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2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire DiD review

The 2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire DiD is the first automatic diesel offering since the model launched in 2010. Originally only available with a six-speed manual, the ASX now appeals to a wider market.

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire AWD DiD Australia

Mitsubishi has done a 180-degree spin on the six-speed manual transmission, now exclusively offering six-speed automatic across all diesel models.

The ASX range starts from $25,990, which gets you into a front-wheel drive 2.0-litre petrol with a manual transmission (the only manual variant in the lineup), and it tops out at $36,490 for the all-wheel drive turbo-diesel Aspire with a six-speed automatic (as tested). Buyers can also get into a base model ASX diesel for $31,990.

Diesel buyers will be pleased to know that the 1.8-litre turbo-diesel has been replaced with a 2.2-litre unit that produces the same 110kW, but torque increases from 300Nm to 360Nm.

All 2.2-litre diesel models are all-wheel drive. The only other all-wheel drive model is the 110kW and 197Nm 2.0-litre petrol ASX Aspire.

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire DiD – THE SPECS

Engine: 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder
Output: 110kW@3500rpm / 360Nm@1500-1750rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drive type: All-wheel drive
Wheels: F: 17×6.5, 215/60  R: 17×6.5, 215/60
ANCAP: Five stars (scored 34.13 out of 37)
Kerb weight: 1530kg

Power-to-weight: 13.9:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 5.8L/100km
Economy during test: 6.9L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 60L/diesel
Power efficiency: 15.94kW:L/100km
0-100km/h as tested: 10.1 seconds
Priced from: $36,490

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire AWD DiD boot

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire DiD – THE PACKAGE

The interior of the Mitsubishi ASX is a pleasant, spacious place to be with lots of head and legroom for all occupants. The cabin does look a touch over plasticised, and very grey, with some hard and scratchy surfaces.

The heated leather seats feel a bit under-padded and can become uncomfortable on long trips, but are suffice for the school run. The leather itself isn’t the most appealing to touch, but it does feel durable and up to the task of shuffling little tackers in and out.

What the ASX lacks in cabin appeal it more than makes up for with interior smarts, such as, climate control, cruise control, an easy-to-read high-resolution seven-inch display, a reverse camera that is now displayed in the in-dash screen as opposed to the rear-view mirror on the previous model, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, rain-sensing wipers, and auto-on headlights.

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire AWD DiD dash interior

The Aspire model receives a neat set of 17-inch alloys, and a very cool panoramic glass roof that is sure to entertain on warm summer days.

The ASX embodies Mitsubishi’s design language with hints of Lancer Evolution in the front, giving it a bold and striking appearance. The Aspire model, with its smart-looking alloys and dashes of chrome, is the pick of the ASXs. The indicators on the mirrors are also a nice touch.

With the 60/40 split-fold rear seats upright, the ASX offers up 416 litres of space, more than enough for a pram and some shopping. Folding the rear seats down exposes a large flat area, bringing the available volume up to 1109 litres.

The Aspire model receives seven airbags, ISOFIX seat anchor points, stability control, and a reverse camera with in-dash display. The ASX scores a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire AWD DiD front seats

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire – THE DRIVE

The ASX comes with Mitsubishi’s all wheel control system, featuring 2WD, 4WD, and 4WD Lock. For general duties, such as city or freeway driving, the ASX is best left in 2WD, sending the power through the front wheels.

For extreme weather conditions, or unsealed roads, the ASX can be switched to 4WD Lock to maximise traction – lock mode doesn’t mean the wheels are completely locked, making it safe to use on the road.

If you want to be on the safe side you can select 4WD Auto, which only sends torque to the rear wheels when slip is detected. In normal driving conditions, using 4WD Auto mode will result in better fuel economy.

The ASX’s ride is comfortable, and the steering feels direct. And while it feels active at slow speeds, it is prone to body roll if you push it too hard around corners.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine isn’t the quietest in its class, especially at idle, but it’s an improvement over the 1.8-litre unit it replaces.

Acceleration-wise the ASX isn’t all that fast off the line, but once you’re going it’s gutsy and more than useful for overtaking a car or two. We clocked 0-100km/h in 10.1 seconds.

The six-speed auto transmission hunts through gears in the name of economy, and is eagerly keen to sift down gears to deliver bursts of acceleration. The 2.2-litre feels well-mated to the self-shifter; very smooth and very intuitive.

We managed to achieve decent fuel economy during our test, recording 6.6L/100km. The figure does rise when you leave it in 4WD Lock mode, which is why 4WD Auto or 2WD is a much better option for general driving duties.

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire AWD DiD rear exterior

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire – THE VERDICT

The ASX’s bold design, frugal diesel engine, in combination with its spacious interior make it a peach for the daily grind.

The ASX and ASX Aspire at $31,990 and $36,490 respectively are the cheapest base and top-spec diesel-powered compact SUVs on sale.

PROS:
– Good value for money
– Low fuel consumption
– Slick auto transmission
– Good headroom and legroom

CONS:
– Over plasticised interior
– Diesel engine noisy at idle
– Front seats could do with more padding

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire AWD DiD front

2014 Mitsubishi ASX Aspire – THE COMPETITORS

Ford Kuga Titanium
1.6-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder – 120kW-340Nm – 6.4L/100km – 1749kg – from $44,740

Holden Captiva 5 LTZ
2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder – 135kW-400Nm – 8.2L/100km – 1845kg – from $35,190

Honda CR-V VTi-S AWD
2.4-litre four-cylinder – 140kW-222Nm – 8.7L/100km – 1580kg – from $36,290

Hyundai ix35
 SE CRDi AWD
2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder – 135kW-392Nm – 7.5L/100km – 1706kg – from $34,990

Kia Sportage SLi AWD
2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder – 135kW-392Nm – 7.5L/100km – 1588kg – from $35,990

Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport TTD AWD
2.2-litre twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder – 129kW-420Nm – 5.7L/100km – 1633kg – from $39,470

Toyota RAV4 GXL
2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder – 110kW-340Nm – 5.6L/100km – 1660kg – from $38,990

Volkswagen Tiguan 103TDI AWD
2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder – 103kW/320Nm – 6.6L/100km – 1630kg – from $38,490

Josh was one of the original co-founders of PerformanceDrive. His expertise is car culture and aftermarket performance. He was the editor at Hot4s Magazine for a few years, and has since worked at Fast Fours, Zoom, and as a journalist for The Project Group.