2010 Mitsubishi ASX – Click above for high-res image gallery

Signaling a new path for Mitsubishi's assault on the automotive market, the 2010 Mitsubishi ASX will take the three-diamond brand away from its concentration on SUVs to "a manufacturer of non-mainstream environmentally friendly passenger cars & crossovers, retaining a presence in the 'authentic off-roader' sector."

Combining the atmosphere of the Outlander with the "on-road attitude" of the Lancer, the four-wheel-drive ASX will show up in America later this year as the Outlander Sport with a 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder from the Lancer and an Outlander-besting 30-or-so miles per gallon. Get a good look at Mitsubishi's way forward in the gallery of high-res photos below, and feel free to read the good news in the press release after the jump.


Related GalleryGeneva 2010: Mitsubishi ASX

Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
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MITSUBISHI ASX

Game changer

Exactly 40 years since it became a separate company (1) - and the very same year the Mitsubishi group of companies itself celebrates its 140th anniversary – Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is embarking in a new strategic direction.

Evolution
With a long term view on the evolution of the market and the very tangible signals received from (European) customers, MMC has committed to move away from being an SUV-focused nameplate with a limited offer of on-road vehicles to a manufacturer of non-mainstream environmentally friendly passenger cars & crossovers, retaining a presence in the "authentic off-roader" sector.

Whilst the evergreen Pajero/Montero/Shogun and L200 heavy-duty 4x4s are confirmed in their workhorse abilities targeting essentially professional users, a renewed and extended range of passenger cars have started to emerge. All developed upon contemporary architectures, they feature proprietary green technologies well suited to their respective positioning:
- A-Segment: i-MiEV (to be launched in Europe late 2010) => electric power
- B-Segment: Colt family => "ClearTec" low CO2 package, incl. "Automatic Stop & Go"
- C-Segment: Lancer family => all-new 4N13 Euro-5 Diesel engine (3rd quarter 2010)

Reaching out
One step beyond, MMC is now introducing a family of on-road crossovers next to these passenger cars: riding on a new market wave where an ever growing number of entrants (from 2 in 2005 to 12 to 15 expected in 2010) translates into an equally growing volume (from 104,000 units in 2005 to 458,000 expected in 2010), they are meant to extend the Brand's on-road vehicle footprint.

As such, Mitsubishi Motors' crossovers represent sharper alternatives to more traditional passenger cars, consistent with the Brand's sporty 4x4 heritage, its non-mainstream/right-brained positioning and its public perception.

Furthermore, they will allow Mitsubishi Motors to reach out to new customers, the recently revised Outlander setting the tone for this new approach with its 82% conquest rate: perceived and adopted by European customers (2) as a sharper alternative to D-segment station/sports wagons rather than the mid-size SUV it was supposed to be, it has brought a new meaning to the Mitsubishi name in the marketplace.

De facto, it was this very perception that dictated Outlander's significant evolution half way through its product cycle towards a more mature, better appointed, even more on-road oriented all-weather "mid-size crossover", customers caring clearly more for its passenger car driving dynamics and its MPV-like interior flexibility than whatever soft/off-road capabilities it may have.

Today, Mitsubishi Motors extends the concept one notch below (C-segment) with the introduction of a smaller and sportier sibling: the all-new ASX compact crossover. Another "global car for the regions" from Mitsubishi Motors and therefore named and specified accordingly, ASX (3) was first launched in Japan in February 2010 (as "RVR"). After its European premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, it will be retailed in Europe end of spring 2010.

(1) The "Motor Vehicle Division" of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. was spun off in 1970 to become "Mitsubishi Motors Corporation", marking the start of a new expansion.

(2) 130,166 units sold in Europe since launch (vs. 328,212 units worldwide) making it its largest market.

(3) Amongst others, "ASX" refers to the Mitsubishi ASX show car unveiled at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show: previewing the first generation Outlander - and as such the actual forerunner of the new car - this concept was also one of the first vehicle, if not the first, to coin the term "crossover".

From Concept-cX to ASX reality
Sharing the same evocative "Kawasemi Blue" introduction color (1), 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, 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 (http://www.mhi.co.jp/en/products/detail/f-2_close_support_fighter.html) 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: .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.

(1) "Kawasemi" refers in Japanese to the kingfisher bird, a turquoise blue feathered animal which lives upstream by the clearest possible waters: a powerful symbol for MMC's contribution to sustainable development.

Dynamic quality
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, 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 (1) to add to the overall sense of sporty dynamic quality, while adding visual 3D drama to the understated black interior.

(1) Double stitched leather is also available – depending on models and market.

Lancer + Outlander
The latest vehicle developed from MMC's "Project Global" mid-size platform, 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 (1).

Sharing Outlander's long wheelbase of 2.67 m, the 34.5cm shorter 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, 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,
- Traction Control,
- Hill Start Assist system,
- ABS,
- Electronic Brake Distribution,
- Brake Assist,
- Emergency Stop signal System,
- 7 airbags (incl. driver knee airbag)
- etc,...

All this, combined with Mitsubishi's RISE structure (2)

(1) Both 2WD and 4WD versions will be available (depending on market and specifications)
(2) This proprietary "Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution" structural design brings dramatic advances in multi-directional impact safety performance. dispersing energy loads during side and rear crashes and controlling distortion

Low impact MIVEC Diesel
The latest contributor to MMC's green tech strategy, 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 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
- etc,...

In parallel, for customers looking for a petrol option, 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 ASX application, it will also be made available with the full ClearTec package and be offered with a 5-speed manual transmission.

As a result, ASX's performance figures read as follows (data subject to final homologation):
1.8 DiD 2WD 1.8 DiD 4WD 1.6 petrol 2WD
(6-speed M/T) (6-speed M/T) (5-speed M/T)

Displacement 1,798 cc 1,798 cc 1,590 cc
Output* 150 ps @ 4,000 rpm 150 ps @ 4,000 rpm 117 ps @ 6,000 rpm
Torque* 300 Nm @ 2000-3000 rpm 300 Nm @ 2000-3000 rpm 154 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
CO2* 145 g/km 150 g/km 135 g/km
*Internal test result
At a later stage, a 116ps / 300 Nm "low power" version of the 4N13 Diesel engine will also be made available in selected markets.

Lounge style
Stylishly restrained, ASX's interior is also a very pleasant place to lounge in, whether in its layout, its functionality or its features.

Making the best usage of its long 2.67 m wheelbase, the 5-seater ASX brings a comprehensive set of utility features well suited to both its compact size and the likely loading needs of its potential customers in its 416 L at rear seat back angle at 17 degrees (forward position) (393L at rear seat back angle at 23 degrees) trunk (1):
- Adjustable rear back rests
- Rear armrest with:
o ski slot
o cup-holders
- 60:40 split rear seat,
- Easy-fold rear bench,
- Under floor tray (approx. 30l),
- Convenience hooks + lighting

The lounge feeling is first felt thanks to ASX's panoramic glass roof: a first for Mitsubishi Motors, this wide UV-proof glass panel is equally enjoyable during day time (as a sun roof) as night time (as a moon roof), courtesy of the ambient "Moonlight" LED lighting that frames it. This panoramic glass roof comes standard with a power sunshade.

This is also tangible though a host of equipments, even from the entry model featuring standard items such as: radio CD w/MP3, AUX-in and 4 speakers, manual air conditioning, 7 airbags, Active Stability Control & Traction Control systems, etc,...

Further up the line, automatic air conditioning, rain & dusk sensors, cruise control, multi-function steering wheel, rear parking monitor, Bluetooth™ & USB connectivity, privacy glass, Super HiD "Wide Vision" xenon headlamps, keyless operation system, engine stop-start button, leather upholstery, Mitsubishi Multi-Communication System with HDD navigation system & music server, Rockford Fosgate™ Premium audio, etc,... are also available with ASX (2).


(1) VDA measured – All seats in place
(2) Depending on market and specifications

***

PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS
(All data subject to final homologation)

BODY:
- Length: 429.5 cm
- Width: 177 cm
- Height: 161.5 cm (162.5 cm with roof rails)
- Wheelbase: 267 cm
- Tracks: 152.5 cm / 152.5 cm
- Weight: From 1,270 kg to 1,525 kg
- Cd: .32
- Tire size: 215/65R16
- Trunk capacity: 416 L (VDA measured – All seats in place)

ENGINES:
- 1.8 DiD MIVEC:
o DOHC 16v MIVEC
o Common Rail, Direct injection, Variable geometry turbocharger w/intercooler

- 1.6 (petrol) MIVEC:
o DOHC 16v MIVEC

1.8 DiD 2WD 1.8 DiD 4WD 1.6 petrol 2WD
(6-speed M/T) (6-speed M/T) (5-speed M/T)

Displacement 1,798 cc 1,798 cc 1,590 cc
Output* 150 ps @ 4,000 rpm 150 ps @ 4,000 rpm 117ps @ 6,000 rpm
Torque* 300 Nm @ 2000-3000 rpm 300 Nm @ 2000-3000 rpm 152 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
CO2* 145 g/km 150 g/km 135 g/km
Top speed (where legal)* 200 km/h 198 km/h 183 km/h
0 – 100 km/h* 9"7 9"7 11"4
*Internal test result

TRANSMISSIONS:
- 1.8 DiD MIVEC:
o 6 M/T
o 2WD or electronically controlled 4WD "AWC" system

- 1.6 (petrol) MIVEC:
o 5 M/T
o 2WD

***