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Driven: Mitsubishi ASX diesel gets an auto

Self-shifter: The addition of an automatic option should result in more Mitsubishi ASX diesel sales.

Extra grunt and an auto transmission for revised Mitsubishi ASX

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Mitsubishi logo2 Jul 2013

MITSUBISHI Australia this week replaced the niche-selling manual-diesel variant of its popular ASX city SUV with a punchier new version that comes with an automatic transmission for the first time.

The new oil-burner uses the same 2.2-litre ‘DiD’ four-cylinder turbo-diesel and six-speed automatic as its larger Outlander stablemate.

At the same time, Mitsubishi has lowered the price of entry for the diesel by $3000 over the outgoing variant, thanks to the addition of a new entry four-wheel-drive version, priced at $31,990 plus on-road costs.

The flagship Aspire variant, meanwhile, is now $1500 more expensive than its manual Aspire predecessor (previously the sole offering), at $36,490.

The new Euro 5-compliant 2.2 diesel produces the same 110kW of power as the smaller 1.8-litre unit it replaces, but torque grows to 360Nm between 1500 and 2750rpm – up 60Nm on the 1.8 DiD.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 5.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, compared to 5.7L/100km for the outgoing 1.8. Maximum towing capacity is rated at 1400kg.

But it is the addition of an automatic transmission that is arguably the biggest news, with the self-shifter a sure bet to net more sales than its manual-only predecessor in auto-favouring Australia.

The 2.2-litre is available exclusively in auto guise. Mitsubishi will continue with the manual 1.8-litre diesel ASX option until later this year when it will be discontinued.

The new top-spec Aspire diesel may be more expensive than its petrol equivalent (priced from $34,990), but the $1500 difference buys a significant boost in torque and fuel efficiency over the unchanged 110kW/197Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder MIVEC petrol engine and continuously variable transmission combo, which returns 8.1L/100km The petrol engine also remains in service in lower model grades, with the 2WD petrol (with five-speed manual) still priced from $25,990 (CVT adds $2250) and also available in Aspire trim from $28,990.

Both versions of the new DiD are equipped with Mitsubishi’s All Wheel Control, which allows four-wheel drive to be selected when maximum traction is required or front-wheel drive for maximum fuel efficiency.

Other transmission features include what Mitsubishi calls INVECS-II Smart Logic, allowing manual selection of gears and a 4WD lock mode for maximum traction when negotiating tricky surfaces.

All versions of the ASX range hold a five-star ANCAP rating thanks to all the usual electronic safety systems including seven airbags with curtain and knee protection, and ABS brakes.

Isofix child-seat anchors and three-point seatbelts in all five seats add to the list of safety features as well as Mitsubishi’s ‘RISE’ one-piece passenger cell which uses high-rigidity construction and side impact bars to further improve occupant safety.

The entry-level diesel ASX comes with all the expected equipment including air-conditioning, cruise control and keyless entry.

Also included is a rearview camera and reversing sensors, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a CD/MP3 player, full iPod control with Bluetooth connectivity allowing media streaming and hands-free phone connection.

Standard exterior features include body-coloured doorhandles, roof spoiler and mirrors with integrated turn signals and 10-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels.

Top-spec Aspire models feature leather seats with heating up front, keyless start, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, electric driver’s seat and a panoramic sunroof.

On the outside, the 10-spoke alloy wheels increase to 17-inch rims, while other exterior changes include the addition of fog lights and tinted windows.

In addition to standard entertainment systems, the Aspire version picks up Mitsubishi’s Multi Communication System (MMCS) satellite navigation, a larger seven-inch touchscreen and SD card input, which was an extra-cost option on the previous DiD Aspire model.

Both diesel models offer 416 litres of boot space with the 60/40-split rear seats in place, but the base variant has a larger 1158L load area with seats folded compared to 1109L in the Aspire.

Metallic paint and a 710-Watt, nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system continue as options.

The ASX has proven to be a popular model for Mitsubishi with more than 2300 examples sold to date this year and the addition of an automatic diesel version is expected to bolster sales.

The light SUV segment is fiercely competitive and the new ASX will have the likes of the top-selling Hyundai ix35, Nissan Dualis and Subaru XV to contend with.

“The ASX is a popular vehicle in the Australian market and we are confident the addition of this economical diesel automatic model will appeal to customers who want a versatile and stylish compact SUV that sports all the features and is value for money,” said Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited CEO Mutsuhiro Oshikiri.

Mitsubishi ASX pricing*:
2WD 2.0 petrol$25,990
2WD 2.0 petrol (a)$28,240
2WD 2.0 petrol Aspire $28,990
2WD 2.0 petrol Aspire (a)$31,240
4WD 2.0 petrol Aspire (a)$34,990
4WD 2.2 DiD (a)$31,990
4WD 2.2 DiD Aspire (a)$36,490

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