Mitsubishi ASX ZC-H, motoring review: A safe but sorry attempt at 'crossover'

This car's sole purpose in life is to be overshadowed by the Nissan Qashqai, Nissan Juke, Skoda Yeti et al

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Price: £24,899
Engine capacity: 2.2l 4-cyl diesel
Power output (bhp @ rpm): 147@3,500
Top speed (mph): 118
Fuel economy(mpg): 48.7
CO2 emissions (g/km): 152

Had things turned out a little differently in my test Mitsubishi ASX, I would by now be a famous, indeed infamous, figure. This is because I almost managed to assassinate a member of the British Royal Family as he was crossing Kensington High Street in London. I was surprised to see him in his tan blouson and grey slacks – dress sense shared, if nothing else, with Jeremy Corbyn. He was unmistakably the Queen's cousin, though. I knew this because I had not long since read the “Who's That Kent?” guide to the identification of minor royals in Viz.

Anyway, the blood royal wasn't spilt and I am not facing charges. The Mitsubishi, then, acquitted itself well. I found it to have tidy handling, thanks in part to its relatively sophisticated suspension set-up. The diesel engine was lively enough and responsive, and not as clatteringly intrusive as some rivals' units.

That, though, was the most interesting thing that I have to say about the Mitsubishi. This car's sole purpose in life is to be overshadowed by the Nissan Qashqai, Nissan Juke, Skoda Yeti, Kia Sportage, Range Rover Evoque et al which variously inhabit this jungle of the “crossover”. The Evoque is far more expensive, but I mention it because I found myself next to one in a traffic jam and I felt completely miserable and outclassed and dowdy.

The ASX does have some nice touches. The top-of-the-range diesel automatic ZC-H variant that I drove had an impressive glass roof, though I didn't see the point of the LED “mood lighting”. They've done the front end like an Evo, still the only Mitsubishi worth consideration, but I think it doesn't really look that great. The Mitsubishi badge, for example, could do with being a lot bigger and the headlamps slimmer for it to be truly fashionable.

Of course, the ASX on the pricier versions, has full four-wheel drive, and that should be an impressive set-up if the reputation of its big brother, the Shogun is anything to go by. Which reminds me: Mitsubishi once solved the problem of how to make a smaller SUV attractive by just producing a scaled-down version of the Shogun, named Shogun Pinin if I recall it. They should probably have another go at that.

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