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Baby Mitsubishi proves it really has the Xfactor

Mitsubishi were in danger of being forgotten. Mention the brand and two things spring to mind -- heavy duty commercials and the legendary Evo.

Both excelling in their own fields, but to the general car-buying public not exactly synonymous with family motoring.

But what is synonymous with MMC is reliability and longevity - two of the greatest factors punters consider when buying a car.

So now, all they needed was a sexy new machine and a glitzy launch to remind us of their excellence.

Enter the all-new ASX, the crossover we wished we all had six short months ago when an inch of snow crippled the country.

On paper it ticks all the right boxes for those who want the ruggedness of an SUV and the family friendliness of a 5-door saloon.

Take the design for example. It looks positively bombproof with waist-high muscular wheel arches and extra ground clearance.

And check out the yawning Basking Shark-like gob on her which looks like it could hoover up the M50 and all in its path.


And you'd right to be nervous with one of these on your tail as this baby is not one of those 'SUV-alikes'.

Nope, it's got proper 4X4 DNA with most of the lower structure, chassis and suspension coming from the tried and tested Outlander.

The secret weapon though lies beneath the bonnet where the new 1.8 litre, 150bhp diesel heart beats.

The punchy and nippy common rail direct injection oil burner is perfect for around town and hums like a bird while cruising on a motorway. It has enough torque to pull down a building and because it's front wheel drive, will be perfect in snow and icy conditions. It's easy on the pocket too -- returning 50mpg and annual road tax of €302 (€156 for petrol).

Inside is the only place where the ASX disappoints. It's a little bare in the cockpit.

Steering wheel-mounted switches and Cruise Control would make life a lot easier as would the peace of mind of a spare wheel.

What it loses in driver gadgets it makes up for in space and comfort.

There is oceans of leg and head room for rear seat passengers and the boot is an impressive 419 litres which almost doubles with the back seats down.

So, if fancy wrapping is not your thing and you buy this crossover in the hope it'll do its job where and when necessary, then it'll be money well spent. Prices for the ASX start at €23,675 for the 1.6 petrol (tax band B) and €25,550 for the diesel.