Both Honda and Mitsubishi are well-established brands here in Australia, so it's little surprise that the CR-V and the ASX each have a loyal following. The ASX was Australia's most popular small SUV in 2020 - the model clearly has plenty going for it.
Mitsubishi has an impressive reputation for creating SUVs, and the ASX follows on in this tradition. Honda's CR-V has never been an SUV bestseller, but Honda's formidable name for luxury and performance means that owners who do invest in a CR-V are rarely disappointed.
Here we compare the pros and cons of each model, before deciding on an overall winner in the CR-V vs ASX challenge.
Both models remain largely unchanged from previous years. The CR-V has had a bit of an exterior makeover, as well as one or two interior tweaks. The diesel variant has been withdrawn, meaning that for the moment only petrol versions are available - there is a CR-V hybrid in production, but it's not available here.
The Mitsubishi has had a few minor improvements in 2021 - additions such as mood lighting and an updated front end have given the ASX a bit of a facelift. Essentially, though, like the CR-V, very little has changed from 2020 except the asking price.
The ASX is roomy in front, with a well set out dash, including an 8" infotainment screen that's compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The driver's seat is set quite high, which some people may find off-putting, whilst others will love it. The interior can appear a little flimsy in places. Plenty of black, shiny plastic may not be to everyone's taste.
Rear seating is reasonably spacious. Legroom can be an issue if the front seats are pushed back. Taller passengers may encounter problems, particularly if a version with a sunroof is chosen.
In keeping with Honda's focus on high-end materials and a quality finish, the CR-V benefits from an interior that's high-quality and extremely roomy. The infotainment screen is a similar size and has similar capabilities to that of the ASX. A variety of tech, such as parking sensors (which aren't available on the ASX), make driving the Honda a joy.
The Honda comes in five-seater and seven-seater variants. Well-known for its rear spaciousness, like the ASX it seats three passengers in the second row with ease. The two third-row seats in the seven-seater variant are good for occasional use, but probably too cramped for regular journeys, especially by adults.
Neither exterior has changed much since 2020. The CR-V has had some dark chrome added and a black grille, as well as new LED headlights and a tail fin. The ASX benefits from a dark grille and plenty of shiny chrome. Funky front lights add character. Ultimately, your preference will depend on the type of aesthetics you value - functionally both exteriors are pretty similar.
In terms of performance, you tend to get what you pay for. The ASX has a 2l petrol engine, with a five-speed manual for the entry-level model and an automatic gearbox for the top-of-the-range Exceed.
Irritatingly it's not possible to get a manual with AWD - the entry-level is only available in 2WD. The absence of turbo-charge, coupled with some lack-lustre steering and a considerable amount of noise, results in acceptable, but not outstanding, performance. Fuel efficiency is around 7.7l/100km.
In performance terms, the CR-V definitely has the edge, but you do have to pay significantly more for it. Reviewers are quick to praise its turbo-charged 1.5l, 140kw/240Nm petrol engine and superb handling. Fresh stabilising bars have stifled previous criticisms of roll during cornering. Fuel efficiency is around 7.31/100km - less than the ASX, but not significantly so.
- The CR-V is extremely roomy, particularly in the rear. There is also plenty of storage space.
- Reviewers are generally very positive about the Honda's driving performance. If you're a driver who likes to drive, the Honda could be for you.
- Honda has an enviable safety record and has invested heavily in innovative tech to support this. Like other models from Honda, the CR-V incorporates the Honda Smartsense package of sophisticated autonomous safety features.
- The CR-V is a good-looking car, both inside and out. The use of quality materials and attention to detail in the design results in a high-end, polished look that's always appealing.
- Like the CR-V, the ASX is spacious, particularly in the rear. There is also a good level of storage.
- Apple Carplay and Android Auto are available in all variants (they're not available in the basic CR-V).
- The infotainment system in the ASX is generally considered easier to navigate than the CR-V's offering.
- With an entry price of $23,990, the ASX is significantly cheaper than the CR-V, which starts at around $30,490.
Why You Should buy a Honda CR-V
Hondas hold their value well, so it's likely that you'll enjoy a good ROI when you sell the CR-V. Whilst the CR-V doesn't excel in any particular area, it's very strong on driving performance, passenger comfort and storage space. If you like to drive, need to stow plenty of kit and have larger teens who need spacious rear accommodation, the CR-V is a good choice.
The main drawback of the CR-V is its run-of-the-mill tech. Whilst its infotainment, suite of safety features and driver assistance features do the job, they're not exceptional for an SUV of its class.
Why You Should buy a Mitsubishi ASX
Mitsubishi have a good understanding of the role an SUV needs to perform. The ASX encapsulates all the essentials that are needed. In addition to plenty of space (rear passengers enjoy a good amount of room), there is also more than sufficient storage.
If you tend to travel off-road from time to time, the AWD version could be ideal. A high-set chassis provides plenty of clearance, enabling the vehicle to cope with challenging terrain and weather conditions.
Despite concerns about comfort levels over rough surfaces, the ASX provides a smooth, comfortable ride on urban roads.
The driving experience is average, but certainly not unacceptable.
If you are looking for a budget SUV that will tick most peoples' boxes most of the time, the ASX is an economical investment. Resale value can be uncertain, so this SUV is one that's best bought as a keeper.
The significant price difference between the CR-V and the ASX is probably going to determine which one you opt for. The Honda is a more powerful, high-end vehicle, but does cost several thousand dollars more.
That said, if you're going to put in plenty of mileage, the CR-V is going to give you the edge when it comes to comfortable, enjoyable motoring. Ideal for longer journeys, it offers high levels of comfort, even over rough terrain and on longer trips.
The ASX is cheaper, so perfect for families on a budget. It does everything an SUV should do, and, if you stay local and stick to urban roads, it's going to offer excellent value.
For drivers who stay local and who aren't too fussed about a premium driving experience, the ASX is well worth considering. For owners who love to drive and enjoy adventuring further afield, the extra cost of the CR-V is probably worth it.
Find a Honda CR-V or Mitsubishi ASX on Cartopia at a great price, with financing options available through Credit One - Australia's best-rated finance broker.