When I was a laaitie, my dad had a real character as a colleague.
One of those people who had grown-ups and children in stitches without even trying to be funny. I can clearly recall my dad recite one of Hein Koen’s little gems one evening after work.
Hein had seen a vehicle somewhat foreign to the confines of the Southern Cape town of George and ran into the office to share his story.
In his breathless efforts to pronounce the rare Mitsubishi bussie he had sighted, all he could mutter was a very fast and high-pitched: ‘’Misi-bisi busi’’.
I don’t think his colleagues or my mom and siblings who got fed the delayed version of that story ever actually knew what he was trying to say about the vehicle, because the extended laughter after ‘’Misi-bisi boesie’’ was simply too overwhelming for any conversation to continue.
The reason for my little stroll down sentimental lane is that that was the sum total of my experience with Mitsubishi vehicles … until I was handed the key to a shiny white ASX a few weeks ago to pen my honest driving impressions as a non-petrol head.
I have never even been in a Mitsubishi before getting behind the wheel of what the Japanese manufacturer calls Active Smart Crossover.
And being fortunate enough to test the top-of-range model in the manual offering, the 2.0L MIVEC GLS RF, I got a taste of all the bells and whistles. A very loud whistle I should add. Had you quizzed me about Rockford Fosgate a few weeks ago, my best guess would have been that ‘’he’’ is a property mogul is Manhattan.
Turns out that is in fact the signature branding on the car’s sound system. And boy, was realty’s loss my gain. With a total output of 710 watts over nine speakers – with the sub woofer built into the rear right panel of the boot the crown jewel – and all sorts of fancy touch screen sound settings, I was reaching for the heavy artillery.
Eminem, 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg’s excessive base did not only have the rear view mirror in a constant spasm, but provided a therapeutic rhythmic massage from under the front seats.
And should you prefer something more civilised, the clearness of Maria Callas’ Habanera also felt like sitting in the opera house (for the first time I should add). This model is the only one in the entire range that sports this impressive sound system and in my book is the standout feature of the car.
Together with a very responsive 110kW engine, a fulllength panoramic glass roof with illumination and one-touch cover, heated black leather seats of which the drivers side’s settings are fully electronic, and rear view camera with parking sensors makes driving the ASX a pleasure, especially stepping out of my Yaris.
The space is impressive too, with my two toddlers’ seats disappearing in the back and the boot swallowing my entire trolley of monthly groceries with a large bag of dog food and 18 toilet paper rolls in tow.
While pondering over whether all of this is worth forking out R414 900 for, I would have to weigh it up against the things that bothered me. Compared to a German car, there is a definite clunk in the overall feel. Doors sounding rather tinny when closing and indicator arms and buttons feeling very plasticky.
Further disappointments include the struggle to find reverse at the first attempt, the absence of a sixth gear, the lack of sufficient space between the gear lever knob and front console and the incredibly feeble wipers that look like they belong on a 1982 Citi Golf.
But quite ironically I got used to these little annoyances faster than I could acclimatise back on Planet Yaris.
So yes, if I could afford it, I would buy it. Ever since my little fling with the ASX, I’ve been thinking why I have never realistically considered looking at anything Mitsubishi has to offer.
Possibly because I would still be chuckling over Hein’s miss-pronunciation if I never had the opportunity to drive off in one. Although I have come to the realisation that this brand is in fact no joke, I will still bare a smile when my mind wanders back to my time in the ASX.
And what will stay with me this time is the reflection from my pearly whites in the three neatly-arranged diamonds on the steering wheel.