SUVs move over because here comes the ASX or Active Sporting Crossover from Mitsubishi Motors.
Like the name suggests, this vehicle has 4×4 looks but hatchback costs, aimed at plugging a gap in the modern motor market. It’s a car that, in the words of the manufacturers, ‘fits well with the times’.
Available through local dealership Naledi Motors, a spokesman said that the new vehicle was spot-on for local drivers, many of whom spend most of their time driving on tar in the urban areas but who still like to get out into the bush occasionally.
It shares the same lengthy wheelbase as its big brother, the Outlander with a roomy interior and a much shorter rear overhang, a lower roofline and cooler shaped wheel-arches.
It’s also on average a couple of hundred kilograms lighter (depending on grade), available in 2WD or with selectable 4WD and with a choice of a 2.0L petrol or an all new 1.8L turbo diesel with variable valve timing, making it the first diesel powered SUV in southern Africa with this technology.
And though it might look like the Outlander head-on, there is plenty of original personality in the snub-nosed terrier looks and ‘docked’ tail of the ASX that will appeal to buyers looking for a versatile small wagon.
The four-wheel-drive system is also lifted straight from the Outlander, lining the ASX squarely against the compact SUV competition.
It offers a diesel as well as a petrol engine, the 2.0 litre petrol is well known from its duties powering the Lancer, whilst the diesel, matched to a six-speed manual, is an all-new all-Mitsubishi unit.
At a modest 1.8 litres, it’s a cracker: smooth, strong and with class-leading economy of just 5.8 l/100km, it will win a lot of converts to diesel motoring. Official consumption figures are 7.7 litres of fuel per 100km in manual and 7.9L/100km in CVT for the petrol engine, while the manual diesel gets 5.8L/100km.
All vehicles come standard with seven airbags (twin front, front-side, side curtain and a driver’s knee airbag), electronic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution, as well as automatic climate-control air-conditioning, cruise control, and a multi-function trip computer.
The top grade Aspire gets 17 inch alloys (the entry level ASX gets 16’s), keyless entry and start, auto headlights, leather finished seats & heated front seats with an electric adjustable driver’s seat, a nine speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, Bluetooth phone connectivity and Mitsubishi’s Multi Communication System.
There is also an optional panoramic sunroof and buyers can choose from the standard space-saver temporary spare wheel or a full size spare wheel for a small extra cost.