It’s that time of the year again, another school year is underway, and the Mitsubishi ASX was my weapon of choice as I prepared to take on the ‘car park mafia’. For those yet to experience the pleasure of busy drop off zones, dodgy sidewalk parking and heavy handed honkers … a word of warning: it’s a battlefield.
Though the Mitsubishi ASX was originally launched in 2010, the model has been revamped for 2014. There are six variants, and I had the 2WD petrol CVT auto for a few days to find out how it handled the hectic school run. With seven airbags, I felt confident I was well prepared for any unforseen incidents.
For those with a small family looking for a compact SUV with all the basics covered, this offering from the Japanese company puts forward a case for consideration despite not being one of the cheapest in the segment. The ASX has a decent amount of legroom and head clearance for rear passengers, and there’s plenty of boot space for all the school bags, sporting equipment and musical instruments. The rear bench seat has been reshaped for the new model, offering extra comfort and support.
Other updates for the 2014 model year include 17-inch alloy wheels, a reversing camera and 6.1-inch touchscreen audio system with Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and a chrome grille garnish for the entry-level ASX. If you want to spend a bit more money, other variants come with a 7-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, roof rails and a panoramic sunroof.
With pricing also cut back slightly, the manufacturer’s recommended retail price for the ASX 2WD is $26,990. The manual is yours for $2000 less, while the high-grade ASX Aspire diesel 4WD auto will set you back $36,490 before on-road costs are added.
From an environmental perspective, it’s 110kW/197Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine has been fine-tuned reducing emissions compared to previous models. The suspension has also been tweaked to improve the ride and handling.
One feature I particularly like is the centre console bin. It has a dual opening mechanism: one button will open the lid to reveal a shallow tray while the other button lifts the lid and the tray, providing access to the deeper console bin.
The instrument cluster in the dash is clean and simple making it easy to keep an eye on your speed.
As many of us can attest to, school zones around 9am on weekdays are bedlam. The ASX handled the stop-start traffic well, with responsive braking. The CVT auto seems to unintentionally provide acceleration control; it’s a bit slower to get going from a stop, which is certainly safer around kids and schools. Though other parents seem to have no qualms jumping gutters, I didn’t put the ASX to that test. I’d rather not be fined or get parked in.
After managing to find a spot to pull in and drop my daughter to school, I then patiently navigated through the remainder of the maelstrom and returned home. It was at this point that I had a near miss, but fortunately the ASX remains unscathed. I hit the button to tuck the side mirrors away and reversed into my narrow carport, which is surrounded by a 5ft fence. After locking the vehicle, I remembered I’d left my phone in the console bin.
Unlocking the car also automatically triggers the side mirrors to return to the driving position. Luckily I’d ended up exactly in the centre, and the mirrors missed the fence by a centimetre or so on each side. Over the course of the next few days I was careful not to park too close to pillars in the shopping centre car park, either.
If I had to choose one word to describe the ASX based on this experience it would be polite. It’s polite in its styling and handling, and for some reason seems to inspire other drivers to be more polite than I’m used to in Sydney. In those few days I had more waves to say ‘thanks for letting me cut you off’, ‘thanks for not hitting me when I stepped out on to the road’, and ‘thanks for waiting while I double check the entire contents of my child’s bag while stopped in the middle of the road’, than I’ve ever had.
You can read our technical reviews of the Mitsubishi ASX below: