What is it?
The ASX is Mitsubishi's take on the Nissan Juke/Qashqai. It's not as practical as the latter, and hardly as trendy as the former. Exciting it is not, but it has a measure of off-road ability and the ride is comfy. Go for 4WD to make the most of it.
Despite being narrower and only marginally lighter than the Nissan Qashqai, it somehow suffers less from top-heavy lolloping. This is especially noticeable over knobbly speedbumps, where the ASX feels low and car-like rather than lofty and SUV-like.
Two engines are available: a 1.6-litre petrol with 115bhp and a new 1.8-litre DiD with 147bhp - the first ever diesel to get variable valve timing. The upshot is a lower compression ratio, which means the engine's less stressed and can idle at just 600rpm. This is good for the power/efficiency balance. The diesel emits 145g/km CO2, which puts it mid-table in the class emissions league; the equivalent Qashqai betters it with CO2 output of 129g/km. But the ASX has almost a third more power, which seems like a pretty reasonable flipside to the marginally worse emissions. Performance is breezy, which adds to the generally satisfying driving experience.
On the inside
Although they look dimensionally similar, the ASX beats the Nissan Qashqai for roominess. Mitsubishi has put it on exactly the same wheelbase as the larger Outlander SUV, then pruned bits from either end. So at its core is a spacious cabin, with 32 litres more bootspace than the Qashqai.
We'd like to see a more welcoming cabin - Mitsubishi claims the plastics are soft-touch, but they felt about a squidgy as Formica to us.
Thanks to the car's size and SUV aspirations, running costs are more than a standard hatch's. The 1.6 returns 47mpg and emits 139g/km of CO2. Even the diesel 1.8 returns 54.3mpg.