Whoops, the mpg figures I drooled over last month have dropped just south of the 50mpg mark. Not that I donít know why. With the youngest children heading back to school and the oldest off to college, thereís been a heavy demand on the ASX for shorter, more frequent drives. And since we live in a postcode that the Grand Old Duke of York would have loved, itís impossible to do any journey without asking the engine to put in some load lugging.
Not that it complains. I did wonder initially if the 113bhp 1.6-litre option in this model might feel over-faced. Yet in situations where you need more grunt I have not, to date, discovered any lack of response from the throttle. Keeping to the giddy heights of 50mpg-plus though, however, may be a tad unrealistic in the context.
There seems to be a certain harmony in professional opinion that this is now the pick of the ASX bunch. As its head-to-head rival, the petrol, also 1590cc and 1.6-litres, is comparatively asthmatic for mid-range torque: opting for our diesel engine bags you an impressive 199lb ft
of torque against the 114lb ft of that petrol alternative. And while the 2.2-litre diesel, with 266lb ft, is obviously going to punch ahead more emphatically, itís only available as an automatic, thus offering a claimed 48.7mpg against this modelís 56.5mpg (or 61.4mpg if you forsake the 4WD button). The data tables can feel like something of a labyrinth, but the bottom line is that this model, head to head against the highs and lows of the ASX range, is surely the sweet spot. Iím easily sold into automatic driving, but the positive, easy gate on this model, mated to that keen-to-please engine, spells a car thatís neatly balanced and actually relatively fun to drive.
But letís not get too carried away. We live in what automotive historians might one day reflect as being the era of Peak Bling. Jaguar Land Rover and Germany alone inundate anyone flaunting enough plastic with a fast-moving production line of luxurious options. The SUV/crossover catwalk is a heavily trafficked place where thereís little room for subtlety. As such, Iíd not say the charms of the ASX are quite sharp-suited auto fashion. Itís not that the ASX is frumpy, but itís certainly not shouty; this is not the choice of wheels for anyone seeking to shock their neighbours. Mitsubishi, if anything, has made the car less eye-catching by softening the masculine schnozzle the car had before and introducing this new ëDynamic Shieldí face. Itís more of a tribute to current design than an attempt to steer it, though if you park up among the endless backdrop of Nissan Qashqais, youíll have no trouble finding your way home.
So the emerging picture so far is of a car that is immensely capable, pleasant to live with and easy on the pocket. As the nights close in, a few long-haul adventures loomÖ hereís to emerging with all smiles and no tears.
Date arrived 26th July 2017
Fuel economy 56.5mpg (combined) 49.7mpg (on test)
The glass roof is a no-brainer for lifting the mood inside. The kids love it.
I’m not sure the restyled nose is going to make the history books of car design.