Final fling facelift for ASX

A new facelift brings a new face – and it’s the last round of change for a popular small Mitsubishi


Not so much new as the last refresh of an old favourite that has been with us since 2010 – that’s the updated ASX now coming on sale.

Mitsubishi has given its compact crossover a last rejig, signalled most obviously with it taking the dynamic shield front design that brings it in line with the rest of the brand’s SUV family.

The new look might be relatively fleeting, however, as the parent brand has already outlined that a completely new replacement car is already well into development and will likely be seen as early as next year, though New Zealand on-sale in 2018 is more probable.

The new model is very likely set to be smaller than the current offer an intentional move because the brand’s sports utility strategy is expected to focus on delivering another family member.

This will be an all-new mid-size SUV that will push the next-generation Outlander  previewed by the Grand Tourer GT-PHEV at the recent Paris motor show and also expected to be seen, in production form in 2018 - up into the large-SUV segment.

These ideas were first aired by the company at the New York motor show back in April, when a high-up also suggested the brand’s future is so SUV-centric that a host of crossovers will ultimately replace its orthodox passenger models.

For Kiwis, that’s the death warrant for the ageing Lancer, which remains popular despite comfortably being the oldest car in its class. Mitsubishi Motors New Zealand has said it is set to stay for a couple more years but has also admitted, on numerous occasions, that a direct replacement is unlikely.

The eX Concept prototype (below) that Mitsubishi showed at the Geneva motor show is commonly held to be a concept for the future ASX.

Each SUV will offer electrification, cementing Mitsubishi’s growing global reputation as a leader in low-emissions crossovers, as witnessed by the Outlander PHEV.

There is still no word on the future of the ageing full-sized Pajero, whose local role has basically been adopted by the Triton ute-derived Pajero Sport, especially in seven-seater form.

Meantime, there’s the update or rthe current line, which represents in, four updated models that are set, says MMNZ head of sales and marketing strategy Daniel Cook, set to restore interest in this car.

“The new ASX exudes a street-smart attitude, delivering style and performance at exceptional value,” says Mr Cook.

“It certainly looks the part and is packed with innovative technology for smarter, safer driving. As a compact and comfortable crossover, ASX broadens driver appeal across our range and we believe it will win over plenty of new fans.”

Available as a 2WD petrol or 4WD diesel, with XLS or VRX spec, the updatedASX – which MMNZ has chosen to identify as a 2017 model - makes its biggest impact up front, where gloss black and silver paintwork is offset with chrome detailing on either side.

Daylight running lamps are implemented and 18 inch alloys are standard. Another identifier: a rear fin antennae replaces the standard aerial of previous models. There’s also a modern new key fob design.

Inside, there are revised functionality and new graphics on the 6.1 inch touch-screen that doubles as a reversing camera for extra assistance.

Passengers will ride in comfort too, with redesigned rear seating featuring ergonomic concave shaping, increased bolster height and bolstered corners.

The XLS has a black fabric with red highlight and the VRX has black leather upholstery, plus a panoramic glass roof.

Safety features include seven airbags (driver, driver’s knee, passenger, side and curtain), Hill Start Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Active Traction Control, Active Stability Control and Multi-mode Anti-lock Braking System.

SmartBrake is another innovative feature that comes as standard and is there ‘just in case’. If a driver unintentionally hits the accelerator as well as the brake in an emergency, SmartBrake registers that an error has been made and puts full focus on the braking system.

Four wheel drive models also feature 4WD Auto, which adjusts the vehicle’s traction system to suit road conditions, improving grip and enabling smoother turning. 4WD can also be locked for maximum traction in the stickiest of situations.

2WD XLS and VRX models come with a 2.0 L DOHC MIVEC petrol engine coupled with six-speed CVT INVECS III belt-driven transmission, delivering excellent fuel efficiency of 7.4L/100km.

4WD models feature a 2.3L intercooled turbo diesel that produces a huge 366Nm and a punchy 112kW. The six-speed automatic is designed to make the most of all that torque by matching the gears perfectly for optimum performance – delivering impressive economy of 6.0L per 100km.

The diesel option also has superior grunt when it comes to towing capacity – 1400kg braked and 750kg unbraked, versus 1300kg and 750kg on petrol models.

Pricing starts at $29,990 but that’s limited-time provision.