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Mitsubishi ASX entry off-roader

The ASX was originally born as the cX concept at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show.

But Mitsubishi has taken the letters and massaged them into its newest off-roader and called it the Active Sports Crossover, or ASX.  The newest member of the Mitsubishi team arrives in local showrooms in August.

It will line up next to the Kia Sportage, Hyundai ix35, Holden Captiva 5, Suzuki Grand Vitara and Nissan Dualis in the ultra-competitive sub-$30,000 compact off-roader arena. 

Mitsubishi Australia Ltd president and CEO, Masahiko Takahashi, says it will be sold as a manoeuvrable city car that could bring new buyers into the Mitsubishi family.  "It also has the added benefit of being very smart, especially in terms of the technology that drives its engineering, design and all-wheel drive ability," he says.

The ASX was originally born as the cX concept at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show.  The finished product has links with both the Outlander and Lancer Evolution X and borrows the ‘family’ look front end.  In size, it is 345mm shorter than the Outlander and 200g lighter.

The production car also uses a one-piece hatch instead of the two-piece doors on the concept.  Japanese versions are powered by either 1.8 or 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engines.  Although local specifications are yet to be released, both petrol and diesel engines – as well as front or all-wheel drive versions – are tipped.

Takahashi says as an entry off-roader, the ASX has the potential to drive strong sales to supplement the Triton, Outlander and Pajero.  It will be pitched into the profitable compact off-roader segment, which is experiencing massive growth.

Off-roader sales are up 35 per cent this year as buyers move out of family sedans and into lifestyle vehicles.  "The global trend is for smaller compact off-roaders," he says.  "We believe this trend will become very noticeable in Australia as well."

With the appeal of front-wheel drive crossovers growing, the new Mitsubishi chief says the company is also looking at adding a front-drive version of the bigger Outlander later this year.  "It's under consideration," he says.