Considering its size, we would expect more performance from the 1.6-litre petrol. Although it is adequate and relatively flexible, the pace it delivers is no better than a Seat Ateca 1.0 TSI or Nissan Qashqai 1.2 DIG-T. The 1.6-litre diesel, which is available with both two and four-wheel drive, turns the tables feeling much stronger relative to the competition. It’s possessed with a broad spread of torque that starts low down in the rev range that makes the ASX feel quicker and more flexible in every-day use than an Ateca 1.6 TDI or Qashqai 1.5 dCi. Then there’s the 2.2-litre diesel engine. It’s available only with a six-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive, and provides a detectable boost in low-rev muscle over the 1.6, although outright performance isn’t that much stronger.
Mitsubishi ASX ride comfort
In general the ASX rides pretty well, to the extent that you’ll find it more comfortable more of the time than a Vauxhall Mokka X. It’s pretty good at smoothing over sharp-edged bumps, such as large potholes, without thudding heavily, but it’s not perfect. There’s a little more float over dips and crests than the superbly composed Ateca, and more fidget across worn-out town roads than the Nissan Qashqai, which remains the car to beat if a smooth ride is top of your wish list.
Mitsubishi ASX handling
There are plenty of qualities that should make the ASX a decent handling car. The suspension set up, for example, manages to check body roll better than a Vauxhall Mokka X, but remains supple enough to allow the ASX to keep to your chosen line, even on heavily undulating roads.
But the aspect that lets it down is the steering. It’s light enough for town duties and reasonably accurate if you’re driving slowly, but begin to press on and it gives you no confidence about what the front wheels are up to, and suffers terrible kick-back that causes the steering wheel to squirm away in your hands.
Grip levels are reasonable, but the front end will wash wide earlier than it will in the Ateca. For those that regularly trundle along muddy tracks or need a car that will cope with winter snow, the four-wheel drive versions add valuable extra traction.
Mitsubishi ASX refinement
The ASX is nowhere near as refined as the best-in-class rivals, such as the Nissan Qashqai. In the diesels you are subjected to excessive boom and clatter, particularly from cold, while the petrol engine sounds strained and thrashy under hard acceleration. Plenty of road and wind noise intrude at motorway speeds, too.
The gearshift on manual versions has a positive gate that makes it easy to find the right gear, but its long throw and slightly notchy action make it less satisfying to use than the a Seat Ateca’s. Both the clutch and brakes have a confident feel, which makes smooth driving in stop-start traffic easy.
This petrol version is available only on the entry-level 2 and 3 trims, with front-wheel drive and a five-speed manual gearbox – there’s no automatic ‘box or four-wheel drive. Considering its size, we would expect more performance from the 1.6-litre petrol. Although it is adequate and relatively flexible, the pace it delivers is no better than a Seat Ateca 1.0 TSI or Nissan Qashqai 1.2 DIG-T, while both those offer better CO2 emissions and average fuel consumption. We’d go for the punchier 1.6-litre diesel instead.
Our pick 1.6 diesel
Easily the best engine in the ASX range, and available with both two- and four-wheel drive depending on which trim you opt for, but relative to its rivals, far from perfect. Refinement is very poor, while fuel economy and CO2 emissions aren’t a match for an equivalent Nissan Qashqai. On the plus side it pulls well from low revs with enough flexibility in its mid-range to keep up with traffic without the need to keep changing into lower gears.
This diesel engine is available only with a six-speed automatic gearbox, four-wheel drive and on the top two trims, making it a pricey option. The bigger engine has a bit more grunt compared with the 1.6 diesel, but performance isn’t that much stronger overall and it’s even less efficient. Unless you really need an auto, we’d suggest going for the smaller diesel engine instead.