Compact SUVs are the popular tool of choice for many urban couples and smaller families chasing practical transport solutions.
And Mitsubishi’s smartly styled ASX has proven a hit with buyers, even in its brief lifetime. With used examples still carrying the balance of Mitsubishi’s long new car warranty, a used ASX could prove a sound buy.
Standing for ‘active sports crossover’ – nothing to do with the Australian Stock Exchange or even sports bras (as one wit suggested) – the ASX shares its basic genetics with Outlander and Lancer.
Its five-door wagon body has the same wheelbase as Outlander, is substantially lighter, but isn’t as tall. There’s plenty of model choices starting with the front-wheel-drive version powered by an all-alloy 2.0-litre petrol engine matched to a CVT auto or five-speed manual.
There’s also an entry level all-wheel-drive and a more luxuriously appointed Aspire awd model. Both can be had with the petrol engine and CVT or a 1.8 turbo-diesel only with six-speed manual.
No less than seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, and stability control on all models, complemented by a five star ANCAP crash rating takes care of safety.
The technically sophisticated diesel with variable valve-timing pumps out 300Nm of torque and is the pick of the engines, combining better performance with good fuel economy. No auto gearbox will turn many buyers off the oiler though.
Class competitive rather than class leading on-road ability is ASX’s stock in trade. The practical space, plus easy driving feel and interior presentation similar to Lancer will appeal to many. Unlike other Mitsubishi models it offers steering reach adjustment as well as tilt.
All-wheel drive models use the Outlander’s electronically controlled drive system with selectable fwd, awd and awd lock mode for 50/50 power distribution. Off road ability is limited to forestry trails and the like rather than hard-core bush bashing.
ASX appears to be budget friendly when it comes to operating costs. And we didn’t uncover any nasty secrets to taint its reliability reputation either. Like any used vehicle though check for careful scheduled servicing including engine oil and coolant. Servicing of vital engine fluids for the all-alloy diesel plus all filters and scheduled valve clearance adjustment is critical for long-term durability. As always a professional pre-purchase inspection is important.
Under the pump
ASX will use between 6.3 litres and 10.8 litres of petrol or 4.9 litres and 8.6 litres of diesel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to RACQ's online car price guide or contact our Motoring Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.
Hyundai iX35 2010 onwards
Entry level fwd 2.0-litre petrol (manual or auto), or two higher spec awd models with 2.4 petrol or 2.0 turbo-diesel, both six-speed auto only. Scores well for safety. Practical interior. Well finished. Ride and road holding needs more polish.
Nissan Dualis (series II) 2010 onwards
Plenty of choices with fwd, awd, manual and cvt auto gearboxes, plus five or seven seat versions. Average performance from 2.0-litre petrol engine, no diesel option though. Base model ST or more luxuriously appointed Ti
Suzuki Grand Vitara 2008 - 2012
Choice of 2.4 petrol, 1.9 turbo-diesel or 3.2 V6. Average on-road ability, but provides low-range gearing and superior off-road skill to most compact SUVs. Six airbags and stability control standard.