IN the world of compact crossovers, Mitsubishi considers it has all the answers with the ASX.
Designers have modelled the car to be individual, innovative, versatile and capable - designed in fact to fit its owners' lives like a glove.
It comes with a choice of lightweight low-environmental impact engines, a choice of two- or all-wheel drive, top-of-the-class safety features and somewhat edgy styling.
Because of its packaging it is difficult to put up a direct competitor but it can be considered as a rival for vehicles such as the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Qashqai.
There are four trim levels - ASX 2, ASX 3, ASX 4 and ASX 5 - and even the entry-level ASX 2 model is loaded with specification such as alloy wheels, air conditioning, leather steering wheel and Mitsubishi - Active Stability and Traction Control (M-ASTC). This model year saw the addition of Mitsubishi's "Dynamic Shield" front bumper plus shark fin antenna.
The premium ASX 5, as driven here, was launched in July 2016 with a host of value-added extras, including a Nappa leather interior in a choice of colours, heated rear seats, twin rear USB charging ports, front and rear blue LED mood lighting, LED interior lights and ASX 5 front-door entry guards.
Under the bonnet is the 2.2 diesel linked to an automatic transmission.
It is aimed at those who want to trade up from a hatchback and step into the world of the SUV.
It certainly looks the part and is supremely comfortable to drive, with a commanding driving position and handling qualities worthy of a much more expensive vehicle. The test version was an all-wheel-drive version with gave this supremely versatile choice yet another string to its bow.
Those with towing requirements will be drawn in too, and it's the perfect vehicle for anyone with a sporty, outdoors approach to life.
Of particular interest is the "Dynamic Shield" grille which merges with a sculpted bonnet featuring a double bulge. This serves the dual purpose of contributing to better pedestrian safety and making the front end of the car more visible to the driver, improving manoeuvrability around town.
The low and balanced silhouette and bulging wheel arches creates that difficult to achieve ‘tension effect' that gives the impression the car is in motion even at a standstill, and this gives the car a definite visual advantage.
The well-equipped ASX 5 features a factory-fitted Mitsubishi Multi Communication System which includes a seveninch high-definition touch-screen display, satellite navigation, DAB and FM/AM/LW radio plus a reversing camera.
It is certainly a well put-together vehicle but the rather loud slam of the door suggests that it still has a little way to go before it equals or eclipses German standards.
The punchy 2.2 diesel which can deliver up to 48.7mpg is linked to an optimised version of Mitsubishi's AWC (All Wheel Control) - an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive (4WD) system that offers the driver a choice of three modes to match traction control to the driver's preferences or to the driving conditions.
The centre differential has an electronically controlled coupling that uses feed-forward control to determine the optimum front/rear torque split from sensor data on throttle opening, vehicle speed, road conditions and driver inputs.
In two-wheel-drive(2WD) mode, torque is delivered only to the front wheels to enable nimble driving and better fuel economy. In 4WD Auto mode, torque transfer is controlled to allow progression and steering on dirt tracks and/or adverse onroad conditions (from 98 per cent front /2 per cent rear to 50 per cent front /50 per cent rear).
Finally, in 4WD Lock mode, approximately 1.5 times the torque of 4WD Auto mode is transferred to the rear wheels to improve traction on poor road surfaces, giving powerful 4WD performance when needed.