Mitsubishi Motors extends the concept one notch below (C-segment) with the introduction of a smaller and sportier sibling: the all-new Mitsubishi ASX compact crossover. Another “global car for the regions” from Mitsubishi Motors and therefore named and specified accordingly, Mitsubishi ASX was first launched in Japan in February 2010 (as “RVR”). After its European premiere at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, it will be retailed in Europe end of spring 2010.
Sharing the same evocative “Kawasemi Blue” introduction color, the new Mitsubishi ASX represents a marketable interpretation of the Concept-cX show car, unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, whose success convinced MMC’s management to turn it into a full-fledged production car.
Longer by nearly 20 cm (4.295 m vs the concept’s 4.11 m), slightly higher (+ 6.5cm) and wider (+ 2cm), and featuring a more upright tailgate all for the sake of optimum packaging, Mitsubishi ASX shares nonetheless Concept-cX’s basic design theme as well as its passenger car-like sure-footed stance.
Suggested by the gaping “Jet Fighter” grille – a nod to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.’s F-2 jet fighter and now a trademark feature for nearly all Mitsubishi Motors on-road vehicles in Europe (Colt, Lancer and Outlander) – this car-like “attitude” was a key direction for Mitsubishi designers: unencumbered by any marketing pressure to simulate an SUV look through heavy detailing (no need to with Pajero/Montero/Shogun and L200 already in the range…), they further developed Concept-cX’s own vocabulary towards a less polarizing yet sharp, expressive and finely executed “sports hatch” with proper presence & substance.
Retaining Concept-cX’s “compact wedge” design concept with its thrusting side character line, they optimized the overall shape, making the best use of a 14.5 cm longer wheelbase (2.67 m vs. 2.525 m) to create a lower and more balanced silhouette with a better integration of the bulging wheel arches. Accordingly, the roof line now flows down toward the rear of the car to enhance aerodynamic performance (Cd: 0.32) and to further highlight its dynamic profile.
At the front, the Jet Fighter grille appears identical to Lancer’s or Outlander’s. However, it is now framed within a more substantial looking clip, itself merging with a sculptured bonnet featuring a double bulge: this serves the dual purpose of contributing to better pedestrian safety, short overhang notwithstanding, and also to make the body more visible to the driver, improving maneuverability around town.
At the rear, the purpose was both to lower and widen the silhouette, whilst avoiding any sort of chunkiness resulting from the short overhang, hence the sharp aerodynamic lip at the bottom of the backlight, the slim slanted combination lamps as well as the wide trapezoidal license plate recess running in between.
Inside, the concept of sharp, sporty elegance continues with a clear emphasis on form, trim and material rather than the usual endless pursuit of fantasized SUV-ness.
Consistent with the exterior, Mitsubishi ASX’s cabin reflects a clear sense of “dynamic quality” as expressed through the hooded meter cluster shared with Outlander, the soft padding around the center instrument panel itself extending to the door trim or the carefully applied silver accents either side of the audio system or along the door panels.
At the same time, items such as the chromed round module circling the shift lever, the motorbike inspiration for both the silver accents either side of the console and for the meters.
Logically, the texturing and materials were chosen to achieve the same right touch and appearance. Although the interior color scheme is based on a black monotone, contrasting use of textures and materials was made to generate dynamism.
In this respect, particular attention was paid to the soft trim for areas touched by the occupants. This led to the development of a new type of two-tone textured padding with contrastive undulations for a smart, sporty feel.
The same approach prevailed for the seat upholstery where Mitsubishi designers and their partners of the textile industry created a new embossed woven material to add to the overall sense of sporty dynamic quality, while adding visual 3D drama to the understated black interior.
The latest vehicle developed from MMC’s “Project Global” mid-size platform, Mitsubishi ASX aims at blending Lancer’s passenger car on-road attitude with Outlander’s commanding driving position and convenience of its clever AWC electronically-controlled 4-Wheel Drive system.
Sharing Outlander’s long wheelbase of 2.67 m, the 34.5cm shorter Mitsubishi ASX essentially carries over most of Outlander’s lower structure as well as the basic architecture of its chassis (MacPherson front suspension, multi-link rear suspension) suitably tuned for this smaller and lighter vehicle.
A notable improvement is the introduction of an electric power steering mechanism to further lower emissions, also fitted with both tilt and telescopic adjustments, the latter being a first for Mitsubishi Motors’ current range of vehicles.
Courtesy of the all-inclusive electronic architecture of its “Project Global” platform, Mitsubishi ASX offers the full palette of active & passive safety devices, including (availability according to model and market):
160° Super-HiD “Wide Vision” xenon headlamps
Active Stability Control
Hill Start Assist system
Electronic Brake Distribution
Emergency Stop signal System
7 airbags (incl. driver knee airbag)
Low impact MIVEC Diesel
The latest contributor to MMC’s green tech strategy, Mitsubishi ASX will also inaugurate an all-new family of all-aluminum DOHC 16v 4-cylinder Common rail Direct injection “low impact” Euro 5 Diesel engines, jointly developed by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), the latter providing – amongst others – engineering expertise gained through experience in industrial and marine Diesel engines, as well as in gas turbine technologies.
Initially offered in 1.8 liter form – first with Mitsubishi ASX and later on during the second half of 2010 in the related Lancer family – this “4N13” set of powerplants is a derivative of MMC’s recent petrol engine and features innovative technologies, including a new variable geometry turbocharger as well as high-efficiency combustion characteristics that stem from the application of MMC’s and MHI’s own analytic technology.
Highlight of this technological showcase is Mitsubishi’s proprietary MIVEC variable valve timing system: a world first for passenger car Diesel engines.
Of strategic importance in Europe against high profile competitors in a very competitive segment, the very smooth running 1,798 cc “4N13” Mitsubishi low impact Diesel MIVEC engine will be further supported in its environmental mission by the adoption – standard on all versions – of a full ClearTec low CO2 package, including:
“Automatic Stop & Go” system
Closed-flow Diesel particulate filter
Electric power steering
Generation Control System
LED rear lamps (for low consumption)
Low resistance tires
In parallel, for customers looking for a petrol option, Mitsubishi ASX will also be proposed with a new 1.6 liter DOHC 16v MIVEC engine: another in-house development, this time of Mitsubishi’s own 1.5 liter engine as fitted to Colt. In this Mitsubishi ASX application, it will also be made available with the full ClearTec package and be offered with a 5-speed manual transmission.