Group test: Mitsubishi ASX v Seat Ateca v Vauxhall Mokka X

Group test: Mitsubishi ASX v Seat Ateca v Vauxhall Mokka X
Group test: Mitsubishi ASX v Seat Ateca v Vauxhall Mokka X

A new version of an off-radar small SUV takes on two big-selling rivals

The Mitsubishi ASX is a forgotten small SUV. Models such as the Vauxhall Mokka X sell in huge numbers, and cars such as the Seat Ateca are winning plaudit after plaudit, but Mitsubishi’s little crossover has never really got onto people’s radars. The firm is hopping a timely facelift can do enough to change that.

Does it move the Mitsub into the consideration contenders for those seeking a £20,000 SUV? Should people stick with the Vauxhall that so many buy new? Or could a base-spec Ateca S overcome its equipment deficit and usurp them both? We took to the road to find out.

Driving performance

If we’re looking at raw performance, there’s nothing in it. All three 1.6-litre turbodiesels will do 0-60mph in around 10.5 seconds. In practice, the ASX has more shove lower down than the revvier Vauxhall – at speed, you have to change down a gear more often. The Ateca suffers even more here, meaning the driver can be busy when keeping up with fast-moving traffic.

There is a pay-off: the Seat is much more refined than the loud, raucous Vauxhall and even louder, more raucous Mitsubishi. The noise from the other two isn’t just from the engine either, with the Vauxhall’s tyres and ASX’s wind noise disturbing passengers and making the Ateca feel like a limo in comparison.

They don’t ride very well either; the Mokka X pogos over bumps and the ASX is brusque on rippled roads. Again, the Ateca is far better – although admittedly it is helped here by running 16-inch wheels; we’ve been more critical of how the Seat rides in models with 18-inch or 19-inch alloys.

So there’s a pay-off in handling with the other two? Not a bit. The Ateca shames them. The ASX has horrible steering, the Mokka X feels nervous and leans over too much; the Seat is on another level, and is even pretty good fun to drive quickly, something you really couldn’t say about the other two. Its controls feel nice to use too, way better than the Vauxhall.

Interior

In the front, all are roomy; in the rear, the Ateca noses ahead thanks to its greater space. It has the best interior quality and controls layout, with the ASX suffering from a fiddly infotainment system and squidgy seats. The Mitsubishi is way off the pace for interior quality. At least its boot isn’t far off the commodious Ateca’s: the Mokka X is smallest.

The Ateca isn’t perfect, mind: S trim brings an outdated five-inch monochrome touchscreen and no DAB; the infotainment leader is easily the Vauxhall thanks to its brilliant eight-inchtouchscreen that features OnStar connectivity.

Running costs

To buy, the Seat is the dearest, but it depreciates the least, and is the cheapest to insure and service. It costs less than the Mokka X on a PCP deal, and is just £1 a month dearer than the Mitsubishi, so you really don’t have to pay any extra to get a larger and more capable SUV than the others. Even fuel economy sits in the middle of the others, with 65.7mpg trailing the Vauxhall but bettering the Mitsubishi.

The Seat is shown up for standard kit though. You get air con, 16-inch alloys and electric windows, but the others lavish on features such as climate control, cruise control, power-fold door mirrors and even, on the Mokka X, standard sat nav and smartphone mirroring.

But it’s not enough. They may be well-equipped, but both the ASX and the Mokka X trail the excellent Seat Ateca here. It’s simply in a different class to them, with superb driving manners, a practical and well-built cabin, and manageable running costs that won’t hurt you in the back pocket. It’s easily our pick of the bunch.

 

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