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ASX gains subtle tweaks for 2015

On trend: Mitsubishi has made some minor adjustments to its ASX crossover, which has seen a 40 per cent increase in sales so far this year compared with the same period in 2014.

Mitsubishi tweaks the look of its ASX crossover as new competitors surface

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Mitsubishi logo5 Jun 2015

By STUART MARTIN

MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited has introduced a lightly tweaked version of its ASX compact crossover, bringing a price adjustment for two variants, minor trim tweaks and an audio upgrade to its popular SUV.

The Japanese car-maker’s smallest SUV is second only to the Triton utility for the top-selling member of the three-diamond family and it has been given a minor appearance change and an audio upgrade for 2015.

Mitsubishi says the ASX has enhanced “visual appeal” with a new design for the 18-inch alloy wheel, black wheel arch extensions and the addition of a chrome tailgate extender to all models.

The cabin inherits a new sports steering wheel lifted from the ASX’s larger Outlander sibling, and its features piano black trim highlights and thumb grips. Mitsubishi is also laying claim to improved feel to the helm.

The sound system also falls into line with other recently updated Mitsubishis – chiefly Outlander and Triton – with the addition of digital radio reception to the ASX’s touchscreen-controlled sound system, but the upgrade has come without a price increase.

The company says the two diesel 4WD variants have had a $500 price reduction – the XLS is now priced from $31,490, plus on-road costs, and the XLS has dropped to start from $35,990. The rest of the range wears unchanged pricetags.

MMAL head of corporate communications Shayna Welsh said the ASX had been putting in a strong sales performance this year compared with its 2014 tally.

“ASX is a star performer in our SUV range, up 40 per cent year to date versus 2014,” she said. “We've seen a real boost in sales since the 2015 updates, which added more refinement and visual appeal. It's also a reflection of the market shift to small, city friendly SUVs.”

The mechanical side of the ASX range remains unchanged, with a 110kW/197Nm 2.0-litre petrol or 110kW/350Nm 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine offered in LS and XLS models, with a standard features list that includes seven airbags, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, climate control and voice-activated Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.

The updated 2015 Mitsubishi ASX is now on sale and is expected to continue the model’s strong start to 2015. Its 40 per cent boost over the first five months of 2014 to 4626 units means it sits in second place in the sub-$40,000 small SUV segment behind the dominant Hyundai ix35 (7620), and ahead of the Nissan Qashqai (4345).

It remains the top-selling Mitsubishi passenger vehicle and only sits behind the Triton as the top-selling Mitsubishi both models have had strong starts to the year and are key factors in the brand’s 10 per cent improvement in its sales so far this year.

It will need to solider on for a while yet, as a next-generation ASX replacement – based on the XR-PHEV II concept seen earlier this year at the Geneva motor show – is still almost two years away.

The XR-PHEV concept is a longer, lower and wider preview of the replacement ASX, which will include a plug-in hybrid model to complement the existing Outlander petrol-electric hybrid already on sale in Australia, albeit using a new petrol electric drivetrain.

According to Mitsubishi, the front-wheel drive system is designed to operate primarily in all-electric mode using a high-efficiency inverter and variable voltage system.

The petrol engine acts as a generator, supplying additional motive power when needed by switching automatically between all-electric, series hybrid and parallel hybrid modes.

The ASX does not have as long to wait for a successor as others in the range – it is set for replacement sooner than the long-serving veteran Pajero, which will have to wait for a production version of the GC-PHEV concept before it can call time on a mechanical package that stretches back over a decade.

Mitsubishi ASX pricing*
LS 2WD petrol$24,990
LS 2WD petrol (a)$26,990
LS 4WD diesel (a)$31,490
XLS 2WD petrol (a)$31,490
XLS AWD diesel (a)$35,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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