2015 Mitsubishi ASX 1.6 SOHC 2WD review
The ASX has struggled to stand out in a small SUV class brimming with competitive rivals. Does this new 1.6 diesel model change that? We drive it on UK roads to find out...
The Mitsubishi ASX range has just been updated, with a new 112bhp four-cylinder 1.6-litre diesel joining the range before the all-new next-generation model arrives in 2016.
Other changes include a trim rebadging, with entry-level models now named ZC, mid-spec ZC-M, and range-toppers adopting the ZC-H name. We’ve driven the new diesel engine in mid-spec ZC-M trim to see if it is now the engine of choice for the ASX.
What’s the 2015 Mitsubishi ASX like to drive?
It’s a new engine, but there are familiar annoyances with this version of the ASX. Refinement remains the biggest issue, with the boomy diesel engine causing a substantial amount of noise in the cabin from 2000rpm and above. Even with the extra ratio in the six-speed manual gearbox, the noise is very tiresome at motorway speeds when road noise is a big issue as well.
Refinement aside, the engine has a decent amount of flexibility in gear, and the torque reserves are generous, too, but this 1.6-litre diesel isn’t quick. You won’t have too many issues with its power output around town, but when you plant your foot down you’ll notice an uneven delivery, with a lull in power before it surges in around at 2000rpm.
Fuel economy is good but not outstanding. Our True MPG testers recorded a respectable real-world 49.3mpg from this engine, and it sits in tax band C with CO2 emissions of 119g/km.
Other small SUV rivals offer better figures than the ASX. The 1.5-litre diesel in the Nissan Qashqai - around £2000 more than the ASX - has a claimed 74.3mpg and is road tax free thanks to its 99g/km emissions, while the 1.6-litre GreenLine engine in the Skoda Yeti matches the ASX for emissions, and has a claimed 61.4mpg. The Skoda is also better to drive than the Mitsubishi and is only a few hundred pounds more expensive in a similarly well-equipped spec.
The ASX suffers from numb-feeling steering, but the soft suspension setup is good for absorbing bumps around town. However, that does mean it has quite a bit of vertical body movement over fast roads that aren’t perfectly flat.
What’s the 2015 Mitsubishi ASX like inside?
Our mid-range ZC-M spec car comes with air-con, seven airbags and keyless entry and start – available on all models as standard – and adds cruise control, automatic lights, rear parking sensors, heated seats, 18in alloys, DAB radio and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
It’s well specced then, but the interior is rather cheap-feeling. The plastic fascia on the dashboard, for example, doesn’t match the plusher interiors of the Qashqai and Yeti, while the DAB radio is tricky to operate with the fiddly dials and small buttons.
The heated seats are a nice luxury to include, but the button to operate them is located down the side of each of the front seats right next to the seat belt buckle.
This engine is only available in ZC-M or range-topping ZC-H with AWD, but we think you're better off sticking with this generously specced model rather than opting for more luxuries with a stiff price increase of more than £4000.
The ASX offers an elevated driving position with good visibility out of the cabin. The ride is fairly comfortable, too, but space is the biggest asset to the Mitsubishi. A boot capacity of 442 litres with the rear seats in place trumps the Qashqai and the Yeti, but with the seats down the ASX’s rivals offer more room.
Should I buy one?
The ASX is worthy of consideration against other established small SUVs, and this engine - with the lowest CO2 emissions of the range - is the one to opt for if you're a company car buyer. Its refinement may be disappointing, but its fuel economy is impressive.
The 1.6-litre petrol continues to be the best way into the range for most private buyers. It’s almost £2000 cheaper than this diesel but less efficient and still unrefined. Ultimately, though, both the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti are better small SUVs and are available for a similar price.
What Car? says...
Mitsubishi ASX 1.6 ZC-M 2WD