We’re nearing the end of our relationship and, as the clichÈ goes, I wonder if any frustrations with the ASX are a case of ìitís not you, itís meî. Truth is, a thing with another vehicle has polluted my feelings towards this faithful crossover. And I donít mean some younger, shapelier model. True, Iíve been sneaking out with an Audi R8 V10 this week, but thatís been for the sake of domestic harmony: my sonís been gnawing my leg off all year to see if I can get hold of Ali-Aís car (never heard of him? Get a YouTube connection).
And if the Audi hasnít corrupted me, neither has any other new offering. No, itís our 1984 Volkswagen T25 Transporter, aka Betty. Iíve had to spend a lot of time preparing her for winter hibernation. For which I mean going to scary mechanics and obliterating the bank balance. Betty is a joy, in those rare moments when youíre out on the road and everything feels like itís holding together. But she has a gearbox that Fred Flintstone would no doubt baulk at.
And maybe I ought to see my GP, because I think Iíve now got truckerís elbow. Which leads to all sorts of quandary in the ASX. My chief area of incompetence? Execution of a smooth shift from fourth to fifth. Getting third as a result is not, with the car loaded with children, drinks and loose electronica, a good look. Iíve played with the sequence and find nothing wrong. Itís definitely me, even if there are other ASX drivers out there posting similar feedback. The group think is that you need to get towards 20,000 miles before cog harmony sets in. ASX owners, just get a grip.
But having also driven through the eye of yet another Christmas, an event which appears to entrain increasing cubic meterage of stuff each year, I think the ASX is probably just a little bit too bijou for a family of six. Again, see, itís not you, ASX: you swallowed a B&Q Christmas tree, all five feet of it, with little carping. Okay, I had to leave a child behind with customer services, but there are worse parents out there.
Loaded or not though, itís all going very smoothly post that warranty-dictated 7,000-mile first service. Iíve spotted another weeny reason to groan about that panoramic sunroof though: despite the fancy runway-light style LEDs that fringe it, the glass area spells no place to put an overhead light. So, when trying to extricate kids in the dark (and be sure they havenít been left at B&Q), youíre very much in the dark. Panoramic sunroofs, therefore, are not all theyíre cracked up to be. So, too, Iíd say ñ at the risk of heresy among my colleagues ñ is a gearstick. Weíre clinging onto the manly romance of a stick-shift in the knowledge that future cars wonít feature them, but my dream ASX, Iím happy to admit, would have P R N D and a metal roof.
Date arrived 26th July 2017
Fuel economy 56.5mpg (combined) 51.1mpg (on test)
Heated seats were a mad excess a few years ago, but now they’re a valued extra.
Manual gearing. I’d rather use my left arm to see if I can ever get the DAB radio to tune in.