Now it may seem like Top Gayer does feature new Audi's every month, two a month sometimes lol, the reason being I hear you cry? Audi are in the middle of launching one of the biggest ranges of cars in history, currently the Audi range is around a massive 34 models, and by the end of 2015 the range will be a world dominating 42 different models.
In the race to create the most cars in the smallest amount of time possible, I have to say Audi are making a lot of noise about the 42 models they will have by 2012. However BMW are making sure they aren’t left behind, and have created a car that not only satisfies the need to feel better than everyone else on the road, but has given these driving divas a way to do it in style, with the added substance to back it up.
Where to start… hmm, well the Chevrolet Captiva has always been a fairly decent SUV, its always been predominately purchased in its 7 seater guise, mostly with a diesel lump under its vast bonnet and more often than not by buyers looking for the most metal their money will get them. These little clues to the past audience of Captiva, shout loud… it’s never really been purchased by cash savvy pimps as a blinged up cruising wagon to ferry their rent about. Nor is it likely to have graced the drive of any of the winners of Britain’s-got-very-little-talent-it-would-appear-factor-on-ice…Not even the good ones.
Mitsubishi have definitely stepped up their game in the past few years with design and desirability, however the ASX gives the brand a new market sector to tailgate aggressively and looking at their offering, I think the likes of Land Rover and Nissan should be worried, I think people will be more than happy to make room for this great compact crossover.
Firstly I’d like to look at design, and Mitsubishi have done really well with the ASX. The front end looks more aggressive than a drag queen after the last big wig on the shelf in a January sales and creates a fear inducing presence a dominatrix would be proud of. Smooth curves mixed with chunky grooves create a kinetic styling to the crossover, achieving a deceptively smaller and sleeker look. This is a car that means business and commands respect even while comfortably cruising down the motorway.
Over the festive period, we were hit heavily with snow and ice. The perfect conditions to test the ASX to its limit, and I have to say there isn’t much that this little trooper couldn’t handle. The model we tested was an ‘ASX 3’, a mid range model that was packed out with standard equipment, including the drive mode selection into 4 wheel drive that helped a lot. For its size and look, the ASX is quite unassuming if you’re looking for a capable 4x4. We have tested many crossovers before and would only dare drive over a field for fear of incapability, but when we found ourselves in a good 3ft. of snow, we realised the ASX’s brilliance.
The ASX coped incredibly well with the snow, the only issue being the ice, ultimate enemy of any vehicle never mind a 4x4. A little careful negotiation and reversing however meant the crossover performed fantastically, and being the good, kind-hearted people we are, everyone got their eggs, milk and bread to last the big freeze.
A fantastic car off-road, the ASX doesn’t stop there. Under normal driving conditions the crossover performs incredibly well. Seeing you comfortable on long journeys and coming alive through country surrounds, discovering sweeping bends and manoeuvring through tighter corners. ASX definitely takes some characteristics from its older performance siblings, and gives you a chance to have fun, even when driving a bigger, heavier car. Plus with the stability and traction control methods, you know that you’ll be stuck to the road, come rain or shine…or even snow.
One of my favourite finds about the ASX was looking at the spec sheet to find that everything on the car was standard. Things like iPod USB connection, Auto lights and windscreen wipers and keyless entry with push button start to name but a few. Mitsubishi seem to have thrown it all in for the one price and aren’t asking for any extra dosh, the brilliant all wheel drive system with all its initialled stability systems and even the AS&G (Auto Stop & Go) ClearTec technology is included. The only things lacking, which I knowingly miss, are running lights and sat-nav which are two luxuries I’ve become accustomed to, with the ASX 4 featuring sat-nav, however still not even a single LED bulb to call running lights.
Switching the driving mode from 2 to 4 wheel drive changes everything and makes the ASX one of our favourite ‘soft’ off-roaders, a stylish crossover that’s capable and makes the whole experience good fun. We had the mid range 1.8 diesel, with its great fuel economy, 40mpg round town, 56mpg on the motorway and a very healthy 50mpg combined, well that’s Mitsubishi’s claimed figure…. It’s a break with tradition for me to be writing this next line…. It would appear (bearing in mind that we’ve been testing the ASX for a month and have done over 2,000 miles in it) Mitsubishi have been a tad pessimistic with these figures! On the motorway for instance (driving at normal speed, not crawling along like a granny), we were getting a fantastic 65mpg and getting an average of over 500 miles per tank of diesel!
In all the ASX really is a superb motor, it ticks all the boxes of being a truly great car to live with, regardless of your lifestyle and will pretty much cope with everything you ask of it or throw at it, all coming in at a modest price of just £22,599, which is pretty impressive if you ask me. All I know is, I’m really going to miss our little ASX.
Audi's Q5 might be at the most expensive end of the SUV / Crossover market; I actually tested the mid-range spec level with the top diesel engine under the bonnet. I have to say Audi's 3.0L TDI is one of the best, in the not just the range, but the motoring industry and it certainly doesn't disappoint in the Q5's body.
Like the rough & tough work ethic of the L200? Maybe the handsome looks and ability of the LWB Shogun, but need something on the slightly smaller size? Mitsi’s Outlander may be just the job for you. Compact and car-like enough for city centre shopping trips, yet gutsy enough to operate on all terrains as a 4-wheel drive, the Outlander is tough and able to carry and tow just about everything from jet bikes to ponies and still return a wallet pleasing mpg.