IT’S time for some small SUV action, and here to take on the role of the hero of this story is the 2019 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed, the pinnacle model in a completely overhauled compact SUV range from the Japanese car maker.
Mitsubishi have cut down the range to only five variants and removed the diesel power plant, dropping AWD along the way. We get it, reduce the range so you can concentrate on making a better all-round car. But does it deliver? Let’s take a look.
As we approach the ASX Exceed in its native habitat, we are greeted with what is essentially the same body from last year, which is pretty good looking, with nice lines that come together from pretty much any angle.
The black wheel arch trims house well-designed 18-inch alloy goodness, there’s a bit of chrome here and there, and matte black housing encapsulates the LED daytime running lights, halogen headlamps and standard fog lights to finish off the look.
It’s bold but not too bold. Classy but not too classy. It’s telling us; “I’m here and I am going to wow you enough to make you think I look alright, but no design contests are being taken out today”.
Venture inside, and you’ll find a similar interior to what you’ve seen before, minus a few items, including the AWD selector button. Don’t worry though, the hole for it is still there with a naff blank plate covering its shame.
Moving right along though, the Exceed interior has just the right amount of bling to make you feel spesh, but not too much to complicate its all-round polished look. There’s a fantastic array of tech too, except for maybe SatNav. It’s gone MIA.
We get the whole thing about smart phones and how everyone has them, and you can just hook in and use that, thanks to the fact the days of having to pay a fortune for updates have passed.
Built-in SatNav systems are now more dynamic though right, and offer greater features? It’s a hard call and we really don’t know which side we fall on. That aside, you do get smart phone connectivity for both religions.
The easy-to-use Mitsubishi interface enabled us to define the right level of bass for our fat beats as we wound our way out of Sydney to the Central Coast, where we took the 2019 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed on its greatest challenge yet; the transportation of kids.
The black leather seat fascias offered substantial resistance to muddy feet and dripping ice creams, and the rear USB power socket allowed for continued charging of distracting media devices.
It meant the little darlings would stay quiet for long enough to allow the driver to ponder thoughts of a time when weekends were unplanned and life was an exciting adventure into the unknown, not a repetitive routine of tasks to care for a smaller version of yourself that thinks it knows better than you.
All these horrors laid aside, the 2019 Mitsubishi ASX delivers a fantastic platform for the moving of your mistakes, and all the gear that comes with this fateful decision, with plenty of storage inside the cabin and in the expanses of the 393-litre fully trimmed boot.
You can even further expand that space via the 60/40 split fold seats that will allow for some cartage of larger items. You might have to lose a child though.
The encapsulated humans and all their corresponding equipment gets moved around the place thanks to the hauling power of a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder DOHC MIVEC petrol engine, delivering 110kW of power and 197Nm or torque.
They’re respectable numbers and in theory should deliver some nice acceleration, however, the CVT gearbox is a serious let down. Not only does it feel like you have no access to any of the power on offer, it murders the engine to actually use it.
Mitsubishi advertises 7.6-litres/100km and surprisingly, despite all the engine homicide going on, it actually hit that mark. The petrol engine also feels far less responsive than the deleted diesel option, and doesn’t offer a great engine noise either.
Power issues aside though, it handles well and feels strong on the road, thanks to MacPherson struts, coil springs and a stabiliser bar in the nose and multi-link suspension and a stabiliser bar in the tail.
All the safety gear you can think of comes fully loaded as well, with lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation, active stability control, traction control, hill start, and rear cross traffic alert.
It’s got auto just about everything, from lights to headlights and wipers, and as a complete package is comfortable to drive, easy handling, and has a familiarity that you get when you drive a good all round car.
It’s no sporty spice SUV though, and feels a bit like its tailored to a different market than the one it used to be focused on. It’s very practical, shall we say, despite its upmarket interior.
That said, Mitsubishi are offering the 2019 ASX Exceed for brilliant money, at $32,990 drive away, and that comes with a massive 7-year/150,000km warranty, two years free servicing, and for a short time $1,000 worth of free accessories.
Colour-wise, you can choose from some seven options, including White, Starlight, Sterling Silver, Red, Titanium, Lightning Blue, or Black.
Our test vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed, contact your local Mitsubishi dealer.