Driving Torque

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Archive for the tag “crossover”

Mitsubishi ASX 4 2.2l Diesel 4WD – Driven and Reviewed

mitsubishi asx 4 sideIt took me a while to realise where I’d seen the basic shape of the ASX before, and then the Yen dropped. That prominent nose, disproportionately small rear end and minimal glass-housing aren’t a million miles away from the Range Rover Evoque – high praise indeed, also the Dodge Calibre – high praise……er……not-so-much. I can’t help but like the ASX’s gaping trapezoidal nose and I’m under no illusion as to why; in a range that offers the likes of the Outlander and the Mirage, the ASX (Active Sports Crossover……..erm – ASC?) is the only ‘car’ in Mitsubishi’s fleet that bears any resemblance at all to the sadly missed Lancer Evo – a car I always found appealing, even if it was in a brutish kind of way.

mitsubishi asx 4 frontThe ASX  is unashamedly a crossover, competing with the likes of the Qashqai and the Yeti, so it obviously comes complete with the compulsory elevated ride height and chunky wheels, and this only add to its appeal. Keeping glazing to a minimum also does a great job of keeping the whole look of the ASX compact – less like a minibus. It’s only really the rear-end of the ASX that lets the car down. Look on Mitsubishi’s own website and you’ll not find one picture of the ASX’s rump, and that’s because the car’s designers seem to have run out of either imagination or inclination when they got to this point. I appreciate that the slightly snubbed silhouette is due to Japan’s length based tax system, but they don’t tax pretty cars more than plain ones. It’s a shame really because the competition in this sector is fierce and I’m inclined to think that looks are a major deciding factor for crossover buyers. So to put such effort into 90% of the ASX and then leave the rear as some kind of afterthought doesn’t do it justice.

mitsubishi asx 4 rearIt’s a similar story inside the range-topping ASX 4; there’s many nice touches, with decent materials and some obvious thought put into the design, but they’re sadly let down by certain elements that are as confusing as they are annoying. Buttons and switch gear are haphazard in their placement, drinks are strictly forbidden in one of the cup-holders and the most tactile place in the whole car – the steering wheel, is made of a grade of plastic that develops a palpable tackiness after prolonged contact with human skin; If you’re going to use a pleasant, soft-touch material anywhere, it’s a good idea to start with the steering wheel. The theme continues throughout the ASX cabin; there’s a fashionable ‘Stop/Start’ button, but this means that you can’t wind down windows or listen to the Kenwood multi-media unit without the engine running, and even with it working, the Kenwood unit stubbornly refused to play music from my iPhone.

mitsubishi asx 4 boot

442 Litres of boot space

Room inside the ASX is more generous than you’d warrant, with plenty of space for five proper adults and a boot which I’m sure would suffice for anyone using it for the usual shopping/dog carrying trips. Visibility is excellent, thanks to the relatively short overhangs and lofty driving position, and parking is made even more simple thanks to the reversing camera which comes standard in the ASX 4. Another peculiarity within the whole ASX range though, is the unavailability of front or rear parking sensors which are glaringly absent on the options list. It may not be the most colossal car in the world, but parking any vehicle can only be aided by sensors – it may seem a small issue but it’s a strange omission that could ultimately sway potential buyers towards the opposition as they’ve grown accustomed to what is a commonly available feature these days, and they really don’t want to risk damaging their new pride and joy.

mitsubishi asx 4 badgeASX 4s all have selectable 4WD, ASX 2s are all driven by their front wheels, and in-between, there’s the ASX 3 – this might seem confusing but Mitsubishi always use numbers to identify their differently specced models. If  geography or lifestyle dictates that your ASX simply must be a 4×4, it’s Diesel only with a choice of a 1.8l 16V, or the 2.2l 16V unit we have on test here. The differences in performance between the two are negligible (118mph vs 115mph, 10.8s vs 10.6s 0-62mph in 2.2l and 1.8l respectively), where the 2.2l comes into its own is in terms of torque available (360Nm vs 300Nm), so if your ASX would be used as a towing vehicle, or if you must have an auto ‘box, I’d be tempted to plump for the larger engine. On the other hand, if you’re just after something with 4WD capabilities to guarantee that you’ll get to the top of the hill you live on in mid-January, I’d go for the 1.8 – it’s cheaper to run, cheaper to buy and is possibly a little more refined than this slightly gruff 2.2l.

mitsubishi asx 4 dialsOf course, if it’s just the looks and safety aspects of a crossover that floats your boat, there’s plenty of 2WD models available in both petrol and Diesel guises – they might not get you up the Eiger but they represent a big financial saving and are still generous in terms of standard kit.

mitsubishi asx 4 noseThis 2.2l Diesel might not be the most cutting edge power-plant in the world, a fact highlighted by its lack of stop-start technology, but the automatic gearbox that it’s mated to is fairly sweet around town, and shifts through its ratios with the minimum of fuss. Considering it’s relatively small wheelbase, it’s odd that the ASX possibly feels most settled when it’s eating up motorway miles. The ride that can feel a little firm over our typically scarred roads just seems to iron out any imperfections on the motorway, and you’d be surprised at how relaxing a long distance trip can be.

mitsubishi asx 4 rear and sideThe ASX is a slightly strange fish that should be given merit for standing out from the crowd. It does many things well, but unfortunately seems to do almost as many things wrong, and with no apparent reason. The problem with this is – the crossover sector is one of the most competitive in today’s market, and there’s plenty of alternatives that either look, or drive better than the ASX, and a few that do both.

By Ben Harrington

Specifications; Mitsubishi ASX 4, Engine – 2.2l DOHC Diesel, Transmission  6 speed Auto, Layout – Front Engine, 4WD, Power – 147bhp, Acceleration – 0-62mph – 10.8s, Maximum Speed – 118mph, Torque – 360Nm, Economy – 48.7mpg combined, Emissions – 153g/km CO2, Price – £24,649

For full details, go to: http://www.mitsubishi-cars.co.uk

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Peugeot 2008 1.6 e-HDi 115 Feline – Driven and Reviewed

Peugeot 2008 front 3/4The 208 signalled the start of a return to form for Peugeot upon its release in 2012. With uncluttered looks and pleasing dimensions, it’s proved a hit and Peugeot are understandably keen to cash in on this success. Previous incarnations of this range (207) have included an elongated ‘SW’ model – basically offering more room whilst avoiding the ‘estate’ moniker that every manufacturer seems chronically allergic to these days.

Not so the 208 though; for now at least, the SW has been dropped in favour of an extra zero – giving us the 2008 we have on test here. It’s the latest in a long line of ‘crossover SUVs’ to go on sale in the UK, so it’s in good company. With no lack of competition though, the 2008 is going to have to offer something a bit different to make a success of itself.

Peugeot 2008 sideThe 208 lineage is visually apparent from just a glance – everything from the nose to the B pillar is very similar, with a more utilitarian front apron added to compensate for the raised ride height – a compulsory feature on any self-respecting SUV. Things get a little different towards the rear of the 2008, with a bulge and rails having been added to the roof which culminates in a more vertical, practical rear hatch.

Aviation-style hand brake.......apparently

Aviation-style hand brake…….apparently

The overall look of the 2008 is attractive and offers more visual presence than the 208 it’s based on. It also cleverly avoids the rather awkward look of the SW model it succeeds and this theme continues on the inside. There are some styling cues added to set it apart from lesser models, not least of which is one of the most original hand brake levers I’ve ever encountered; no boring, long cylinder with a grab handle here – the 2008 sports a fist shaped ‘aviation’ device. What this achieves exactly, I’m not sure but it’s certainly a novelty that causes no offence. Elsewhere, the 2008’s cabin space is typically Peugeot – there’s the low-slung, undersized steering wheel that continues to cause debate, and some of the plastics used unfortunately hark back to the questionable QC days of the brand – a shame when they’ve proved what they can achieve in this department with the new 308.

Slide rails in cargo area - so simple yet so effective

Slide rails in cargo area – so simple yet so effective

There are other additions to the inside of the 2008 that are more function than form and add to the every-day usability of the car. Features such as cargo slide- rails on the boot carpet and wipe-clean plastics around the boot aperture are very welcome when the extra space is actually used for carrying loads – nothing worse than scuffs and marks on your new upholstery and trim!

'Cielo' glass roof option with ambient lighting

‘Cielo’ glass roof option with ambient lighting

Our range-topping Feline spec test car came equipped with the standard ‘Cielo’ glass roof and blind. If you’re markedly over 6′ tall, it might be wise to experience first-hand whether this option’s for you, as the headroom it takes up could make driving uncomfortable, even with the height-adjustable seats on their lowest setting.

Our test car came equipped with Peugeot’s 1.6l e-HDi Diesel unit in 115bhp guise – coincidentally, the same power as the legendary 1.6 205 Gti. Don’t expect similar performance to the Gti though, the 205 weighed roughly the same as your average paperclip, and the 2008…..doesn’t. Don’t expect silky-smooth levels of refinement, either – the HDi is loud and clattery in an old-school kind of way, and it takes an absolute age to get to optimum temperature. That shouldn’t necessarily sway anyone towards the petrol options either, though. What the Diesel lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in performance and economy. It’s one of those engines that belies its official 0-62mph time of 10.4s, feeling far more perky in the real world, and ultimately, SUVs and crossovers get away with a bit more noise as it goes hand-in-hand with the rugged image they offer. There is a 92hp derivative of the same engine available that returns slightly better economy and even dips below the magical 100g/km Co2 mark (98g/km), but I’m not sure that the money saved would compensate for the extra 3 seconds on the 0-62 dash.

The raised ride-height doesn't impact too negatively on road manners

The raised ride-height doesn’t impact too negatively on road manners

Adding ground clearance to a car, even if it’s just a few inches, can change its road manners beyond all recognition. Not so the 2008 – Peugeot have kept things stiff and responsive, avoiding the wallowing sensation that ‘proper’ off-roaders can be blighted with.The levels of grip provided are surprisingly good, you just need to watch out for torque-steer if things get over-zealous on the loud pedal. This obviously means that once the tarmac runs out though, the 2008 isn’t going to act like the proverbial mountain goat – it’s just not going to happen. What Peugeot have provided to add some 4×4-like credibility is a very Land-Roverish function called Grip Control (standard on VTi 120, e-HDi 92(manual) and e-HDi 115 models in Allure and Feline specs). What this function provides is fairly self-explanatory, but to see it in action – go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTVPxHX1jZo&feature=youtu.be

Peugeot's Grip Control system

Peugeot’s Grip Control system

This area of the market has grown substantially over the last few years and it shows no signs of abating. The moral backlash against 4x4s hasn’t decreased their popularity at all, but the inflated price of fuel and VED has resulted in the advent of ‘crossovers’ that combine the rugged looks with more reasonable running costs. This means that the 2008 has some pretty stiff competition, but with the right engine, it’s got the looks and quality that’ll certainly appeal.

By Ben Harrington

 

Specifications; Peugeot 2008 Feline, Engine – 1.6l e-HDi, Layout – Front engine, FWD, Power – 115bhp, Torque – 270Nm @ 1750rpm, Emissions – 106g/km CO2, Economy – 70.6mpg combined, Maximum Speed – 117mph, Acceleration – 10.4s 0-60mph, Price – £19,445

Peugeot's 2008 - the first car to come complete with it's own Standard Lamp.........that's a lie.

Peugeot’s 2008 – the first car to come complete with it’s own Standard Lamp………that’s a lie.

 

 

 

 

 

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