Mitsubishi ASX 2010 review
THERE always seems to be room for one more in the compact SUV class. Every time the family fight...
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If Victoria Beckham were French, she’d drive a Peugeot 4008 instead of a Range Rover Evoque. The former Posh Spice had a hand - so they say - in styling the interior of the Evoque and she wouldn’t be disappointed with the 4008.
While the Pug is French, there are none of the usual French quirks about styling or utilitarianism inside. The blinkers are on the right side, the handbrake is close to the driver and all the controls are intuitive – all this in a very stylish catwalk model. Kind of like having a French girlfriend with no nasty habits liking smoking Gauloise in bed.
Here’s one of the best attractions about this French model - she’s not expensive. The two-wheel-drive models start with five-speed manual in Active trim at $28,990 which makes them comparable to Japanese and Korean models (Nissan Dualis, Hyundai ix35 and Mitsubishi ASX on which it is based). CVT adds $2500 and all-wheel drive an extra $2000.
The Active comes with a host of features including cruise control, Bluetooth with audio streaming, chilled glovebox, daytime running lights, automatic lights and wipers, cloth seats, leather steering wheel and 16-inch alloy wheels. Allure adds 18-inch alloys and leather seats which are heated and electronically controlled up front. Top of the line is the all-wheel-drive Allure with CVT at $38,490 with all the fruit.
It’s French class at Asian prices. However, the sting is in the cost of metallic paint at $800 and the “premium” shade which is an extra $1300. Peugeot has followed the trend with fixed-price servicing of $330 a year for three years making it a practical as well as attractive proposition. This is also available on fleet sales. Peugeot even throws in a valet service.
Peugeot has been at the forefront of diesel cars in Australia and the company has championed diesel on the famous Le Mans circuit with some success. Yet there is no diesel on offer here. Instead, it’s the same two-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine from the ASX. The 110kW of power pulls the 1.4-tonnne vehicle to 100km/h in just under 10 seconds, which is ok but hardly sizzling.
And it’s not as if it’s frugal at claimed figures of 7.7L/100km for the manual two-wheel drive and up to 8.1L/100km for the CVT AWD. On our tests in the Allure AWD CVT and Active AWD manual over a mix of road and traffic conditions, we scored a dribble under 9L/100km for both.
The resemblance to the stunning Evoque is uncanny, particularly in the bold front end. However, the roof line doesn’t dip as far toward coupe-like styling as the Evoque and the result is that the rear compartment is not as cramped or claustrophobic.
You wouldn’t think it was based on the rather plain-Jane ASX. Inside, it is not as stylish as the Evoque, but still quite a classy place to be. And thankfully all the controls are intuitive and easy to use. This is very atypical of the French who like to make things difficult and quirky. No stalks hidden behind steering columns here or audio systems that make you guess what the buttons are for.
The 4008 has not been crash tested here yet, but it has a maximum five-star Euro NCAP score. All models come standard with a rear camera and seven airbags. Strangely there is a full-size spare wheel under the boot floor but it is only rated up to 80km/h. It takes up cargo space, yet doesn’t really provide much peace of mind if you venture out bush to test its AWD capabilities.
Peugeot has toughened up the suspension over the ASX to give this more off-road capability. It feels remarkably tied down on sealed roads with little wallow around sweepers or sway in quick changes of line. Yet it does crash and bang over the hard hits off road or in city potholes. There is substantial road grip out of the road-biased tyres, but these are compromised in sticky off-road situations.
While the suspension is taut, the rest of the drive experience is a little on the soft side. Brakes lack initial bite and the steering feels a little ponderous. Still, they both have feel and effect. The engine is smooth and refined without being either lusty or frugal like some of its peers from VW and Mazda. It is perhaps hampered by transmissions that don’t match the performance.
While the CVT is smooth and doesn’t scream like most, it doesn’t provide swift responses to throttle input. The five-speed manual just seems out of date with today’s six-cog units. The manual does have a nice gate and the clutch is very light. A hill-start hold is a handy addition.
Driver and passenger accommodation is comfortable with easy access and plenty of leg and headroom. However, it will still only fit two teens or adults comfortably in the rear. Extra sound deadening material provides a quiet cabin. Surprisingly there seems to be more luggage space than the ASX.
For French flair without the price tag, this is a good value proposition.
|Active (4x2)||2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$10,990 – 14,950||2012 Peugeot 4008 2012 Active (4x2) Pricing and Specs|
|Active (4x4)||2.0L, PULP, 5 SP MAN||$9,240 – 13,090||2012 Peugeot 4008 2012 Active (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
|Allure (4x4)||2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$7,999 – 14,990||2012 Peugeot 4008 2012 Allure (4x4) Pricing and Specs|
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