Monday, 5 August 2013

COLUMN - August 2013

Here is my column from The Local Herald this month. Keeping with previous months, I featured yet more reviews. Discussed this month were two Mitsubishis; the updated ASX and all-new Outlander. Both of these can be found in full on the reviews page. Enjoy!

By the time this reaches you we will be in August, hoping that the fantastic weather we are having at the time of writing has continued right through, and we’ve actually had a summer for once. I could have done with a few convertibles to test really, but that’s just not the way it goes, and chances are if I booked a convertible in it would rain! What I do have for you this month is yet more reviews- two in fact. Both are 4WD Mitsubishi’s with diesel engines, but there are more differences than similarities.

I shall start with the ASX. This is a 5-seater crossover which I reviewed last year. It has recently undergone some cosmetic updating- a nip here and tuck there- and has come out the other side looking younger and refreshed. I like the styling of the ASX; it doesn’t overcomplicate things and looks good for it. There have been some updates on the inside too, and these are welcomed. The improvement of cabin quality is appreciated as this was a previous downfall. In the ASX the plastics are soft touch and have a quality feel, and there’s plenty of leather around too.

The engine isn’t as agricultural as you might expect from a Mitsubishi either. I tested the 1.8-litre diesel (there’s also a 1.6-litre petrol) which develops 115PS and 300Nm. It doesn’t like to be revved- although realistically all diesels don’t- but in the mid-range it’s smooth and refined. Power goes through a 6-speed gearbox to the road, and that makes a significant difference to this car. It’s comfortable on the motorway, and the ASX 4 I tested was well equipped with reversing camera, full-leather heated seats, sat-nav, keyless entry/go, cruise control and Bluetooth. Certainly a lot of car, and definitely worth a look at for your next family car.

If you look at the ASX but think “It’s nice… but I could use two extra seats” then fear not, because the new Outlander may be worth considering. It offers seven seats and still has a boot left for some shopping bags.

The design team have shown they have some creativity because this Mitsubishi looks like no other in the model line-up. It seems to be an unusual case of concept car styling which made it through to the final design. It doesn’t disappoint on the inside either, with some nice materials and smart cabin layout which helps prove this car really has what it takes.

The back is where it gets really clever. First you have the fold-up third row seats, which can be done one-handed. The middle row can also fold flat, leaving a truly vast space for just about anything you could think of putting in there.

The engine is also worth a mention. It’s a 2.2-litre diesel engine producing 150PS and 380Nm. Thanks to start-stop technology it comes in at 140g/km putting it in the same VED band as the ASX. That’s band E, at £125 for 12 months tax. Not too bad at all for a large seven-seater.

Again the Outlander is well-equipped, particularly if you go for the higher-spec levels. It’s also comfortable too, but experiences some body roll through corners if you approach them briskly. It also feels big on the road, and you find yourself breathing in when you get to a street with double parked cars. That aside, it’s a pleasure to drive, and a great car for the school run or the larger family.

As always full reviews can be found on my website. I hope you’re enjoying the summer, and I’ll be back with more next month!

Dan

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