The crossover. Every automaker might have a definition for this recent phenomenon of the auto trade but they’re pretty much agreed that the common links are extra ride height, big wheels and a station-wagon tail door.The crossover is the new century’s answer to crowded - and decaying – roads and yummy mummies’ desire to be fashionable yet practical while hauling shopping and brood around the malls.TOUGH COMPETITIONThere’s even a perception that because their crossover is chunky and rugged it’ll be safer in less-salubrious parts of town – Rambo-style. Oh yeah, and their crossover, perhaps a Mitsubishi ASX (Active Smart Crossover) just revised and re-launched in South Africa, will also handle the gravel and sometimes slippery accesses that are the downside of country living.Image galleryThe crossover will even handle a powerboat or caravan if such is/are essential to their lifestyle.There’s a lot of them, too. Think BMW X1, Chevrolet Captiva, Citroen Aircross, Jeep Compass, Mazda CX-5, Renaultt Koleos, SsangYong Korando, VW Tiguan. Kia Sportage and Hyundai’s iX35. Even the market is tough...The first ASX arrived in SA back in September 2011 around the time Mercedes dumped the Mitsubishi brand after many years and the Imperial Empire picked it up in SA and ran with it, eventually rather successfully with the addition of the latest Lancer Evo, Pajero Sport and the Triton bakkie, building its stockholding from R8.7-million to the current R74-million and doubling the number of workshop staff nationwide in a chain of what will soon be 55 dealers.ESSENTIALLY A FACELIFTSoon to join the range are the next Outlander as a petrol/battery plug-in hybrid (capable of 55km on electric power alone) and a minicar called the Mirage, a modern version of the once-popular Colt, to challenge the likes of Ford’s Figo and Kia’s Picanto.Close to 2000 ASX’s have been sold in SA (300000 worldwide, I was told) and, in SA at least, 60% of the buyers have been women.The latest ASX is essentially a facelift of the original. It comes with new and darker cabin trim but the same hard-wearing plastic surfaces, a multi-function (cruise control and audio) steering wheel and a colour trip-data info screen display standard across the Lancer and ASX ranges, Bluetooth connectivity for up to SEVEN devices, “trainable” voice control, cruise control and a high-spec reversing camera on the top-spec models.A nine-speaker RockfordFosgate audio system is a high-powered option.The cars already have a five-star Euro safety rating and add wide-opening rear doors, 60/40 split rear seats that recline or can fold and tumble to create a flat load floor and – nice touch – there’s a huge glass roof. The boot volume is 442 litres or 1193 litres with the seats folded.FRONT-WHEEL DRIVEFuel consumption is rated as 7.5 litres of petrol/100km though I didn’t get close to that during the shortish test drive on the back roads of Johannesburg’s northernmost northern suburban sprawl and through the 1000ha Rhino and Lion reserve north-west of the city – the rugged route intended to show off the ASX’s rough-road capabilities.Missed out on the lions and rhino but I guess the traction and stability control systems were doing their job. The ASX is, however, only front-wheel drive.Power comes from a 1998cc four-cylinder capable of 110kW at 6000rpm and 197Nm at 4200rpm (though Mitsubishi says 85% of the latter is on stream from 2000rpm). It drives through a five-slot manual gearbox or – the top model – a six-speed constantly variable transmission (CVT).The fuel tank holds a handy 63 litres and Mitsubishi promises 0-100km/h in nine seconds and 194km/h for the manual models and 11.5 and 190km/h for the CVT.Anti-lock brakes with emergency braking pressure reserve, hill-start and traction control and cornering stability control are standard along with seven air bags (the odd man out for the driver’s knees) and the all-important pothole beating ground clearance is 195mm.The ASX is4295mm long, 1770mm wide and 1625mm high, including the roof luggage rails.THREE-YEAR WARRANTYThe GLX and GLS add keyless ignition (push-button), auto aircon and the glass roof (the base model is a GL) – but (depending on model) have indicator repeaters in the external power/folding/heatable mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, auto-on headlights with washers, front fog lights, power windows and multi-adjustable steering-wheel - and here are the prices:Mitsubishi ASX GL – R279 900Mitsubishi ASX GLX– R304 900Mitsubishi ASX GLS (with RockfordFosgate sound) – R334 900which include a three-year or 100 000km warranty, five-year or 90 000km service plan (15000km intervals and the whole package rides on 16” (GL) or 17” (GLX,GLS) alloy-rimmed wheels.The GLS and GLX are available with leather upholstery and the GLX adds self-levelling to the high-intensity discharge headlights.