It’s been a hefty month of ASX helming. Weíre now into the life stage beyond which all parents whoíve survived might offer heaps of pity: choosing a university. Already Iíve steered to Manchester, while Cardiff and one or two institutions on the south coast beckon. Our 18-year-old keeps mentioning Edinburgh University, too, much to my terror. Nevertheless, my simple advice to anyone prevaricating over a new car purchase is this: drive the thing to Timbuktu, or thereabouts. Nothing teaches you the stark reality of your intended future transport so much as an epic day in the saddle. Itís been my road to bitter disappointment for many a car that might otherwise have earned hasty accolades.
So whatís bubbling up as legit crit? If you spent your week driving the ASX atop France or Germanyís comparatively unblemished surfaces, youíd probably not notice that the underbelly could do with extra sound insulation. While the engineís machinations are nicely muted, serrations of asphalt and eroded tarmac can spell a compromise to the quality of the drive here in the UK. Pilgrimages to academia also entrain a bigger question any family will ask of their prospective SUV: can it roll its sleeves up and save us the cost of hiring a man with a van?
Iíd preface any concern over the ASXís ability to impersonate any van with the obvious advice that larger slices from the SUV pie are available, should you rate capacity over stress-free negotiation of Tescoís car park. Like a Renault Kadjar or a SEAT Ateca, youíd probably be after an ASX because none of the many bigger rivals, from Nissanís Qashqai and beyond to the likes of Skodaís Kodiaq, has the same nifty appeal. Nevertheless, that list for furnishing student digs would get a severe trim here. Back seat raised, the 419 litres of space might not beat the Qashqaiís 430 litres, but the seat-lowered space of 1,169 litres, trounces such options as Suzukiís Vitara, and is therefore still a prize winner. Perhaps itís not surprising then that the compact ASX also works hard to remain on the right side of your motoring budget. Shown longer-distance days, itíll sip its modest way with little threat to venture below 50mpg. And that, when you consider its peppy attitude, is some achievement.
Prolonged drives also add a sharper critical focus to the ASXís knobs and togs. If the ASX was a hotel, the Trip advisor feedback would be pretty good. But we never bother to read the reams of praise and click straight on the one possibly deranged consumer who dished out one star. What would invite such mean-spirited whingeing here? My moneyís on the navigation system feature that insists on split-screening the map the moment you get on the motorway, thereby reducing the map itself to a postage stamp (and preventing scale changes). Try as I have, I find no way to remove this (personally) utterly unwanted panel of junction info overkill. All software hacks appreciated.
Date arrived 26th July 2016
Fuel economy 56.5mpg (combined) 51.5mpg (on test)
More room in here, seats up, than a Qashqai can muster. Bravo ASX!
The navigation system reverts to like-it-or-lump-it split-screen mode on motorway stretches. I lump it!