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Car reviews - Mitsubishi - ASX - Aspire 2.0 AWD CVT


Mitsubishi's ASX range-topper has all the toys but lacks purity of cheaper variants

15 Oct 2010

HOW refreshing that – as most cars get bigger with each generational change – there are a wave of smaller and lighter compact SUV contenders stepping in. The latest example is the Mitsubishi ASX, an Outlander-based four-door wagon with dimensions that make it seem barely larger than a Lancer small car’s. Here we take a look at the top-line Aspire AWD to see how it feels and behaves from behind the wheel.

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Model release date: 1 August 2010 to 1 May 2015

Previous model

Pajero iO

Released: March 1999
Ended: September 2003
Family Tree: ASX

MITSUBISHI’S been down this sub-compact SUV path before, with the chunky iO, a Daihatsu Terios-style baby 4x4 with an urban focus. But the difference between iO and ASX is all summed up in the Pajero prefix – the former had surprisingly formidable off-road ability, compared to the newcomer’s soft-road approach.

Nevertheless, despite the booming SUV market at the time, the iO fell between the two segments and never really caught on with consumers. Two body styles were offered, a two-door Hardtop powered by a 75kW/135Nm 1.6-litre petrol/five-speed manual combo, and a four-door wagon using a 86kW/165Nm 1.8L petrol in manual or four-speed auto variants. Both engines were usurped come facelift time in October 2001 by a more suitable 95kW/177Nm 2.0L petrol unit offered in either manual or auto transmission. Sales remained slow nevertheless, so Mitsubishi pulled the plug on the iO when the larger, first-generation Outlander arrived in 2003.

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