The mid-engined endurance star is coming. We hope it brings the noise…
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The Top Gear car review:Mitsubishi ASX
What is it like on the road?
Whether your opinion on diesel is that it’s a) a wonderfully efficient method of propulsion, or b) a toxic weapon of mass destruction, it’s safe to say that the 2.2-litre diesel engine on offer here, which has been in the ASX since its previous facelift in 2012, wouldn’t factor in to either the ‘for’ or ‘against’ side of the debate. It’s quite forgettable.
It has a typical last-generation diesel engine. There’s an agricultural sound at both idle and anything resembling acceleration, as well as a noticeable repose between a push on the pedal and a meaningful change in velocity. Once it’s gathered up its skirts, it’s fine for overtaking and the 30mph-to-70mph dash out of a built-up area. No part of the ASX diesel however, really rewards push-on driving.
Interestingly enough, the base-model – known as the ‘2’, with a 1.6-litre petrol that’s been with us for as long as the ASX has – is both lighter and far cheaper, so you feel somehow freer to throw it around like a rental car. Food for thought.
At anything cresting about 40mph, there’s just too much road noise in the cabin to really consider the ASX a true contender as a multi-purpose tool. When its competition has already segued from small-SUV curio to genuine contender for a one-vehicle family, it’s perhaps this more than anything that lets the ASX down. However, if the prospect of hours of white, brown and pink noise (look them up, they’re all real) appeals to you more than the musical selection of your significant other – and we’ve all been there – then maybe it’s more of a USP.
In terms of handling, the steering is predictably gentle, but will feel oddly heavy for anyone used to more Germanic (read: heavy-handed) assistance. In terms of feel through the steering wheel, don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to.
The rear end feels disconcertingly disconnected, which is odd, considering that Mitsubishi uses an expensive – and much-vaunted – five-link suspension system. Over bumps in the motorway or imperfections along a B-road, the simpler MacPherson strut front seems to cope well enough, before the rear unpredictably – and unnervingly – does a kind of lateral shimmy. It doesn’t feel like it’s skipping over bumps, just that there’s a moment of unsettledness that permeates into the cabin and directly across the driver’s derriere.