Review: 2020 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed

Mike Boyd - May 14, 2020

There is a sweet-spot in almost everything we do. That point at which the delicate balance between needs and wants, night and day, fast and slow, or small and large is just right.

For me, this was the lasting impression with the Mitsubishi ASX Exceed.

Whilst the ASX (Active Sports Crossover) is getting on a bit in years – this is the fourth incarnation of a lineup that strictly speaking started back in 1991 with the RVR in Europe and the US – it is a dependable and quite cost effective small-mid sized SUV that is certainly worth a look if your considering something in the $30,000 – $45,000 price range.

Highlights

PriceFuel EfficiencyLooksComfort
$35,990
(drive away)
7.8L/100km6/106/10
Life StyleLife StageSafetyOn The Road
Urban run aboutIn your 20s or young family⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
ANCAP
7.5/10

Interior

The Mitsubishi interior is not one that exudes a sumptuousness that you associate with its competitors from Europe.

That being said, for the price, the form and functionality of the interior of the ASX Exceed is certainly a pleasant place to be.

The leather front seats are firm with good side bolstering around your thighs and lower back. The base of the seats is a little short if you’re tall, but the power adjustment of the driver’s seat means you should find just the right driving position. Heating in the front seats is standard in the Exceed.

The high central positioning of the 8 inch touch-screen display ensures that there are loads of storage holes on front of the gear shift and between the front seats.

The controls for the climate control and the numerous USB slots and 12V socket sit a little too far away from the natural fall of the hand of the driver and I think the dials for the temperature and air-flow are on the wrong side. I felt I was taking my eyes off the road a little too long to cool things down in the cabin.

Rear seat comfort and space are two areas where the cost efficiency of the ASX become apparent. The seats are very firm – especially for the middle passenger and the leg-room behind me was only suitable for a young child.

Headroom is also at a premium in the rear due to the large glass roof.

The boot space on the ASX is more than you expect given the 4.3m length of the car and the very little overhang behind the rear-wheels.

There is however, a very large sub-woofer that intrudes into the boot and from what I could tell from the sound system, doesn’t provide much bass boost either.

Speaking of the sound system, the addition of Apple Car Play and Android Auto across the entire ASX range is to be applauded, however, the lack of voice control in the ASX means that all the functions of Car Play and Auto have to be done by hand.

Exterior

From the outside, the ASX does show its age with lashings of chrome and LED lights seemingly the solution to all the styling challenges that have befallen Norihiko Yoshimine and the design team at Mitsubishi in Japan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I like these striking blue hues that several carmakers are using at the moment. It looks good on almost any car or ute. The blue in question on the ASX is called Lightning Blue which works well with the chrome.

Whilst the font on angle resembles a teenager racking up significant orthodontic bills for their parents, the side and rear angles are far more complimentary to the ASX.

The black roof-bars give the ASX some additional height and for some reason seem to balance the disproportionately long bonnet.

At the rear, the dated styling is glaringly obvious but it is also practical. The boot lip is broad and low so loading and unloading is easy.

The 18 inch wheels on the Exceed match the styling very well and with far less chrome visible from the side-on angle, the balance is excellent.

On The Road

All small-mid SUVs with 2 litre four cylinder engines and front wheel drive are full of enthusiasm. The four cylinder 2.4 litre engine in the ASX produces 123kW of power and is matched with 222Nm of torque which is more than adequate to move the 1.97 tonnes of the ASX from here to there.

The downside of this is the CVT gearing which, like on the Outlander PHEV Exceed that we had a few months back, keeps the engine revving hard and ruins fuel consumption if you go anywhere near the accelerator.

The other aspect of CVT transmissions is that they are very torquey and in wet weather, it’s not hard to light up the front wheels. A little practise will tame this, but don’t expect the ASX to make a sudden and swift exit from a side street in the wet.

As we mentioned earlier, the driving position is good once you find what works for you and the multi-function steering wheel and dials are really nice to touch and easy to read.

Visibility behind the wheel is extremely good which is enhanced by large exterior mirrors giving a very good all-round view.

One feature of the ASX Exceed that doesn’t really show its hand until you get on the road is the fixed glass roof. A flimsy electronically retractable blind is all that protects you from the blazing sun. If you dare to open the blind when the ambient temperature is over 25C you very quickly turn the ASX into a mobile oven.

The road noise is quite good around town. Get the speed up a bit and it becomes far more intrusive. Don’t let the increase in road noise distract you from the fact CVT transmissions are rubbish at speed. The fuel economy on highways should be far better than the 8.6 L/100km we saw. Around town expect something in the late 6s / early 7s.

For such a small vehicle, you expect the turning circle to be good and indeed it is on the ASX Exceed. At 10.6m that is extremely good for the size of the car.

For & Against

✅ Nicely sized for a daily city runabout with some practicality.

✅ Hard to beat on price.

✅ 5 Year / 100,000km Warranty

 CVT transmission makes the engine work hard.

 Rockford Fosgate subwoofer – takes up precious space and doesn’t do anything for sound system

 Uncomfortable rear-seats.

Who Will Love This Car?

If you’re running about in the city for work or with the kids, this is a very compelling contender. Like all Mitsubishis, it will last a very long time and will not give you any grief. It’s certainly not a highway cruiser.

Pricing

The ASX range runs to seven variants ranging from the ES to the Exceed and prices from $24,990 (drive away) to $35,990 (drive away).

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