Step inside and you find a roomy and well laid-out interior. The steering wheel is a good size and just feels right, and window, infotainment and all major controls fall readily to hand. Fit and finish is good and this does feel like a car that will stand the test of time.
The infotainment system is okay, with no smartphone mirroring but there is Bluetooth, digital radio and a CD player – yep, remember CDs! Tunes are belted out by a six-speaker sound system, but, unfortunately, the top-spec XLS doesn’t come with a superior unit compared with the entry models.
We like the simplicity of the cabin, and although there are some cheap materials around the place, this is, after all, a cheap car. It’s not ambitious and it isn’t pretending to be something that it’s not, like some of the rivals. And this comes across as endearing and approachable. Everything is there and all of the controls are as easy to operate as a doorbell.
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Easy does it
The ASX’s tall driving position inspires confidence in traffic and the parking lot, where it allies with light steering and parking sensors to help even the most anxious parker. With big windows and thin window frames, viewing outside is like sitting on your front porch; the world is right in front of you.
Like the interior, the driving character is all about practicality. If there was ever an award for the best learners’ car, the ASX would get it. It’s just so easy to drive and place in the lanes.
The engine upfront likes you to know it exists. So, like a child that constantly wants your attention, the 2.0-litre motor in the ASX does make a racket. Sometimes, you’d swear someone is getting house renovations done… under your bonnet.
Fortunately though the ASX comes with what’s called a CVT automatic. It doesn’t change gears but instead helps the engine deliver the power you need, deciding the revs for you. So if you’re just cruising along the engine quietens right down.
In summary, it is not the most entertaining or engaging to drive – a Mazda CX-3 will better suit enthusiastic drivers – but the ASX’s personality encompasses pure ease of driving, with pleasant steering and tidy external proportions. It’s tall driving position, and universal and user-friendly controls mean it is perfectly suited to anyone, especially those aged at either end of adult life.
5 specs you need to know:
- Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder
- Transmission and drive: CVT automatic, front-wheel drive
- ANCAP safety rating: Five Stars
- Official fuel economy: 7.6L/100km (8L/100km during test).
- Time from 0-100km/h as tested: 9.6 seconds.
- One of the pioneers of the segment
- Great visibility
- 5-year factory warranty
- Reliable and tough
- Emotionless drive
- Noisy engine
- Lacks technology compared with rivals