THE ASX: MITSUBISHI’S AGILE, STYLISH AND EXCITING CROSSOVER SUV

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The Amazon Red and Sonic Blue variants of the ASX with the Thunderbird Resort as the back ground

The Amazon Red and Sonic Blue variants of the ASX with the Thunderbird Resort as the back ground

Agile, stylish and exciting! Three words that best describe the updated 2015 Mitsubishi ASX (active sport crossover). Just a couple of weeks after its launch, we finally got to sample the new features of this crossover sport utility vehicle with a 550-kilometer ride and drive from Manila to La Union and back.

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The updated ASX now comes in two variants—the standard GLS and the high-end GSR. Both models have two-wheel drive systems with Mitsubishi’s much improved 6-speed INVECS-III continuously variable transmission (CVT). Also standard on both variants are 17” alloy wheels, a new center instrument panel, tonneau cover, retractable headlamp washer, tire pressure monitoring system, reverse camera and second row center armrest.

We recently got to drive the high-end GSR variant which has added specs including a reverse sensor, reverse camera, day time running lamps (DRL), black leather seats, super wide range HID headlamps and a stunning panoramic sunroof with LED illumination.

Exterior
The exterior of the updated ASX retained most of the design features of its predecessor although the new turbine-inspired alloy wheels definitely gave the model a faster-running stance. The GSR has a 160-degree super wide range HID headlamps that sends out a broader beam of light, illuminating a much wider section of the road ahead. Adding to its sharper look is the revised front bumper with LED daytime running lights. Meanwhile, the GLS is equipped with fog lamps with chrome accents. For an even energetic look the 17” alloy wheels also get a new design. Both variants are now equipped with a retractable headlamp washers.

Interior
With the updated ASX, the cockpit now has an all-black finish that gives a very sporty look. The dashboard has ergonomically positioned controls for the comfort and convenience of both the driver and passengers. The leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel has tilt and telescopic adjustments and complemented by silver accents and an integrated audio remote and cruise control switches. It is equipped with an engine start/stop button and LCD-type multi-information display monitor that can show trip meters, fuel economy and average speed among others.

Another brilliant feature of the ASX is its entertainment system which has a 6.5-inch touch screen LCD monitor that can play DVDs or music from either an iPod or USB stick. It is also equipped with a GPS navigation system that comes with free regular map updates.

Seat comfort is good at the front, while in the back there is a broad bench that provides a reasonably spacious area for bigger passengers to sit in. Both headroom and legroom are adequate for adults. There’s also a lot of room for the feet to move forward to as there is a 10-inch gap/space below the front seat cushion and the floorboard.

Storage for the ASX is more than adequate. The rear has 416 liters of storage space which can be expanded to 1,109 liters just by folding down the 60:40 rear seat backs.

Power Plant
The front-wheel-drive ASX has a 2.0-liter 4B11 gasoline-fed, four-cylinder, 16-valve double overhead cam MIVEC III engine, which has a maximum power output of 150Ps and 197Nm torque. Both the GLS and GSR models come with CVT the INVECS-III six-speed automatic transmission that improves fuel economy by three percent.

The ASX has adequate engine power with peak torque being achieved at 4,200rpm and peak power at 6000rpm. However, engine noise is a bit evident inside the cabin under hard acceleration or whenever the RPM exceeds the 4,000 range.

During our ride and drive along the long stretches of the North Luzon Expressway, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, we managed to get an average consumption of 7.4 liters/100 kilometers or 13.5 kilometers per liter of gasoline. In city driving conditions, we managed to post an average consumption of 10.75 liters/100 kilometers or 9.3 kilometers per liter of gas.

The ASX’s vital stats are: 4.295 meters (length); 1.77m (width); 1.61m (height); and a wheelbase of 2.67 meters. Compared to the older ASX, the 2015 model now has better handling and maneuverability thanks to the tuning done on its suspension system. The improvements were evident as the car provided a more confident feel even with aggressive driving on the winding roads leading to La Union.

The improved suspension system of the ASX also suppresses big bumps and while it can be a little shaky over continuous road-ruts, it still retains it composure better than its predecessor. In fast corners, body-roll is still evident but is compensated by the 17-inch tires that give excellent cornering grip.

Safety
Standard on both the GLS and GSR models are front dual SRS airbags to ensure safety and protection from direct impact collisions. It also features Mitsubishi Motors’ proprietary Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (R.I.S.E.) Body which ensures the safety of all passengers. The body structure’s crumple zones effectively absorbs and dispense crash energy from all directions, completely protecting the interior cabin.

New Panoramic Sunroof
Adding excitement to the updated ASX is a panoramic sunroof with LED Illumination. With this feature, passengers will enjoy the view from all directions. Retracting the sunshade reveals a full glass roof panel extending over the front and rear seats. At night, the roof is attractively illuminated with LED lamps.

The ASX is available in six cool colors, namely: Sapporo Silver; Sonic Blue; Amazon Red; Virgil Gray; Biscuit White; and Carbon Black.

Although not that extensive, the improvements to the 2015 ASX range are very much welcome and truly gives the car a much fresher look. Our tests also proved that the ASX is both comfortable and practical. Add to this the fact that Mitsubishi has priced the car competitively—buyers should definitely visit the dealerships to check it out.

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