Mitsubishi ASX 2020 gsr (2wd)
Owner Review

2020 Mitsubishi ASX GSR (2WD) review

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Purchased June 2020

Back Story

I change up my cars every three to four years depending on warranty and boredom factor.

My 2015 Tucson Highlander diesel was approaching end of warranty, had 66000km on the clock and so was time to make a change.

Although in many ways the Tucson was one of the nicest cars I had ever owned (totalling eight so far) especially in terms of the ride and comfort. There is one enormous BUT which drove my decision to turf it whilst still under warranty. This car, in four and a bit years, had 10 warranty claims which meant I was at the dealer every three to six months. Turbo, headlight, reverse camera (first day), indicator stalk, electric hand brake and stereo controls on steering, etc, inexplicably died.

Almost every fault I had Hyundai claimed “you are the first person we have seen with this problem”. Draw your own conclusions. So much of my personal time was wasted making unnecessary pit stops and sitting around the dealership. The car always pulled to the left ever so slightly and Hyundai were aware but we all just gave up on pursuing this. I complained to head office but their attitude was dismissive and they refused to acknowledge my complaints.

I was looking to upgrade on-and-off for 12 months and wanting to downsize from the medium to compact segment, but was something that straddled both segments in terms of size. My budget was way down on the Hyundai as well (around $32k) but I wanted to retain and gain as many features as possible from the Tucson. Servicing on my Hyundai wasn’t cheap, setting me back between $400 and $600 each year.

Going down a class I was going to lose some niceties, like auto defogging windows (I really already miss this feature which the Tucson did so well) speed sensing door locks, electric seats, solid heavier clunkier doors as well as a degree of comfort, handling and ride.

I had been admiring the new Fiat 500x and Jeep Renegade for some time but Australia was denied the new models so that was a quick scratching. I looked at the Jeep Compass a few times and loved the interior and dimensions but the price point for the features I wanted was about $10k to $15K more than my budget. I test drove the Skoda Karoq but I didn’t like the jerky transmission and there was way too much going on with piano black trim, not to mention pretty exxy.

I loved the look of the Subaru XV but it was way overpriced again for the basic features I wanted and the cabin was cramped - I whacked my head getting in the very first time. 1620mm to 1640mm ended up being the cut off for height, which eliminated almost 90% of the compact segment. I also liked the Eclipse Cross' front styling and the interior, but the rear end was not pleasing to my eyes and a 7-inch touchscreen in 2020 was not appealing, not to mention the price point and small boot. The Kia Seltos was nice but the cost of servicing was ridiculous and to get the features I wanted required another $5k to $10k.

We already have a 2018 ASX in the family, which I have driven many times, and although it doesn’t get the heart racing in terms of performance, ride, handling and modern interiors it has been solid. There are no complaints, it's tightly bolted together and handles urban affairs with no objections. Obviously after the last 4 years, reliability and lower servicing costs were high on the wish list.

Right smack bang in my price point and ticking many of my boxes was the 2020 Mitsubishi ASX GSR.

The GSR features some of which are shared with the MR (not the 2.4L this is only shared with the Exceed):

Gloss black (18-inch alloy wheels, door mirrors, sports rear spoiler, grille), privacy glass, front LED fog lamps, leather steering wheel, shift knob, and park brake with red cross stitching, aluminium pedals, smart key with one touch start, passive entry, 2.4-litre engine, 6-speed CVT with paddle shifters, micro suede and synthetic leather seating, black interior headlining and 6 speakers.

I test drove a couple of times and visited two dealers and ended up purchasing it at the end of June 2020.

I added a few accessories like the nudge bar, weather shields, bonnet protector, tow bar, tailgate protector and front sensors.

I had my heart set on metallic white but the salesman said that could result in a 3+ month wait. However, he had a silver that had just arrived and he could do the delivery in 7 days. So with Covid in mind, and now looking back there was no guarantee I would have gotten my starlight white by Christmas living in Corona capital of Melbourne.

Wish List

Sporty looks, long warranty, high driving position, cheap servicing, reliability, comfort and space (especially leg and head room for a driver at 193cm), good kit, decent boot to fit walker/wheel chair, full suite of safety features, LED lighting, fuel economy and decent performance.

Likes

1. The 2.4-litre engine is mated to a 6-speed CVT. Can I say this car has plenty of straight line oomph? I was really surprised how spirited it is with just a touch of the throttle. There is no lag and if anything there is quite a bit of torque steer which led me to have flashbacks of my RAV4 V6. Unfortunately if you try and gun this thing it will go and feel very unsure of itself and you can watch the fuel consumption sky rocket as well.

As we are still under lock down I haven’t taken the GSR out on country roads, through hills or performing overtaking so this will have to wait. I think the GSR is best driven rather sedately most of the time and it will cruise along quite happily. But you can be sure there is quite a bit of power there if you need it.

2. The paddle shifters are great. The more I use them the more I like them. You can shift through the 6 gears and when you slow down it will automatically down shift until you stop at a light.

3. Looks are relative and personal but for me this car ticks all the boxes, especially the revised front end with the dynamic shield, the aggressive nose, and the exclusive black GSR trim on the grille and chunky bumpers. The rear end is okay but admittedly showing its age with some minor tweaks to the lighting and bumper design (there is new faux carbon fibre cladding at the rear).

4. There is a full suite of exterior LED lighting including the reverse lights, fog lights and high beam. The only omission is the indicators which can be changed up to LED at any Autobarn. I don’t believe there are any competitors in this class or price point that offer this level of LED tech. I love the ice cube design on the front indictors and fog lights (which are on a slight angle and provide a wider angle of lighting). The front indicators, while they are bulb, appear to be a double-bulb job offering added visibility. I love the headlight design, as it's modern with an aggressive slant.

Compared to my Tucson the headlights are interestingly not as penetrative which could be due to price point ($52k vs $32k) however the LED fog lights are way nicer than jaundiced-looking halogens. The LED DRL’s are really nice with a single beam that extends the full length of the head light; they are bright and eye catching. The LED reverse lights look great and give added visibility when reversing at night, and Mitsubishi has added a very nice signature LED blade design to the rear lights.

5. There are 5 cameras mounted in the front windscreen and the GSR has 14 active safety features including lane change assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, auto high beam, forward collision mitigation, and brake override system. They are not overly invasive with incessant beeps and bongs, and they are on point in terms of sensitivity and accuracy.

In contrast my Tucson was constantly beeping at me, especially when going round a dual lane round about, so annoying whereas the GSR just give two quick beeps that’s it. The blind-spot monitoring icon is fantastic, as it's large and bright on the giant wing exterior mirrors. With the Tucson the icon was so small and dim that you couldn’t see it in summer.

There are 7 airbags, and you won’t find many cars in this class or above that include coverage for the knee. ANCAP rating was 5 stars in 2014.

6. If you like large buttons, dials, fonts and icons, quite a simplistic cabin layout and Atari-like graphics, then this car in right in your wheelhouse. Let’s just say there is a real retro feel to this cabin with respects to the above. I much prefer dials than buttons as they are easier to navigate on the fly to be honest.

7. Along with the 7 year warranty you also get 4 years road side assistance, provided you service with the dealer.

8. The leather touch points in the front are really nice and the accented red stitching on everything (including all the seats) gives the cabin a sporty feel. The steering wheel is probably one of the nicest surfaces to handle and helps make the cabin a very nice place to be. As well as leather the steering wheel has some piano black, chrome trim and the GSR logo in case you forgot which car you're in. The buttons are minimal, basic and clear to read and very nice to touch. The Tucson had a terrible rubbery steering wheel that I detested; it was supposedly leather.

9. The seats (exclusive to the GSR) are really nice to the touch. They are charcoal, man-made leather suede material but are so nice to the touch and are really well bolstered too. I just think they need more bolstering behind the knee so as to minimise submarining when braking.

10. There's plenty of soft touch points up front, even knee pads in pleather with red stitching are very nice. Driver's and passenger doors enjoy pleather padding for arms. Unfortunately the centre console bin missed out on any upgrade and has very little padding. The sun visors (with vanity lights) are harder than a combustabrick!! However the rear is plastic fantastic.

The only highlight there is the very nicely appointed centre arm rest with two bottle holders and those wonderful seat materials which carry through. The door armrests are nicely padded. There is just enough piano black plastic trim in the front to be pleasing to the eye but not high maintenance with the dust. There is some nice piano black around the front side air vents as well, but no on-off switches which I found weird.

11. Switch gear is mostly good given this car is still raiding a 10 year old bin.

12. There are two USB ports up front which some pricier medium SUVs don’t score.

13. Physical volume and tuning buttons on the radio was a welcomed upgrade over the previous model.

14. This car is newly designed from the windscreen down, but Mitsubishi still could not get those wiper jets hidden - they are still plonked on the bonnet. Having said that, they work great and spray multiple times with just one flick of the stalk.

15. I lost my heated seats from the Tucson but these GSR seats are really warm and the cabin heats up super fast with the climate control heating. I am hoping in summer the air-con is as good.

16. I do not miss the electric hand brake or tailgate in the Tucson, as I much prefer the manual operation. It is quicker and more reliable to be honest. The tailgate was painfully slow and sometimes it would open on its own after I walked away as the fob was supposedly hard pressed in my pocket. One day it had been open for over an hour when I was at an appointment.

17. This SUV is pretty spacious. I have heaps of headroom and adequate leg room in the front. The boot is surprisingly big, as I can fit a large walker or a wheel chair in with the seats down. They also fold effortlessly up and down and completely flat, by the way.

18. There is a large 8-inch media screen which is nicely designed with a mixture of brushed aluminium and piano black trim. It is clear, functional, has good graphics but is very basic. Mitsubishi in their wisdom did not carry over any analogue clock with date options from the previous model, which for me was disappointing. The reverse camera is good. It’s clear and sharp and you can actually adjust colour, brightness, and contrast to obtain the optimum image resolution. You can switch between day, night or auto mode as well. DAB radio is great and Android Auto works perfectly well. The radio is clear and Bluetooth connectivity so far has been perfect. Note that calls come exclusively through the left speaker which is weird but you get used to it. Importantly you can hear people clearly and vice versa. Google Navigation works well but the voice guidance, even on the lowest setting, is so loud.

19. Storage is adequate in the ASX and relative to the segment there is a huge glove box. The centre console bin is decent and there are also some extra nooks and crannies. I can fit my massive Samsung phone under the USB ports without it hitting the gear shifter.

20. Fuel economy has been good coming from a diesel predecessor. I am getting over 700km to a tank which is enormous for this car - the 63-litre tank being bigger than the Hyundai’s 62-litre. I fill up every 15 days doing around 140 to 160km per week. I am doing mostly urban driving and have driven both cars under Covid restrictions ie less stop-start traffic. Fuel usage, if driven sensibly, is on par or better than the 2.0-litre diesel. Note that under a lead foot or with the air conditioning on you can expect the fuel usage to be up in the 10 and 12 litres per 100 kilometres range.

21. Front parking sensors are great as long as your foot is on the brake and you creep forward. A couple of times I parked and the sensors didn’t react until I was right on top of an obstacle like a tree branch. At that point it was in escalation mode telling me to STOP. The warning is both visual and audible. The rear sensors work well as long as you creep. To be honest the Tucson sensors were hyper sensitive as they picked up every little thing and were constantly beeping at you, sometimes front and rear simultaneously. It’s definitely a matter of adjusting to the sensors and of course not just relying on them - you have your own senses for that.

22. Auto lights and wipers work well. They are sensitive and intuitive. The rear wiper is also automatic and works when rain is detected while you are reversing. However it has only worked once with wind driven heavy rain!

23. Cabin is relatively quiet with decent insulation and no squeaks or rattles to date. There is some engine noise with hard acceleration and some wind noise which could be due to the weather shields but overall it feels cosy. There is very little road noise from the tyres.

24. Brakes are good and AEB works well, although it is a little sensitive for my liking. Regardless of the sensitivity setting it still comes across as overly alarmist.

25. Fit and finish at the time of writing is absolutely on point. No misaligned panels or trim. Good job by Mitsubishi in delivering me a hassle free product.

26. The nudge bar works really well with the front end design and augments the ASX’s aggressive nose and dynamic shield design.

27. I really like the chrome Mitsubishi has employed with their dynamic shield design and this carries through to the cabin, especially in the front. There are really nice touches of chrome on the door handles, air vents, doors and media screen (brushed aluminium). In the rear it’s Spartan, with only chrome on door handles and armrests.

28. I love the hard rear parcel shelf; it's solid but nicely finished with a short pile faux fur. You can remove it too. I hate blinds to be perfectly honest. This is very old school going back to the 80’s and if I recall correctly, my 1987 Holden Astra had the exact same design.

29. Proximity key and passive entry work flawlessly unlike my Tucson where you had to hit the button multiple times or make sure you were standing directly in front of the door. Drainer. The ASX also has passive entry at the rear hatch which works great with two buttons nestled adjacent to where the plate lights would be.

30. Initially I was thinking the media screen would need an awning for glare (as it juts out), but so far it has been fine. The anti-reflective glass is super smudge proof with its super matte finish which is easy to read and maintain. I think mid-summer sun will be the true test of screen performance.

31. I really love the sporty look that the alloy pedals give to the GSR and the privacy glass is also of a high quality. There is also a huge foot rest on the left.

32. The electro-chromatic rear vision mirror is also a welcomed feature that I did not lose when upgrading.

33. Touchscreen has minimal lag, being both responsive and crisp.

34. Visibility is very good all around, aided by the high riding position which offers a clear view of your surroundings.

Dislikes

1. The rear doors have a very narrow aperture and feel very tinny versus the front.

2. There is occasional lag with the radio controls on the steering wheel both with volume and changing stations.

3. I'm not a fan of the staggered gear shifter. It is very early 2000s and I much prefer the standard straight line shifter.

4. One touch windows are just on the driver’s door. I think in 2020 Mitsubishi could at least include the passenger side as well. Many are doing all four windows now such as the Honda HRV, I believe.

5. There's no speed sensing door locks which is a feature I miss and feel the ASX GSR should have. I believe overseas models and the Exceed may have this feature. You can program the doors to unlock upon shifting into park which is better than nothing I guess.

6. No AWD option in Australia, however the fake button is there which is kinda rank. I really miss the added traction and handling you get with AWD, and I think it would greatly benefit this SUV.

7. There is no adaptive cruise control. It’s not a big deal for me as I will rarely use it but I think with all the inclusions this is one most competitors now have.

8. Cabin space in the rear is fairly tight. The seats are flat and upright, so kids would love it. They are probably the exact opposite to the Toyota CHR for example. While I could achieve good leg room, my head still hit the roof. Anyone plump or over 5-foot-5 is gonna struggle with two or three seated. Let’s just say the rear is very child friendly.

9. This may sound petty but the drone the door mirrors make when they fold in and out is downright annoying. Almost like a cheap aftermarket add on.

10. The indicators are hard to hear especially with the window down or radio on. They are too faint, the icons are not that bright and they are positioned in such a way that the steering wheel, depending on your field of vision, obscures it. There is another melody you can option but it’s like running fingernails down a blackboard.

11. There is no red decal to tell you if the doors are open, which I have never seen missing in any car. It is a bizarre swing and a miss here. You literally do not know at a glance if the doors are open or closed.

12. Interior illumination is lacking in places like the gear shift which is dimly lit, and there is no decal to tell you what gear you are in. There is an icon in the driver's display but I think when you are glancing down at night it's necessary to have this area lit well. There is virtually no illumination on the power window buttons either - just the driver’s window which is very dim.

13. The ride can be lumpy and even jarring. The suspension is a bit soft for my liking and you do feel rough bumps and coarse roads with little cushioning at times. I have to say the Tucson was impeccably smooth like silk and light years ahead of the ASX in terms of ride comfort.

14. Steering is very light and took some getting used to. I found myself over-steering at the start but now I have adjusted. At speed the steering can be jittery, however for navigating the urban jungle it does the job.

15. Some switchgear does feel a bit plasticky and cheap, for example the indicator stalk has a half-hearted click. This is not to my liking.

16. There are some hard surfaces and scratchy plastics, especially in the rear. If you need a 4x2 just break off the sun visors. At least they will never break.

17. There's no digital speedo. There is room for it, and while I honestly prefer analogue, in 2020 this is a feature Mitsubishi should be including.

18. The ASX has a space saver spare which is not a huge issue but you can option a full size spare as part of the accessories, but I don’t think you should have to pay for this. Therefore it goes into the negatives.

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