"How much does this ASX cost?" a friend asked. I wasn't sure, so I guesstimated and said between R450 000 and R500 000.
And then I checked the price and was astounded to see the Mitsubishi ASX model I'd been driving for a week costs R399 995. A number I was pleasantly surprised to see, because I thought it was more expensive.
What has changed?
The Japanese compact SUV on sale since 2011, has received a facelift for 2020. You'll notice a new radiator grille, and lower bumper section. To me, the car looks a lot more handsome than its predecessor; the new face definitely had passers-by taking a second glance at the Mitsubishi.
There are LED headlights, and daytime driving lights, and the rear also features a myriad of LEDs with the brake lights, taillights, reverse lights, and indicators all in a one-piece cluster.
Our test unit was decked out in one of the new hues: Sterling Silver.Image: Quickpic
Inside, the ASX has a new grain of leather seats; an aspect perhaps lost on most as the cabin is dominated by the massive panoramic glass roof and a new 20cm touchscreen infotainment system with mobile phone mirror link.
It quickly has Apple CarPlay displayed in seconds after connecting my phone via the USB port. Other niceties include a voice control recognition feature, and keyless entry and ignition
The interior offers all that one would need, with a tilt and telescopic adjustable steering column and a multi-function leather steering wheel standard fare of course. The plastics used in the cabin are perhaps of slightly less quality in comparison to a Mazda CX-3 for example.
Nevertheless, it's a comfortable place to be with electrically-powered seats, mirrors and windows offering ease of convenience.
What's it like to drive?
The ASX is a city car, it's for carting around family and things in its 406-litre sized boot. Power comes from the same normally-aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine with variable valve timing producing 110kW and a rather paltry 197Nm.
The benefit of the engine not being turbocharged is that it is quite responsive. The gearbox in use is a CVT unit and it does a satisfactory job albeit with a slight drone now and then when I mashed the throttle.
It's a really comfortable car to move around the city in, offering good ride comfort thanks to its fully-independent suspension.
I found the seats very comfortable and a short drive to Gordon's Bay from the Cape Town CBD proved to be an effortless jaunt with hardly any wind noise creeping into the cabin despite driving at the legal speed limit.
I averaged around 10.5-litres/100km, not too bad for mostly city driving, and a drive to the GB.
In summary, the 4.3-metre long ASX proved to be a consummate compact crossover that's hard to fault, especially at a competitive price of R399 995. Included in the price is a five-year or 90 000km service plan.