Mitsubishi UK wants its ASX compact crossover to do well in 2014, with sales of 6,000 to 8,000 units expected. It’s about time the ASX got the attention it deserved, especially now the range has been revised with higher levels of equipment, lower prices and a new diesel automatic variant.
The introduction of the original model in 2010 was hampered by the strength of the yen. The UK importer and its 110 dealers struggled to find enough margin in the car to market it appropriately and ASX annual sales halved from the 6,000 initially planned.
However, things look more favourable now. Mitsubishi UK plans to give the revitalised ASX a proper push now the yen has weakened. It has enabled it to drop the car’s price by 9% or 10%, depending on the derivative. That makes it cheaper than rivals from Kia and Hyundai and significantly undercuts the segment-leading Nissan Qashqai.
It won’t sell ASX purely on price, however – the latest model has better sound deadening and an improved rear suspension set-up to help road composure, plus better use of soft-touch materials in the cabin. As well as the 115bhp 1.6-litre petrol and 114bhp 1.8-litre turbo-diesel engines from the original model, the ASX range includes a 148bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel with automatic transmission, poached from Mitsubishi’s larger Outlander SUV.
Demand for automatics accounts for about 19% of the SUV segment, said managing director Lance Bradley, so it’s an important addition that will help ASX capture customers from other brands.
The gearbox is a competent six-speed auto that can also be used in manual mode through paddle shifters on the steering column. Customers will also be able to select 4x4 mode by pressing a button, which diverts between 30% and 50% of torque to the rear wheels according to the setting.
The car comes in three specifications, the highest of which, grade 4, is expected to take half of all demand. That comes with a panoramic sunroof, mood lighting, electric front seats with leather upholstery, reversing camera and sat-nav. Grade 4 is standard on the diesel automatic variants.
However even the £14,999 entry ASX, grade 2, has alloys, air-con, seven airbags, Bluetooth, hill start assist and keyless entry.
Thanks partly to the Mitsubishi Service Plan, Bradley said, his dealers are capturing more than 90% of new car buyers for the first three services. For the ASX, these plans are offered at £450 (petrol models) and £650 (diesels).
The ASX is an attractive package, but the challenge remains for Mitsubishi’s marketing department to raise its profile.
What’s been said about the Mitsubishi ASX
Opt for one of the entry-level versions of the 2014 Mitsubishi ASX and you’ll be rewarded with a durable, reliable and competent car that will undercut many of its rivals when it comes to price and total cost of ownership. It’s a safe choice too, with the ASX earning the full five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash testing.