Mitsubishi ASX 5

2.2D Auto

Mitsubishi ASX, 2017, side, static
Mitsubishi ASX, 2017, front
Mitsubishi ASX, 2017, front, static
Mitsubishi ASX, 2017, rear, static
Mitsubishi ASX, 2017, dashboard
Mitsubishi ASX, 2017, interior

MITSUBISHI made its mark on the off-road world with the Shogun - a go-anywhere tough guy that was nevertheless swish enough for everyday swanning around.

The horsey set just loved it, and many still do. But the major emphasis in popularity and sales has shifted to compact SUVs, an area the Japanese firm were absent from until 2010 when it launched the ASX.

Just recently facelifted the junior mud-lugger has some stiff opposition out there from the VW group, Nissan, Toyota and Renault.

With a fresh face, a broader list of equipment and a revised engine range, the ASX has a ruggedness and a heritage that some of the rivals lack.

The version expected to be best seller iis the 2.2-litre turbo diesel which is powerful enough with a 148bhp four-pot, even though it can't claim to be the most frugal choice.

There are four trim levels, of which the AWD 5 that I drove is the flagship version with leather seating, heated seats front and rear and LED daytime running lights.

Standard fitment on the cheaper models, which start at a reasonable £16,000, is a six-speed manual gearbox, but the 2.2 comes with an automatic six-speed gearbox, complete with steering wheel paddles.

First impressions are of a remarkably robust construction with well fitted panels and sturdy no-nonsense switchgear. It's not the most exciting shape, despite the remodelled grille, and the cabin though easy on the eye is practical and sensible rather than stylish.

Fire up the engine and you are immediately reminded that it's a diesel by the characteristic and audible rattle but this smoothes out as you reach cruising speed and the noise fades in the background. Floor the accelerator and there's ample grunt for overtaking.

Statistics of 0 to 62mph in 10.8 seconds and a max of 118mph belie the car's urgent progress. The automatic change is smooth and undemanding.

There's ample room in the front although a six-foot-plus tall driver may wish his seat would go back a bit further. Those in the rear sit fairly upright but there's still plenty of headroom. The boot platform is quite high but there's a fair amount of room for luggage - 419 litres before the back seats are folded down.

Cornering and handling is safe and predicatble without breaking any new ground in terms of dynamics. Four wheel drive is activated at a touch of a button on the centre division between driver and passenger.

Cubbies and bottle holders abound and I liked the easy way in which vehicle information can be accessed via a clearly identified button to the right of the steering wheel, rather than having to negotiate your way around a complex digital system.

The ASX is one of the few cars I've tested in which the official combined economy virtually matches real driving results. My average was 45.7mpg, just 3mpg below the government figure.

FAST FACTS

Mitsubishi ASX 5 2.2D Auto

Price: £28,349

Mechanical: 148bhp, 2,268cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 10.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 48.7

Insurance Group: 23

C02 emissions:152g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 5yrs/62,500 miles

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