RUGGED new looks, a kick-arse sound system, and a host of other tweaks can be found in the 2020 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed, the latest version of a small SUV that’s hugely popular. Just take a look at the sales figures, it’s a top 10 performer more often than not.
That brutish new face comes courtesy of its larger siblings, like the Triton and to a lesser extent, its bigger brother in the form of the Eclipse Cross. It certainly makes the ASX more attractive than its ever been, as do the variant specific two-tone 18-inch alloys.
It feels bigger inside and out, the result of that face lift and a general overhaul, and with it, the transition to the latest Mitsubishi design language. And it’s a bold new look that’s more than just pretty bits. There’s a new power plant too.
Six variants make up the range including the ES, MR, ES ADAS, LS, GSR and Exceed, but only the latter two are powered by a 2.4-litre four cylinder petrol engine, generating 123kW of power and 222Nm of torque. Claimed fuel economy is 7.9-litres/100km.
All models except the ES (which has a manual transmission option) are mated to a CVT gearbox , and that right there could be the fly in the ointment for the attractive little Mitsubishi. That, and it’s ageing design (it sits on a 10 year old platform).
You see, there’s no doubt the bigger engine has grunt, but the CVT does nothing to enhance the driving experience, although it does feel less strained than the 2.0-litre offerings. Steering and ride are adequate, but nothing to write home about.
Inside, the ASX is renowned for being a practical car, but you’ll be hard pressed to find decent storage in the back seats. There’s no bottle holders in the doors, and while there’s centre cup holders in the fold down arm rest, there’s also no adjustable rear air vents.
Rear foot room is exceptional thanks to the low floor, but physical leg and head room is average if you’re taller than say 180cm, but good if you’re shorter than that. The massive panoramic glass roof with sunshade probably doesn’t help that cause either.
Up front though, seating is decent in terms of space, but there’s a lack of lumbar support from the powered driver’s seat, despite leather trim and seat heating. Much like many Mitsubishi models we’ve driven, the front seat feels like it moves under acceleration.
It’s an odd feeling, but one we’re sure you’d become accustomed to if you owned an ASX, or any Mitsubishi vehicle for that matter. Vibrations from the steering and road noise on rougher roads also take away from the experience inside the 2020 ASX Exceed.
On the technology front though, a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system offers integrated satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s sharp and easy to use, but that’s not the best bit.
The 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system, that includes a massive sub-woofer in the boot, complete with traditional speaker cage, is excellent, and offers some of the sharpest sound we’ve found in a small SUV, in this price range.
We don’t even care that it eats into the boot space, that’s how cool it sounds. Boot space is a reasonable 390-odd litres, which is not bad at all. With the seats down, it’s 1143-litres of storage goodness.
From a safety perspective, the Exceed comes with the whole box and dice, with pretty much every single available piece of technology offered as standard, including multiple airbags, forward collision mitigation and auto high beam.
You also get brake override, ABS, emergency stop signal, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure, autonomous emergency braking, stability and traction control. There’s even hill start assist.
Priced at $35,990 drive away, which is dearer than the previous model, some could argue that the ranging topping Exceed variant is a little hefty on the pocket for a 2WD petrol offering, but their astounding popularity seems to belie that fact.
It can be had in seven colours, including White Solid, Starlight, Sunshine Orange (as tested), Sterling Silver, Red Diamond, Lightning Blue, Titanium, and last but not least, Black.
The 2020 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed comes with a 7-year, 150,000km warranty (up from the standard 5-year, 100,000km warranty), and two years free scheduled servicing. Twelve months roadside assist is also included.
Our test vehicle was provided by Mitsubishi Motors Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Mitsubishi ASX Exceed, contact your local Mitsubishi dealer.