When Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) first introduced the ASX in year 2010, I can’t help but wonder, where does this ‘thing’ belong to? It’s neither a Lancer nor a Pajero. A ‘crossover’, they call it. Fast forward a few years, MMM started its first assembly line this year at Tan Chong Motor’s Segambut plant producing locally assembled Mitsubishi ASX 2.0 2WD and 4WD.
|Name||Mitsubishi ASX 2.0 (CKD) 2WD / 4WD|
|Engine||1,998cc 16-Valve inline-4 DOHC MIVEC (4B11) (150hp, 197Nm)|
|Transmission||INVECS-III CVT with 6-step Sports Mode (W1CJCA) / (F1CJCA)|
|Price||RM 114,743.50 / RM 128,879.50|
The ASX was first launched in Malaysia a few year back as CBU units from Japan, selling at RM139,980 (2WD). Early this year, MMM announced a massive price reduction as they roll out their first locally-assembled ASX. With such attractive price positioning and confidence in build quality MMM reckons the ASX CKD can win the hearts of Malaysian buyers.
So they invited local auto journalists for a trip to Port Dickson in both 2WD and the newly introduced 4WD variant. Through smooth long highways and beautiful windy country roads, we surely have tested them all in this 5-hour long journey.
The appearance is surely interesting which tickles my curiosity in terms of car segment relevance. Think ‘urban driving‘, it then makes so much sense! A Lancer would be too low and a Pajero would be too big. Its just-right size and height is what urbanites are looking for. In other words, you get lots of space and you won’t get bullied leh!
In terms of build dimension, its exterior length and width figures are smaller than the Honda CR-V and Subaru XV. However, wheelbase in the ASX is longer than both contenders, which means more space for occupants. Not by much, but impressive nonetheless.
Lighting up the way is a pair of halogen projector headlamp with leveling, and fog lamps as well. The 4WD variant gets a chrome grille and a little chrome bezel around the fog lamp; which is a good way to differentiate both models. It also gets larger wheels, 17-inch whereas the 2WD gets 16-inch wheels.
Just like any other Malaysian, getting into a Malaysian-assembled vehicle does invite a preconceived notion. You know what I’m talking about; excellent workmanship, top class material, something like that. In reality, localization can sometimes be a expensive trade-off with quality and goodies too. Well, this trip proves otherwise.
Not only its spacious, it is also very comfortable and everything is surprisingly well built. Both ASX variants are equipped with leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, keyless entry system, reverse camera, and a 8-inch touch screen audio system with GPS and Bluetooth connectivity.
The 4WD variant gets a little extra such as push start button, security window tint, cruise control, panoramic glass roof and best of all, magnesium-alloy paddle shifters! They look and feel good…
The raised sitting position makes getting in and out of the cabin real easy hence a plus point for female occupants, or old folks for that matter. Wheelbase is slightly longer than its nearest competitor and you do get extra space from the already large rear compartment, thanks to the 60:40 rear seat folding configuration. A solid good yay for urbanites’ occasional weekend furniture hunting.
Both variants share the same 2.0-liter 4-cylinder MIVEC engine, but they are mated with a different CVT gearbox with 6-step Sports mode due to different power delivery configuration; 2WD and 4WD. Maximum power output is at 150hp and maximum torque at 197Nm.
When it comes to safety, number of airbags is important for us Malaysians, right? There are three in total, driver, front passenger and driver’s knee. Not too bad. Both variants are fitted with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution) and Brake Override System.
However, safety features such as Active Stability Control, Traction Control and Hill Start Assist are only available in the 4WD.
We took off in the 2WD unit from MMM head office in Subang heading towards Cyberjaya where we had halal dim-sum. Looking at the size of it, you might think it’s heavy and clumsy. Well, not at all. It feels light on both steering wheel and throttle, making it easy to drive. But then again, it is lighter in weight as compared to other competitors, at 1,375kg.
Cabin is fitted with the bare necessity with not much to play with. Things became more cheerful once we moved in to the 4WD unit at Cyberjaya. Which is probably the reason why it sells better. Apart from the panoramic glass roof, cruise control, and many more goodies, we get to play with the 4WD function, which we can change between 1) 2WD 2) Auto 4WD 3) locked 4WD, on the fly! I know what you are thinking. No. Can’t really feel then difference between these changes on the highway and windy roads we were on.
Ride is smooth on the highway and it handles windy country road pretty well. The rack and pinion steering wheel is pretty sharp and you do get a slight weighty feel as it tackles bends. The choice of transmission may not be popular among auto journalists for its ‘lifeless’ and loud traits.
However, I do believe many who have tried a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gearbox would love the smooth ‘gear change’. Should you feel bored and dozing off, there’s the 6-step Sports Mode for a sporty gear change; via the gear knob in the 2WD and 4WD, or via the ‘magnificent magnesium’-alloy (sorry, can’t help it) paddle shifts in the 4WD. Every up-shift and down-shift on the paddle shifters does feel really good!
Here comes the ‘Big But’. I’m not sure if it’s the heavy load that I’m ferrying (Eddie and Chris) or simply because the power is just insufficient. Especially when there’s a need to pull off a quick over-taking maneuver. It is however more than enough for urban and long distance driving. All in all, power output is adequate, but maybe MMM can consider the 2.4-liter Lancer Sportback engine? Just saying. Or even better, turbocharging? Nah, just saying.
IS IT FOR YOU?
So, is this car for you? Well, if you are looking for an urban mobile for everyday use around town, pack your family in for balik kampung trips, weekend shopping, or even to avoid getting road-bullied, then yes! However, if you expect a racy and sportier side of Mitsubishi, then this may not be the right car for you.
Here’s our usual table of comparison where I’ve put the ASX against the common Honda CR-V and the not so common Subaru XV. As mentioned earlier, the ASX is slighly smaller but it provides more space thanks to its a longer wheelbase. In terms of power, they are comparable.
|Mitsubishi ASX 2.0 2WD / 4WD
||Honda CR-V 2.0 i-VTEC
||Subaru XV 2.0i
|Type||16-Valve inline-4 DOHC MIVEC (4B11), Petrol engine||SOHC 4 Cylinder 16 Valve i-VTEC||DOHC 16-Valve,
4-Cylinder, Boxer, Petrol Engine
|Transmission||INVECS-III CVT with 6-step Sports Mode (F1CJCA / W1CJCA)||Electronically Controlled 5-speed Automatic||Lineartronic CVT|
|Type||Rack & Pinion (Power Assisted)||Rack and Pinion with Electric Power Steering (EPS)||Electrical power-assisted rack and pinion|
|Front||MacPherson strut with coil springs and stabiliser||MacPherson strut||MacPherson strut / Multilink|
|Rear||Multi-link Coil with stabiliser||Double Wishbone||Double Wishbone|
|Front||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc|
|Rear||Solid disc||Solid disc||Solid disc|
|TYRE & WHEELS|
|Tyres||215/65R16 / 215/60R17||225 / 65 R17||225/55 R17|
|Rims||16″ x 6.5J Alloy / 17″ x 6.5J Alloy||17″ Alloy||17″ Alloy|
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS|
|Max Kerb weight||kg||1,475||1,540||1,430|
|Luggage Capacity (VDA)||L||440||589||564|
|Tank Capacity L||63 / 60||–||60|
|0 – 100km/h||sec||9.6||12.7||10.7|
|PRICE||RM||114,743.50 / 128,879.50||143,924.70||152,255|
WILL I BUY IT?
Yes! I would definitely buy it for my (imaginative) teenage daughter. She can drive to college and back safely, I can use it to ferry my dogs to the vet, my wife can use it to transport Swedish furniture back, and she won’t get bullied on the road. Most importantly, the ASX is a good buy.