Fifty miles per gallon. Itís the make-believe level of achievement road testers like me can only dream about. As a seasoned Diesel Car L200 double cab tester, I can tell you with authority that 40mpg is data worthy of righteous self-praise. Unless you dwell in some netherworld of anorak-wearing extremism, true frugality and real-life double cab driving are but passing strangers.
So 52.5mpg? Forgive me while I pinch myself at the news just in from my new ASX. Because I live in a place where they might get grazed by tractors and livestock, the Ed doesnít often let me near ënormalí cars, hence my letting loose in a family crossover lends me empathy for Japanese soldier Hiroo Onada, who stumbled from the jungle in 1974 to discover WW2 was finally over.
Thereís plenty of culture shock here. A car you can park in a normal space, a car that threads through the tunnel lanes of Devon en route to a holiday at Nowhere-on-Sea, a car that carries five without groaning and is relaxed about their luggage to boot?
And did I mention the mpg? My intoxicating achievement was not, I stress, through the kind of ultra-miling antics that generate a tailback of hatred. No, it came about while my mind was elsewhere: aside from the holiday trip to Devonís forgotten East Prawle peninsula, I have also been endlessly researching and driving, on an apparently impossible quest to find a decent VW camper (a subject worthy of a pull-out supplement). This has given me good reason to get intimate with the navigation system, the hands-free Bluetooth and the radio. They are all dandy, even if I continue to wonder why DAB radio is vaunted over FM when the latter might suffer occasional fluff where DAB goes silent, invariably at a crucial moment in the Archers. Iím sure Mr Onada would hate this too!
Itís early days, but this is proving to be a well-planned, do-it-all, family machine. The manual six-speed ëbox mated to this, the smaller but capable diesel option, feels fluid, precise and well-spaced ñ sixth is particularly tall, and any guilt you may feel for not reaching it on our overcrowded roads will not, it seems, trigger a day of reckoning at the pumps. Handling is good in the sense of being competent, if not as sporty as some might demand. (Iíd counsel caution if you intend to barrel through a roundabout at high speed; barrel will be the operative word.) Road noise on the motorway is far more evident than conversation from the engine, but overall, this is a calm and collected place to hang out, driving or not.
Level 4 trim, being penultimate, doesnít skimp on spoils and not least of these are a mood-lifting glass roof, with single-push headlining retraction, heated seats, a seven-inch touchscreen for all those multimedia options and a neck-saving reverse camera. Any negatives? Tablet-addicted passengers might bemoan the lack of rear USB charging ports (which are spec level 5 fare). And beyond such specifics, I guess that the ASX, albeit now freshened-up with the family Dynamic Shield front, tweaked seats, and shark fin aerial, is not going to stop the traffic for ingenious design and gobsmacking invention. Month one suggests itís a car that slips comfortably into the crossover herd, bereft as it is of weird rubber airbumps, insectoid light clusters and tattooed paintwork. If it were a party animal, the ASX is the one helping to tidy up spent glasses and checking the wineís not going to run out. Itís safe, steady and, unless the road to 2018 disagrees, predictable.
And hooray for that. Mitsubishi claims this modelís capable of 61.4mpg; cynic or not, I suspect a lack of exaggeration. Even with four-wheel-drive engaged through Devonís sclerotic lanes and gulches, it shocked me. Stand by for more surprises to come.
Date arrived 26th July 2017
Fuel economy Urban/extra urban/combined) | 50.4/60.1/56.5mpg
Despite its volume and 4WD ability, this is no derv guzzler.
Having done away with the old twist dial, the new 4WD button’s easy to activate – beware of accidental activation.