The Mitsubishi ASX diesel automatic has been a very welcome addition to the compact SUV’s lineup.

It took Mitsubishi three years to pair a diesel ASX with an automatic, and in doing so they dropped the old 1.8 litre oiler for the 2.2 litre unit from the bigger Outlander.

Ironically the addition of the diesel auto has seen the manual diesel disappear, but it’s the automatic that will suit most tastes.

Value

The diesel is available in either the basic ASX trim or the more upmarket Aspire tested here, and both are all-wheel drive.

In the Aspire, the diesel engine costs an extra $3000 over a regular petrol all-wheel drive Aspire, but with the same power, nearly double the torque, and more than 2.0L/100km better fuel economy, it’s not hard to justify.

The ASX Aspire diesel comes with leather trim and front seat heaters, a 7-inch touchscreen with satnav, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, full-length panoramic roof and proximity keys, all for about the same price as a Commodore Evoke Sportwagon.

Design

Like all ASXs, the diesel is a very handy day to day appliance, with easy access and room for four adults inside.

The tall interior makes for a handy cargo area, with a 416-litre boot opening to 1109-litres with the seats down, with enough length to carry a standard household fridge.

Engine/transmission

The ASX’s 2.2-litre turbodiesel four puts out a healthy 110kW and 360Nm, and carries an official combined fuel consumption figure of just 5.8L/100km.

The diesel is also the only ASX to come with a quiet six-speed torque converter auto instead of the usual CVT.

Safety

Like all ASX variants, the Aspire diesel carries a maximum five star ANCAP rating, with dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags, plus ABS, EBD and stability control as standard.

Driving

The 2.2-litre engine has plenty of kick for pulling the 1530kg ASX, with excellent overtaking ability, and it’ll easily keep pace with a full load.

The handling isn’t particularly sporty, but it’s stable and assured and the diesel can tow up to 1400kg.

It’s got plenty of ground clearance for urban obstacles, and it’s nice and stable at highway speeds.

The on-demand all-wheel drive system features a handy lock-out function for sand or snow, which makes it ideal for tackling the fire trails.

Verdict

The ASX auto diesel is the pick of its lineup, with an appealing combination of grunt, efficiency, and everyday practicality.