Mitsubishi ASX driven

* Nissan Qashqai rival * On sale from July * Will cost from £14,999-£22,049...

Mitsubishi ASX driven

What is it?

The ASX crossover is an unashamed rival for the Nissan Qashqai, but its also probably Mitsubishis most saleable car to date.

Although its based on the same platform as the Outlander 4x4 and shares 70% of the same mechanical components, the ASX is a good deal shorter, so it should appeal to urbanites who crave the looks of a 4x4 but dont want any of the big-car drawbacks.

Whats it like inside?

Despite the top-and-tail approach, theres still a good-sized cabin thatll easily take five people, and a decent boot to help cope with all the usual gubbins associated with family life.

Early impressions from our time in pre-production cars suggest that the interior plastics arent quite as good as those in the Qashqai and the controls arent as precise, but its still a decent effort from a company better known for it outrageous rally car derivatives and no-nonsense pick-up trucks.

Whats it like to drive?

It's not the most dynamic crossover weve ever driven, with a fair bit of body lean when tackling even the mildest corners. If you value comfort above ultimate control, though, the ASX could be right up your street the supple suspension and big balloon tyres make it particularly effective at absorbing ruts and bumps.

The two-wheel-drive, 115bhp 1.6-litre petrol model will be the most popular, but Mitsubishi is making a big deal about its all-new, variable-valve timing 1.8-litre 147bhp diesel engine, which will be available with two- or four-wheel drive.

Despite the impressive-sounding technical details and economy it averages 51.4mpg the engine doesnt seem any quieter or more flexible than the 2.0-litre diesel in the Qashqai.

What do I get for my money?

All ASXs are well equipped, with even the entry-level models getting alloy wheels, air-conditioning, keyless entry, engine stop-start technology, stability control and seven airbags. Range-topping cars feature leather seats, sat-nav, Bluetooth, USB input and a reversing camera.