There are lesser-known stalwarts of enduring nameplates. Take the Mitsubishi ASX, for example, which first came to market in September 2011.
Aside from a series of minor stylistic revisions, the model on sale today is largely the same as the one launched just more than a decade ago. In case you forgot, there was a point where Peugeot and Citroën sold badge-engineered versions of the model, as the 4008 and C4 Aircross respectively. It launched them into the compact sport-utility vehicle arena at a time when the genre was not as busy as it is today.
Mitsubishi was ahead of the curve when the ASX first came to our shores. But much has changed since. In the 2022 car you are not going to find a cutting-edge, modular platform, mild hybrid technology, wireless smartphone connectivity or even turbocharged engine offerings.
My pencil had been sharpened, ready to strike the old relic. But you know what? Its refreshingly basic character made quite the impression, getting behind the wheel on our first interaction.
But even before that, its looks did not go unnoticed, resplendent in a shade of red, parked outside our head office’s reception. The “Dynamic Shield” family face works well for Mitsubishi. And though their rallying heritage is, well, firmly in the past, the ASX has a front-end that tickles some excitement for all those associations.
Any Ralliart stickers would be purely aspirational though, because under the hood is a proven 2.0l normally-aspirated petrol motor producing 110kW and 197Nm. In the case of our entry-level ES-grade tester, the engine was mated to a five-speed manual with drive to the front wheels.
The ASX has a durable feel, though you can easily tell it is more than one generation behind certain peers. Its power steering relies on a hydraulic system, where most rivals have gone the electric assistance route.