The Mitsubishi ASX continues to be a successful seller for the Japanese brand. The monthly new-car sales figures show it to be consistently in the top three small-SUV bestsellers and the top 10 overall bestselling models.
Its affordable pricing, practicality, and features appeal to many, and buyers don’t seem to mind that the current generation is 10 years old.
However, it received its fourth refresh in 2019, which has given the ASX a more modern appearance, amongst other improvements such as a new engine, larger infotainment screen, and LED lighting to its range.
The 2020 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed is at the top of its range, and comes in front-wheel drive with a 2.4-litre petrol engine matched with a CVT automatic transmission. At $32,990 before on-road costs or on offer for $35,740 drive-away, it has standard features like rear parking sensors with rear cross-traffic alert, rear-view camera, automatic high beam, blind-spot warning, lane-change assist, and lane-departure warning.
Additions on top of those included in the mid-grade LS variant see the Exceed arrive with a 2.4-litre MIVEC petrol engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, panoramic roof, Rockford Fosgate premium sound system, and leather-appointed seats with front seat heating.
The facelift has given the front a more muscular appearance, taking inspiration from the Triton ute.
Aside from the indicators, all exterior lighting is now LED, and there’s a fair amount of chrome trim, some big enough to see your reflection in. However, there are fake vents galore at the rear, side and front, with some fake carbon-fibre-look trim at the rear that doesn’t add much at all.
The only optional extras on the ASX are premium paint, with this vehicle sporting its hero Sunshine Orange colour at a cost of $690.
Stepping inside and the cabin isn’t anything amazing to behold, with no fancy door trim angles and trim. Everything is simple and straight.
The front heated seats are a blessing in winter, but can take up to four minutes for you to start feeling any heat. Meanwhile, the seat comfort could be more supportive, as the back is too flat and the base is too short.
A manual handbrake does eat into potential central storage options, but there is enough to go around elsewhere. In the doors, there’s enough room for a water bottle and a ladies' purse, the glovebox is massive even with the owner's manual in there, and the central armrest hides a 12-volt connection and can fit a couple of drink bottles.
Two cupholders up front, a long, open storage platform for your phone, two USBs and one 12-volt round out a well-equipped cabin.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay do come standard, but we found an unusual quirk with CarPlay, where like Bluetooth devices users had to be deleted if the database was full.
We also noticed a couple of times CarPlay was a bit glitchy. The updated infotainment system with satellite navigation won’t blow you away with its design, but the graphics are clear and it is easy to navigate around.
The Rockford Fosgate premium stereo with nine speakers and subwoofer in the boot was clear, and didn’t have too much bass to rattle the car to pieces.
Orange ambient lighting borders the fixed panoramic sunroof at night, and while we could see what Mitsubishi was going for there, it could’ve chosen perhaps a more neutral tone to make it look, well, less tacky.
The door opening for the rear isn’t very wide, so it could prove to be a challenge for a large person to climb in, or to install baby seats using the two ISOFIX points or three top tethers. Thanks to its low floor, there is amazing leg, foot and toe room. In fact, you can put both of your feet on top of one another and there’s still room under the front seat.
Like the front seats, the bases are short, so there’s not much support on longer journeys for your legs. Vision is fantastic for little ones with tall windows for them to look out of.
There is no door storage, but drinks can be stowed away in the fold-down central armrest with two cupholders. You won’t find any air vents, connections, or a phone shelf, and because of the panoramic sunroof, there is no cabin lighting in the rear.
Once the rear 60:40 seats are folded, the boot can eat a total 1143L of stuff, and with them flipped back up that space is down to 393L to the parcel shelf. A perfect amount of room for a large suitcase and handbags.
The subwoofer is placed on the side of the paneling, which only robs you of a side storage compartment, and doesn’t impede on the general boot space. A space-saver wheel is under the floor tray.
The driving experience isn’t much to write home about, but then again, you don’t expect it to be as the ASX isn’t exactly famous in this field. However, it does everything without any fuss.
The seating position takes some time to get settled into, as it is pretty high and you can see a fair amount of the bonnet through the windscreen. Then again, some people quite like that!
The naturally aspirated 2.4-litre petrol engine produces 123kW and 222Nm, and has the right amount of performance to do your daily drive. It does have a sensitive throttle pedal, but once it’s planted, the engine can get a bit loud but doesn’t sound too thrashy, being the right match for the CVT automatic, which also includes a six-speed pseudo-manual mode. Braked towing capacity is 1300kg, with a turning circle of an impressive 10.6m.
On a bumpy road, you can feel quite a bit of vibration through the steering wheel, and road noise is more noticeable coming from the rear of the car. The ASX is happy to accept regular 91RON petrol to fill up its 63L tank.
Mitsubishi claims a fuel reading of 7.9L/100km. With predominately urban driving, we averaged 9.2L/100km, with the highest getting to 14L/100km.
Currently, Mitsubishi is offering a seven-year/150,000km warranty over its usual five-year/100,000km warranty. That offer also includes two years/30,000km of free servicing, as opposed to the standard capped-priced servicing of every 12 months/15,000km at $199 each for the first three visits.
There is no stopping the ASX, and with the Exceed especially, it has everything you’ll ever need in a package that represents fantastic value for money. If its age and bland interior don’t faze you at all, then the ASX could be just what you’re after.