It’s still easy to be reminded of chunky Shoguns and rapid Lancer Evolutions when thoughts turn to Japanese car maker Mitsubishi.
Back in 2010 the firm introduced a compact SUV in a bid to grab some of the action in, at the time, an evolving market sector.
Fast forward to today and the ASX has been given a subtle makeover and costs a little less than before, as it attempts to take a slice of the increasingly popular compact “soft-roader” SUV market.
At launch the ASX’s appearance aped that of the now departed Colt supermini, but the slightly angular look does much to give the ASX an “edge”.
It’s the same inside, with the ASX’s cabin clearly at the more durable end of the scale.
But that’s about as rough and tumble as the ASX gets.
Mitsubishi’s latest updates include a greater level of sound proofing to boost cabin refinement, while the standard specification has been given a welcome uplift. There’s now Bluetooth connectivity across the range, for example.
Along with the existing 1.6-litre 115bhp petrol and 1.8-litre 114bhp diesel engines, Mitsubishi has introduced a six-speed automatic transmission option tied to the larger 2.2-litre 148bhp from its Outlander model.
This flagship combo also comes with full-time four-wheel drive – an option on the 1.8 diesel – while the rest of the range ships in wallet and city-friendly front-wheel drive.
On the road the 2.2-litre ASX proves to be a brisk and refined performer.
You sit higher than in a conventional family hatchback but there’s very little in the way of pitch and roll when on the move.
While the changes might be subtle, Mitsubishi’s engineers have focused on the things that matter. A more refined cabin ambience and, whether you tow or drive mainly in the city, the inclusion of an auto gearbox are both welcome attributes.
Lastly, price reductions plus a welcome uplift of the standard specification ensure that Mitsubishi’s ASX is easily capable of taking the fight to the competition.