Some cars are so instantly recognisable that they come under the heading of ‘one of those.’ Others can be filed under the heading of ‘what’s that?’ The latter description probably applies to the Mitsubishi ASX.
It’s not a car which sells in vast quantities, and its maker has a slightly under-the-radar image, but when I borrowed one for a trip to the West Country I started to notice that there are quite a few of them knocking about.
The thing has been on the market since 2010???, and I was trying it because the ASX has been given a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ visual makeover, and in the version I drove, a newly minted 1.6 diesel engine, taking over from a 1.8.
Offering a mix of people carrier and 4×4 styling and dynamics (some versions are all-wheel-drive), its makers see it as a rival to cars like the Nissan Qashqai, Hyundai i35 and Skoda Yeti, which in their way are all different from each other.
The ASX is perhaps less distinctive looking than any of them, but it’s unthreateningly good looking nonetheless, and had some clever design features including light, ding resistant plastic front wings. It also had regenerative braking, which has nothing to do with its looks, but does make it more efficient.
I spent a week with a two-wheel-drive ZC-M (and I have no idea what ‘ZC-M’ stands for). On paper it had rather good emissions and economy figures of 61.4mpg and 119g/km of C02, and being in the current ‘C’ car tax band it would cost £30 a year to tax, and nothing at all in the first year.
It’s a nice thing to use, with a high seating position so you can look over walls and into people’s gardens. The ride is a bit jiggly at low speeds but smooths out on the move. The engine seems to take its cue form this, being a little harsh at low speeds but otherwise commendably unobtrusive. This is a relaxed car on motorways, with plenty of go to get past other vehicles.
As for equipment, the ASX features hill hold, an emergency stop signal system, parking sensors, keyless entry, and Xenon headlamps -a sat nav and reversing camera would have been nice. This is a thoroughly engineered vehicle that perhaps hasn’t lingered in the memory, but despite this would fit very comfortably into a lot of people’s lives, including mine.