Mitsubishi has high hopes for the ASX to help it achieve its goal of moving the brand away from large, rugged, gas-guzzling off-roaders to more compact, refined and fuel-efficient SUVs. Mitsubishi expects that sales of the ASX will soon surpass the Colt subcompact to become its topseller in Europe.
For the fiscal year ending in March 2011, Mitsubishi has a target of selling 37,000 ASXs in Europe and Russia. As part of the automaker's plan to shift to more fuel-economic vehicles, some of these models are now being referred to as crossovers instead of SUVs.
The ASX is labeled as a compact crossover while the Outlander is regarded as mid-sized crossover. For segmentation purposes, Automotive News Europe has lumped the ASX and Outlander to be medium SUVs.
Mitsubishi had been mostly known in Europe to be a manufacturer of heavy-duty models such as the Pajero large SUV and L200 pickup but now, the carmaker wishes to reinvent itself as a maker of more car-like SUVs.
Mitsubishi kicked off this transition by launching the second-generation Outlander, which arrived in autumn 2005.
While the ASX has the same platform as the larger Outlander and has 70% of the Outlander's parts, the ASX stands out due to its low CO2 output. Its cleanest engine -- a 1.6-liter gasoline unit has emissions of only 135 grams per kilometer of CO2.
On the other hand, the cleanest Outlander engine has a 2.0-liter diesel that emits 183g/km. The emissions of the ASX are lower because its range consists of new, downsized, more fuel-efficient engines.
Another advantage it has is that it's about 200kg (about 440 pounds) lighter than the Outlander (1,270kg vs. 1,465kg).