC 4B11
DISPLACEMENT 1,998
COMPRESSION RATIO 10:1
BORE AND STROKE 86 x 86mm
MAX POWER DIN (KW @ RPM) 112 @ 6,000
MAX TORQUE DIN (NM @ RPM) 200 @ 4,200
FUEL CONSUMPTION (L/100KM) 7.9
CO2 (G/KM) 181
EXHAUST EMISSION REGULATION EU-STEP4
TAIL PIPE Single Single with muffler cutter
FUEL SYSTEM LS SPORT
FUEL TANK SIZE (LITRES) 63
FUEL TYPE Unleaded 91
TRANSMISSION LS SPORT
TRANSMISSION CVT with 6-speed Sport Mode
GEAR RATIOS 2.349 ~ 0.394
REV 1.750
FINAL 6.120
SUSPENSION LS SPORT
FRONT Macpherson strut with coil spring & stabiliser
REAR Multi-link with stabiliser
SAFETY LS SPORT
AIRBAGS Dual stage airbags (driver, passenger, side, curtain & driver’s knee)
PARK BRAKE Urethane lever type with chrome release switch
BRAKING SAFETY SYSTEM 4-wheel ABS with EBD and ASC
CONVENIENCE Hill Start Assist and Brake Assist Systems
BRAKES 16″ discs
STEERING LS SPORT
STEERING SYSTEM Electronic power steering (EPS)
STEERING WHEEL Leather
CRUISE CONTROL On steering wheel
BLUETOOTH Hands free controls for steering wheel
AUDIO CONTROLS Located on steering wheel
STEERING LOCK Yes
STEERING COLUMN Tilt & telescopic adjust
WHEELS & TIRES LS SPORT
WHEELS 16″ steel wheel with full wheel cover 16″ alloy wheel
TIRES 215/65R16
SPARE WHEEL (FULL SIZE) Steel
SPARE WHEEL TIRE 215/65R16
OPERATING HARDWARE & ELECTRICAL LS SPORT
ENTRY SYSTEM Multi-mode keyless entry with 2 transmitters
(KOS) Keyless operating system
ENGINE START SYSTEM One-touch start system
SECURITY Alarm (horn, turn & buzz) with hood switch & immobiliser
POWER WINDOWS Front and rear (Driver auto up and down) with key off timer
HEADLAMPS Halogen with manual levelling device ‘Discharge (wide angle) with auto levelling device and washer
FRONT FOG LAMP Reflector type
WINDSHIELD WIPER 2 speed with variable intermittent 2 speed with auto variable intermittent
RAIN SENSOR Yes
WINDSCREEN WASHERS Front and rear
METERS Standard High contrast
SEATBELT WARNING LAMP (Driver & passenger)
BUZZERS Seatbelt warning, shift inhibit and door ajar
OTHER Trip computer, Analogue spedometer and Tachometer
AIR CONDITIONING Full auto
SOUND SYSTEM AM/FM CD radio with 4 speakers AM/FM 6-CD radio with 6 speakers
REVERSE WARNING SYSTEM Yes
ACCESSORY SOCKET Console box and instrument panel
CONNECTIVITY Bluetooth, audio jack and USB port
SEATS LS SPORT
SEAT TRIM FABRIC Standard Sports
HEATED FRONT SEATS
DRIVER’S SEAT Manual slide, recline & height adjuster
ASSISTANT’S SEAT Slide & recline adjuster & rear pocket
REAR SEAT 60:40 split with fold and recline function
FRONT SEAT HEADREST Driver and passenger
FRONT SEATBELTS 3-point with ELR x 2, pretensioner, force limiter & adjustable belt anchor
REAR SEATBELTS 3-point with ELR & ALR x 2, 3-point centre belt with ELR x 1
CONVENIENCE ITEMS LS SPORT
FLOOR CONSOLE Large type with lid, armrest & 2 cup holders for front seat
MUD GUARD Rear
GLASS Laminated windshield, privacy glass and rear glass with hotwire
REAR SPOILER With stop lamp
CHILD SEAT ISO-FIX x 2 with tether anchor x 3
TOWBAR Reinforcement with prewire
DIMENSIONS / WEIGHTS LS SPORT
OVERALL LENGTH (MM) 4,295
OVERALL WIDTH (MM) 1,770
OVERALL HEIGHT (MM) 1,615
WHEEL BASE (MM) 2,670
FRONT TRACK (MM) 1,525
REAR TRACK (MM) 1,525
GROUND CLEARANCE (MM) 195
TURNING CIRCLE (M) 10.6
KERB WEIGHT (KG) 1,440 1,450
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT (KG) 1,970
CARGO CAPACITY WITH REAR SEATS FOLDED FLAT – LITRES (VDA) 1,193
TOWING BRAKED (KG) 1,050
TOWING UNBRAKED (KG) 750

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

« | »

Leave us a comment

  • No trackbacks yet.

 
Read previous post:
Suzuki Grand Vitara
New Suzuki Grand Vitara

A new, highly specified version of the Suzuki Grand Vitara has been introduced to the New Zealand market. The Special...

Close