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Mitsubishi ASX


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Summary

Mitsubishi ASX

I could be the first person to compare the Mitsubishi ASX with a Porsche 911, but bear with me. You may know the story that the Porsche 928 was designed to replace the 911, but the popularity of the 911 kept it selling alongside the 928 and eventually outliving it. 

The ASX seems to be emulating this tale, to a lesser degree at least. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross that was introduced in 2018 is widely understood to have been intended as the ASX's replacement, but as it soldiers through its tenth year on the Australian market well and truly outselling the Eclipse Cross and every other small SUV on the market, the triple-diamond brand has just given the ASX its biggest birthday yet. 

The 2020 model may look like an all-new car from the front, but from the rear it’s clearly more of a significant update if you look past the fresh details.

Given previous versions of the ASX have trailed behind most of its rivals in terms of design, refinement and dynamics for some time, have they done enough to warrant your choice over the numerous much fresher small SUVs out there? 

We were among the first to experience the new ASX at its Australian media launch last week to find out.  

Safety rating
Engine Type2.4L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.9L/100km
Seating5 seats

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

If the hugely popular Mazda CX-5 barely fits your family's needs, why would you ever go smaller?

Because you can, with the new segment-splitting Eclipse Cross reminding us that practicality and overall size aren't directly proportional.

Straddling what we've come to define as the small and mid-size SUV segments, the new Mitsubishi sits between the top-selling ASX and the successful Outlander. The new model, however, brings one of the latter's biggest packaging benefits to make it a smaller alternative to the mid-size SUV brigade, with overall dimensions closer to the next size down.

This idea is hardly new, with the Jeep Compass and Nissan Qashqai blazing this trail, but neither can match the Eclipse Cross's interior trump card, so far. 

Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.7L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Mitsubishi ASX7.1/10

The ASX success story is one of automotive’s true enigmas. It has done an amazing job of ticking the boxes to stay current, and the 2020 update will probably help it stay at the front of the sales race for some time to come. 

But a quick test drive of any of its main rivals will show what difference almost a decade of fundamental improvements can make, so as always, it’s important to try a few options before making your choice.

Despite its age, you could still do a lot worse than choosing the ASX though.

The sweet spot of the updated range is arguably the LS, given it can be had for just over $30k on the road, with handy equipment levels and all safety gear included. The 2.0-litre engine also does the job just fine in my opinion. 

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross7.6/10

The Eclipse Cross will represent the right solution for a lot of SUV buyers. It offers better value than a few smaller rivals, and matches a few larger ones for practicality, while fitting within a smaller body.

Given its generous levels of standard equipment and value, I’d pick the LS as the sweet spot of the range, but this is dependent on where the upcoming ES slots in price and spec-wise. Either way, the new Eclipse Cross is an impressive package.

Do you reckon the Eclipse Cross's size might be just right? Tell us in the comments below.

Check out Mal's Eclipse Cross preview drive video from late last year:

Design

Mitsubishi ASX7/10

The 2020 ASX’s look is all new from the windscreen forward, with LED headlights and the latest iteration of Mitsubishi’s dynamic shield nose to bring the brand’s second best-selling model in line with other more recent designs in the line-up.

All other sheet metal is unchanged, so no change to overall dimensions, but the rear end has been treated to new lights and a reshaped bumper.

The colour options have also been refreshed, and now include white, Starlight pearl white, Sterling silver metallic, Black pearl, Lightning blue pearl, Titanium metallic, Red diamond, and Sunshine orange on GSR and Exceed only.


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross7/10

The Eclipse Cross builds on the edgy ‘Dynamic Shield’ looks of the recent Pajero Sport but brings a distinctive wedge-like profile and a tapered rear end akin to a coupe.

This rear end also features a back window split by a rear spoiler that integrates full-width lighting, in a similar approach to the original Honda CR-X, and more recently, the Toyota Prius.

You’ll be doing well to pick the top-spec Exceed from the entry Eclipse Cross LS, with just the black roof of the dual sunroof-equipped Exceed to distinguish it visually. 

When it comes to dimensions, the Eclipse Cross is 40mm longer than the ASX, but 290mm shorter than the Outlander. It's 5mm narrower than both, stands 45mm taller than the small SUV, and 25mm lower than the mid-sizer.  

One clever detail is doors extending below the sills to help keep your clothes clean on entry and egress, and the whole interior is a big step forward compared to its nearest siblings.

The dash binnacle-mounted head-up display on the top-spec Eclipse Cross Exceed may seem cheap and nasty compared to in-glass systems, but you’ll love the Mitsubishi version if you ever need to replace a windscreen. Another plus is adjustment for the height of the display is via a simple switch next to the steering wheel. Take note, Mazda.

One element we’re less than excited about is the Lexus-style touch-pad controller for the new multimedia system, which is just about as fiddly as it is with the luxury brand, so you’d probably find yourself using the touchscreen instead. Note that the touch-pad doesn’t work with Android Auto anyway.

Practicality

Mitsubishi ASX8/10

Mitsubishi got the size and shape of the ASX so right in the very early days of the small SUV body type, which has certainly helped its ongoing popularity. Mitsubishi points out that its hip point has resonated particularly well with buyers, which makes for easy ingress and egress compared with traditional small cars

There’s nothing new for 2020 in terms of practicality, but there continues to be heaps of room on the back seat behind my front seating position for my 172cm height.  

It’s still got the standard twin cupholders in the centre console and in the rear armrest, plus bottle holders in the front doors but still none in the rear. 

Parents will appreciate that such an old design manages to have ISOFIX child seat mounts in the outboard positions, but the only rear air vents you get are still under the front seats and non adjustable.

The boot is still a decent size that should easily cover four passengers, but it’s worth noting that the ASX spec sheet says the Exceed’s subwoofer eats up 50 litres of storage space. Mitsubishi’s press material quotes 393 litres VDA, but the 1193-litre VDA figure with the back seat folded drops to 1143 litres VDA for the Exceed.

A space saver spare still sees duty under the boot floor, and there’s a smattering of small storage compartments under there as well. 


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross8/10

You probably won't notice this on a test drive, and to be honest I only truly understood it by bringing my 14-month-old son along for the Eclipse Cross's weekend launch, but the new Mitsubishi does a better job of swallowing a rearward-facing child seat than some larger SUVs.

Two which are definitely on this list are the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5. Thanks to recent long-term tests of each, I've found both leave just enough room for a less than average height adult (I'm 172cm) in the front passenger seat.

A more upright, and therefore compact, forward-facing baby seat is a different story, but the lengthy rearward-facing set-up is a non-negotiable reality for the first year or so of a baby's life.

The Eclipse Cross, on the other hand, leaves ample room for this front passenger. How, you ask? It’s not a feng shui feat, but rather, simply using the sliding rear seat mechanism from the Outlander.

This allows you 200mm of choice between maximum rear seat legroom and maximum boot space, with the max legroom option creating more baby seat space than the aforementioned bigger players. The sliding function is also split 60/40 with the split-fold, so you can create max legroom on one side, while preserving max cargo space on the other. 

The respective boot space adjusts between a decent 341 litres and a pretty good 448-litre maximum, which is aided by having a space saver spare tyre under the floor.

Aside from this back seat/boot party trick, the Eclipse Cross’s identical wheelbase to the ASX and Outlander gives it ample room for four adults. There’s slightly less rear headroom than the Outlander due to its sloping roofline, which also tightens up rear entry space and could be annoying for taller parents when loading children.

One other less than ideal element is the lack of directional air vents for the back seat. This is common among smaller, cheaper SUVs, but we find the under-seat vents are nowhere near as effective as adjustable outlets in the back of the centre console.  

As is par for the course these days, there are dual cupholders front and rear plus bottle holders in each door, with decent storage around the cabin for things like mobile phones, plus ISOFIX child seat mounts for the two outer positions.

Price and features

Mitsubishi ASX7/10

Before we drill into the nitty gritty of the new ASX’s price and specs, the headline changes have been the addition of two sports-flavoured new trim levels and ongoing drive-away pricing has been added across the range. The latter helps to disguise the fact that list pricing has gone up across the board. 

The new MR and GSR trim levels arrive next month, and sit among the existing variants to represent a new ES, MR, LS, GSR, Exceed model walk from bottom to top. The new trim levels are aimed at attracting buyers who would have otherwise chosen the Lancer small sedan, which was retired from the Mitsubishi range earlier this year.

The top two models have upgraded to the familiar 2.4-litre petrol engine from the Outlander and numerous other Mitsubishis over the years, while all other ASXs continue with the 2.0-litre petrol it’s used since it first arrived.

The only big change on the inside for all versions is this new multimedia screen that steps up an inch to 8.0 inches, and continues to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

There’s new seat trim for every variant beneath the Exceed, and all versions finally come standard with AEB that works at speeds up to 80km/h. 

Standard gear for the ES includes 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 225/55 rubber, four-speaker sound system, digital radio, and keyless entry. 

The five-speed manual ES is now priced at $24,990 drive away, while the automatic transmission version adds $1750 for $26,740 drive away.

As before, the automatic ES can be had with an advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) pack for another $2500, which is detailed below under Safety.

The MR adds a number of blacked-out exterior components such as 18-inch wheels, grille and door mirrors, as well as rear parking sensors, privacy glass and push-button start for $28,240 drive away.

The next rung up the ASX ladder is the $30,240 (drive away) LS that gains privacy glass, push-button start and chrome interior door handles.

The GSR pairs the MR’s blacked-out accessories with a six-speaker sound system, rear spoiler and micro-suede interior with red-stitching for $32,240 drive away.

Finally, the top-spec Exceed is now $35,740 drive away, but aside from upgrading to the 2.4-litre engine it gains a panoramic sunroof, leather-appointed seats with front seat heaters and in-built satellite navigation.

Mitsubishi is also offering a number of factory accessories within option packages, with the Adventure kit, Protection pack and Style set all offering discounted pricing over individual options. 

The Adventure kit costs $1699 and includes roof rack cross bars, bonnet protector, headlight protectors, nudge bar, cargo liner, and boot flap scuff guard, with a net saving of $280.

The Protection pack costs $999 and includes, outer scuff plates, bonnet protector, headlight protectors, weather shields, cargo liner, and carpet mats, with a net saving of $231.

The Style set costs $2199 and includes an alloy fuel lid, front skid plate, rear skid plate, tailgate protector, chrome door handles and silver mirror caps, with a net saving of $442.


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross7/10

The $30,500 list price of the base LS is a fair bit higher than the kick-off point for its closest rivals, but Mitsubishi plans to add a base ES spec by the end of the year to help meet them head on. 

For now, the LS comes impressively equipped for the price, with all of the important safety gear like AEB and seven airbags fitted as standard, plus a new multimedia interface that's compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, front and rear parking sensors, tinted rear windows, lane departure warning, auto headlights, active high beams and rain-sensing wipers, plus 18-inch alloys.

For an extra $5500, the $36,000 Exceed adds leather trim and a dual sunroof, dual-zone climate control, head up display, 360 degree cameras, active cruise control, a few extra active safety functions like rear cross-traffic alert, blind-sport warning, lane change assist, and the novel misacceleration mitigation system which is designed to avoid driving into stationary objects.

If you’re not an Android Auto or Apple CarPlay user, you will likely be miffed at the lack of built-in sat nav on either grade, but we reckon the smartphone-mirroring route is the better option for the long term.

It’s also worth noting that only the front half of the dual sunroof on the Exceed opens, but both sections have electronic shades that can block light 100 per cent. 

Based on Mitsubishi’s marketing to date, you might be surprised to find that the Eclipse Cross is available in colours other than red, and possibly grateful given the new 'Brilliant Red' hue is an $890 option. All other metallic colours will cost you an extra $590, with the sole cost-free paint option being white. 

Engine & trans

Mitsubishi ASX7/10

Aside from the new styling, the 2020 ASX’s biggest change is the 2.4-litre petrol engine from the Outlander and a bunch of other Mitsubishis that is now fitted to the GSR and Exceed top two tiers.

Its 123kW and 222Nm are 13kW and 25Nm proud of the 2.0-litre engine’s numbers, which isn’t a big difference for almost half a litre more capacity. 

The rest of range still comes with the  2.0 litre petrol, and all ASXs are fitted with a CVT auto, aside from the ES which can still be had with a five speed manual. 

All ASXs have been exclusively two-wheel drive type since 2018, with the all-wheel drive option disappearing with the diesel at the same time. 

It would have been nice to see the 110kW/250Nm 1.5 turbo from the Eclipse Cross make an appearance, which is actually a pretty sweet unit thanks to its low-down turbo urge, but the cheaper non-turbo units clearly help the ASX’s price competitiveness. 


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross8/10

Another element that probably propels the Eclipse Cross to the top of the small mid-size SUV class is its new engine and transmission. 

Australia misses out on the diesel option available overseas, in favour of a new all-aluminium 1.5-litre petrol turbo motor that sports both direct and multi-port injection as well as variable valve timing. 

This smaller capacity, turbocharged formula is still spreading through the mainstream brands, and brings the key benefit of delivering maximum torque from lower in the rev range (from 1800rpm in this instance).

Engine specs of 110kW/250Nm are more than enough horsepower and urge for the 1490-1555kg SUV, with the other key part of the equation being a new CVT auto transmission. No, there’s no manual option

There is the opportunity to have your Eclipse Cross with all-wheel drive (4WD), however, with the top-spec Exceed available in all-paw form for an extra $2500. 

Another surprise is the Eclipse Cross’s braked towing capacity of 1600kg. Applying to both front- and all-wheel drivetrains, this comfortably eclipses its closest rivals and is backed by a healthy gross vehicle mass of 2100kg, which results in a generous gross combination mass of 3700kg.

Fuel consumption

Mitsubishi ASX7/10

In terms of fuel consumption, the 2.4 officially only uses 0.3L/100km more than the 2.0-litre. But with official combined figures of 7.6L/100km and 7.9L/100km respectively, both are definitely at the thirstier end of the small SUV class. 

Both ASX engines will happily run on 91 RON regular unleaded fuel type and all have a 63-litre fuel tank.


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross7/10

Official combined fuel economy figures of 7.3L/100 km for the front-wheel drive versions and 7.7L/100km for the all-wheel drive are only average for a car of this size, but are somewhat balanced by the engine’s surprising ability to cope with Regular 91 RON unleaded. 

Most small turbo motors insist on Premium 95 RON to do their best, so the Mitsubishi’s actual fuel costs would look a bit rosier than what the windscreen label suggests. Using this week as an example, Regular 91 is 12.4 cents per litre cheaper than Premium 95 on average in Sydney. 

Over a 448km weekend, our Eclipse Cross two-wheel drive was showing 9.6L/100km on the trip computer, which isn’t brilliant, but we did cover plenty of urban driving and bush exploration.

Driving

Mitsubishi ASX6/10

The ASX has been tweaked here and there over the years, but nothing mechanical aside from the 2.4-litre engine option this year. So it still feels much the same as it did about a decade ago. 

Which will likely feel pretty nice to you if you’re upgrading from something older with plenty of kilometres on the clock, but compared to most of the ASX’s competition, it now feels pretty old. 

Aside from the relatively unchanged interior design, the steering doesn’t feel as connected as we’ve come to expect, general refinement is a bit lacking and there really isn’t anything special about the mechanical package or the handling. 

The 2.4-litre engine does offer some bigger numbers than the 2.0-litre, but you wouldn’t call it sporty, and while it has the same tow rating (1300kg braked towing) as the rest of the ASX lineup, it would probably stand up better to a heavy load. 

We also had a steer of the 2.0-litre, and you have to be paying attention to notice the difference between it and the 2.4 with just two passengers aboard. 

The biggest surprise of our drive experience was how ordinary the sound quality was when using the Bluetooth to make a phone call in the Exceed. Despite having the premium sound system, the fuzzy sound was noted at either end of the conversation and only seemed to be being transmitted through a left front speaker. 


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross8/10

If you’ve been hanging out for the Eclipse’s arrival, you may recall our very brief experience with a prototype version in the Northern Territory late last year. Driven back-to-back with the now aged Outlander and even older ASX, the Eclipse Cross felt smoother, quieter and more comfortable in general. As you’d hope. 

Now that we've driven it extensively on the road, I can tell you it's still a nice thing in reality. 

The ride comfort is particularly good - even on 18-inch wheels - and noise insulation is impressive for a mainstream model like this.

We didn’t push it too hard with the family on board, but it felt stable around corners and the engine had plenty of urge around town, at highway speeds and up hills. If I were to quite a 0-100km/h figure (not that Mitsubishi quotes one) it would hardly do the drivetrain justice. It just works well in the real world. 

We’re generally not a fan of CVT autos because of their tendency to groan and flare engine revs, but the turbo’s low down grunt means the new transmission rarely gets the chance to make its presence known. The two complement each other very well. 

The steering feel is vastly better than the numbness of the Outlander, with the only real criticism being the rather rough leather on the wheel itself.

Driver visibility is quite a surprise considering the sloping roofline and split rear window, in that it’s quite good, and the door-mounted mirrors help eliminate blind-spots up front. 

We didn’t take the Eclipse Cross too far off-road at its Tasmanian launch event, but we did manage to safely traverse two hard-packed beaches on Bruny Island. These were Jetty Beach and Cloudy Bay if you’re ever in the area, and provided a nice little taste of adventure considering we were piloting a two-wheel drive Exceed. 

For those interested in taking the Eclipse Cross further, both two- and all-wheel drive versions have a useful ground clearance of 183mm, with 18.8 degree entry and 29.2 degree departure angles. We plan to put the all-wheel drive through its paces on a proper adventure test shortly.

Safety

Mitsubishi ASX7/10

All ASXs have had a maximum five star safety rating since 2016, but it’s worth noting that this rating is based on being tested all the way back in 2014. This five star rating carries across to the new model regardless.

As mentioned above, all versions of the ASX now come with AEB that works at speeds up to 80km/h. It will also detect pedestrians at speeds up to 65km/h. 

With the base ES, you still have to pay $2500 extra for lane departure warning, auto high beam, reverse sensors, blind spot warning, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert, and it’s worth noting that this isn’t available on the MR. The MR does come standard with reversing sensors, however.

Aside from the above, all ASXs come with dual front airbags, plus driver’s knee bag, front side airbags and full-length curtain airbags in addition to stability control


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross8/10

All Eclipse Crosses are covered by a maximum five-star ANCAP rating (tested 2017), with the key pluses being standard AEB plus dual front, side head and chest airbags, plus a seventh airbag for the driver’s knees. 

The LS also comes with lane departure warning, but the top Exceed adds 360 degree cameras, active cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-sport warning, lane change assist, and a novel 'Misacceleration Mitigation System' which is designed to avoid driving into stationary objects.

Ownership

Mitsubishi ASX8/10

Mitsubishi is offering a seven-year/150,000km warranty deal until the end of 2019, which builds on the brand's existing five-year/130,000km plan. 

The current deal puts it towards the top of the market for warranty coverage, but the regular five year plan is now about the status quo for mainstream manufacturers, which often also have unlimited kilometre coverage.

The seven year warranty deal includes free scheduled servicing for the first two years, but the standard service plan includes generous 12 month/15,000km intervals. 

Only the first three services are capped though, but are now now $41 cheaper each time at a very competitive $199 per service.

Mitsubishi includes roadside assist as part of the ownership plan at no cost.


Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross8/10

Like all Mitsubishi vehicles, the Eclipse Cross is covered by a five-year/100,000km warranty, which also covers perforation corrosion for five years. Five years still beats the industry standard of three, but some brands offer unlimited kilometre coverage. 

Service intervals are 15,000km or 12 months, with capped price servicing for the first three services of $300, $400 and $400 respectively.