Mitsubishi updates its ASX for 2014, with big price reductions across the range and an improved interior.

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The 2014 Mitsubishi ASX is the Japanese firm’s mildly refreshed attempt at a mid-size family crossover. A new addition to the engine range and a smartened up interior mean more choice and better quality, but big price reductions thanks to the more favorable Pound-to-Yen exchange rate – including a £2,500 drop on the entry-level model – is the ASX’s real draw.

Model range

Trim range: 2, 3, 4

Petrol engines: 1.6 (115)

Diesel engines: 1.8 (114), 2.2 (147)

Gearboxes: Five-speed manual, six-speed manual, six-speed auto

Performance

The former ASX’s 1.6 petrol and 1.8 turbodiesel remain unchanged for the new car. However, the vehicle now gets the more powerful 147hp 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine and six-speed automatic gearbox from the larger Mitsubishi Outlander off-roader.

Alongside a healthy 266lb ft of torque, the top-spec ASX accelerates from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds. However, it’s more at home picking up speed gently, using its torque with the smooth automatic transmission, shifting gears sweetly. The motor is quiet and refined if you don’t stretch it, but push the accelerator to the floor and a diesel grumble does make itself known inside the cabin.

Ride and handling

The ASX is not the most agile off-roader in its segment. Slow steering means direction changes aren’t the quickest, but there is plenty of grip to lean on from the intelligent four-wheel drive system. There is a welcome benefit to this though – the ASX feels very stable at speed.

The ride is comfortable on motorways and major roads, but on our varied test route we did find the ASX’s suspension to be a touch bumpy on back roads. It is firm, but this helps to reduce roll in the corners and gives a reassuring feeling of solidity. It’s never really uncomfortable, either.

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Dashboard and driving position

The Mitsubishi’s steering wheel adjusts for rake and reach, and the seat can be manipulated to accommodate most shapes and sizes.

The dashboard is clear – however, despite the few tweaks to the cabin, the ASX’s dash still seems a little behind the competition. There are more soft-touch materials and a smarter piano black facia, but scratchy, hard plastics are still present and tarnish the illusion of quality – even if Mitsubishi has made improvements here.

Visibility

The ASX’s sturdy on-road presence is teamed with a commanding 4×4 driving position – you do sit fairly high, giving the driver a good view of the road ahead. Rearward visibility is just as good, with large wing mirrors that should help with parking manoeuvres.

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Gadgets

– Bluetooth, air conditioning and keyless entry come fitted as standard on all cars, but if you’re a gadget fiend it’ll have to be the top-spec ASX 4 model. It comes complete with a number of interesting tech details.

– Smartphone connectivity: Yes, Bluetooth and wired connections for smartphones.

– Navigation: Full colour touchscreen satellite navigation.

– Personalisation: Some customisation of menus available.

– Audio: USB and Bluetooth modes for audio playback.

– Internet: Internet connectivity not supported.

– Can it Tweet or Facebook: No, Mitsubishi has not included any social network capability.

– What is the standout gadget on the Mitsubishi ASX? Full colour reversing camera – a great safety aid.

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Passenger space

The 2014 Mitsubishi ASX does not feature any structural changes, which means passenger space remains unchanged. There’s plenty of space in the front and ample leg, head and shoulder room in the rear. The angle of the rear seatbacks is adjustable, too.

Boot space

The car’s boot is large at 442 litres, making it bigger than the new Nissan Qashqai’s luggage capacity at 439 litres. The shape of the load bay is nice and regular too, meaning you can maximise the available space. If you fold the rear seats the load bay expands to 1,193 litres. There’s plenty of in-cabin storage, too.

Refinement

As we mentioned, if you don’t rev the engine too hard, refinement is good. Even at motorway speeds there isn’t much wind or road noise to rattle around the interior. On the whole, the improvements to sound suppression have worked.

Safety

As we mentioned, no structural changes means the 2014 ASX receives the same maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating as the original 2010 car. There are seven airbags, anti-whiplash headrests and an Electronic Stability Programme fitted as standard across the range.

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Fuel economy

The 1.6 petrol returns the same 47.1mpg with 137g/km CO2 as before, while the 1.8 turbodiesel is now slightly more efficient, offering a claimed 55.4mpg with 134g/km CO2.

The more powerful 147hp 2.2-litre turbodiesel is surprisingly economical given how it’s mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive system (even if the latter is only two-wheel drive most of the time in its ‘intelligent’ setting). Mitsubishi claims 48.7mpg with 153g/km CO2 for this engine.

Quality

The Japanese firm claims to have improved quality inside the 2014 ASX’s cabin. It’s certainly tried, with some glossy black plastics, a revised leather steering wheel and plenty more soft-touch materials. There is a but, though – it still doesn’t feel as classy or refined as some of its rivals, even if it’s likely to be very robust.

Price and equipment

It’s here where the ASX claws back ground over its competition, however. The range starts from £14,999 – a massive £2,500 saving over the original car – with the ASX 2 boasting Bluetooth, air con and keyless entry as standard. The mid-grade ASX 3 is also £2,500 cheaper than its predecessor and gets climate and cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, and heated front seats.

The top-spec ASX 4 features a full colour reversing camera, leather seats, sat nav and a, LED-lit panoramic glass roof. Amazingly, it’s 10% cheaper than the equivalent outgoing ASX.

Value for money

These price savings make the new 2014 Mitsubishi ASX great value for money. Compare the price, the equipment on offer and the car’s efficiency, and it’s easy to see why the ASX is an attractive proposition in the crowded crossover marketplace. By pricing the car aggressively, Mitsubishi is hoping to steal sales from its rivals Nissan, Kia and Hyundai.

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The two Korean brands make up part of the ASX’s key competition. Along with the Kia Sportage, the Hyundai ix35 and the sector favourite, the Nissan Qashqai, there’s also the Skoda Yeti, Toyota RAV4 and the Mazda CX-5 to think about. Even if some do offer more in one area, none quite offer the same blend of equipment, practicality, efficiency and price of the Mitsubishi.

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