Mitsubishi's updated and expanded 2020 ASX line-up isn't just being charged with retaining the number one spot on the small SUV sales charts, it will also have to fill the gap left by the Lancer's departure from the range.
The CJ-generation Lancer fulfilled Mitsubishi small car duties for more than 11 years before being retired earlier in 2019, and Mitsubishi Australia product manager Owen Thompson explained to CarsGuide this week that even at the end of its life, the Lancer had more of a male/young male skew to its buyer demographic than the similarly sized but SUV-shaped ASX.
The ASX on the other hand, has traditionally been popular among young females, young couples, and older empty nesters over the near-decade it's been on sale in Australia.
Enter the new MR and GSR ASX trim levels, which from December will occupy the second and fourth rungs in the expanded five-tier 2020 ASX range.
Mitsubishi fans may recall the MR and GSR badges being used on sportier versions of the Lancer in the past, with the GSR in particular ultimately being used to signify the all-wheel drive turbo son-of-Evo in the lead up to Mitsubishi's rallying heyday.
For the ASX, the MR and GSR are differentiated by black details and sportier trim than the existing ES, LS and Exceed trim levels, and in the case of the GSR, it also adds a bigger 2.4-litre engine (also shared with Exceed) and paddle shifters for the CVT auto.
Mitsubishi is also hoping the new MR and GSR will drive ASX sales further upmarket as well, bolstering the middle of the range where the ASX has generally been most popular as the base ES in the past.
This 2020 model year range expansion is also accompanied by all-new styling from the windscreen forward, updated details at the rear, AEB being made standard on all variants, and a new one inch larger 8.0-inch multimedia screen across the board.