Mitsubishi v MG v Haval: Which cheap SUV is best-specced?

Mitsubishi's ASX is the sales and value-for-money king in the small SUV market, but two rising contenders from China want in on the action. How do they stack up on paper?

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Mike Costello
Comparisons Editor

The Mitsubishi ASX isn’t the newest design out there, but regular feature updates and always sharp pricing have kept it atop the sales charts against a long list of competitors.

But two much-improved brands from rising automotive power China are attempting to poach the same value-conscious buyers who’ve long favoured the Mitsubishi.

They are the already big-selling MG ZST launched last year, and the Haval Jolion that is just arriving in dealers now. Both look the goods, and will no doubt prompt small SUV buyers into doing their research. So, we thought to offer some help.

We actually haven’t driven the Haval yet because it’s yet to properly launch to the press, hence why we’re using these overseas photos.

You can read our reviews on the Mitsubishi here, and MG here.

Given this trio’s budget buyer focus, we’re working on a $30,000 budget. This won’t go nearly as far as you might think at this end of the market, at least not at the moment.

In lieu of a proper in-the-metal comparison test this time, we’re doing an on-paper one. Normal operations will resume next week!

Prices and grades:

While the Mitsubishi ASX ES grade kicks off at $24,990 drive-away, the mid-range ASX LS sneaks under our budget at $29,990 drive-away.

The MG ZS range kicks off at just $21,990 drive-away, which undercuts all comers. But our budget allows us to step into the updated ZST model in base Excite spec grade for $29,490

Finally the Haval Jolion Lux LE grade is priced at $27,990 drive-away, whereas the Jolion Ultra LE costs $30,990. So, it’s the base model tested here. 

Mitsubishi ASX: 

  • Base ASX ES: $24,990
  • Featured ASX LS: $29,990
  • Range-topping ASX Exceed: $36,490

MG ZS:

  • Base ZS Excite: $21,990 
  • Featured ZST Excite: $29,490
  • Range-topping ZST Essence: $32,990

Haval Jolion:

  • Featured Jolion Lux LE: $27,990
  • Range-topping Jolion Ultra LE: $30,990

You can find the Mitsubishi offers page here and the MG offers page here. It’s also worth checking out the official Haval website to see if there are any deals on at the moment.

Standard features:

At this price point they all get alloy wheels with a temporary spare, roof rails, LED headlights, proximity key access, auto wipers, and reverse parking sensors.

Inside all come with climate control, push-button start, touchscreens, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, as well as dual front, front-side, and full-length curtain airbags.

In terms of active safety all come with autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure alert, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert at the rear, and auto high-beam shutoff.

But there are some variances as the table below shows.

The Mitsubishi has larger alloys than the other pair but alone misses adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera and rear USB points. It also uses fabric seats rather than synthetic leather, which all comes down to personal taste.

The MG is the only car here with factory satellite navigation. All three have Apple CarPlay but only the Mitsubishi and MG have Android Auto too.

You can find further details on all the options and inclusions offered across all variants in the Mitsubishi ASX, MG ZST and Haval Jolion specifications sheet .

Despite being cheaper than the others, the Haval alone has heated front seats with driver-side electric adjustment, cross-traffic alert with braking, a centre airbag, a driver attention monitor and traffic-sign recognition.

Mitsubishi ASX LSMG ZST ExciteHaval Jolion Lux LE
Drive-away price$29,990$29,490$27,990
Wheels18-inch alloy17-inch alloy17-inch alloy
Spare wheelSpace-saverSpace-saverSpace-saver
Roof railsStandardStandardStandard
HeadlightsLEDLEDLED
Proximity keyStandardStandardStandard
Rain-sensing wipersStandardStandardStandard
Parking sensorsReverseReverseReverse
Cruise controlPassiveAdaptiveAdaptive
Seat trimFabricSynthetic leatherSynthetic leather
Seat heatingNoNoStandard
Driver-seat adjustmentManualManualElectric
A/C typeClimate controlClimate controlDual climate control
Parking cameraReverse360-degree360-degree
Button startStandardStandardStandard
Touchscreen8.0-inch10.1-inch10.25-inch
BluetoothStandardStandardStandard
USB pointsFrontFront and rearFront and rear
Apple CarPlayStandardStandardStandard
Android AutoStandardStandardNo
Digital radioStandardNoNo
Satellite navigationNoStandardNo
Speakers466
AirbagsDual front
Front-side
Full curtain
Driver knee
Dual front
Front-side
Full curtain
Dual front
Front-side
Full curtain
Front centre
Auto emergency brakingStandardStandardStandard
Blind-spot monitorStandardStandardStandard
Lane-keeping aidAudibleSteeringSteering
Rear cross-traffic alertStandardStandardStandard, braking
Automatic high-beamStandardStandardStandard
Driver monitorNoNoStandard
Traffic sign recognitionNoNoStandard

Colours

We get asked about colour palettes all the time, so here goes.

The ASX comes standard in white. Starlight, Sterling Silver, Lightning Blue, Titanium, Black are all $740 extra, and Red Diamond $940.

The MG comes at no cost extra in Pebble Black or York White, while Diamond Red, Brighton Blue, and Sterling Silver are all $500.

The Haval comes standard with Hamilton White, while Golden Black, Blue Sapphire, Energy Green, Ayers Grey, and Mars Red are all $450 extra.

Interiors

The Mitsubishi and MG are almost the same length but the ASX offers an extra 85mm between the wheels. The Haval Jolion is the longest car here overall and between the wheels, but the lowest as well.

All have decent boot space, from 359 litres of the MG to 393L for the Mitsubishi, up to a capacious 430L for the Haval. Each of the trio use space-saver spare wheels under the cargo floor.

In terms of centre screen the Mitsubishi’s 8.0-inch unit is solid for the class, and offers phone mirroring and a reversing camera. But the MG and Haval both have screens larger than 10.0 inches in diameter and 360-degree cameras.

I’m 194cm and can fit in the back seats of the ASX and MG ZST without too much fuss, and given the Haval is dimensionally larger it should also work as a smaller family car.

You can find official photos of the Mitsubishi ASX, MG ZST and Haval Jolion interiors via the official website.

Mitsubishi ASX LSMG ZST ExciteHaval Jolion Lux LE
Length4345mm4323mm4472mm
Width1810mm1809mm1841mm
Height1640mm1653mm1574mm
Wheelbase2670mm2585mm2700mm
Clearance205mm154mmNA
Boot capacity393L359L430L

Crash ratings

The Mitsubishi ASX carries a five-star ANCAP crash rating, though this is based on a 2014 test which is now outdated. However the company has continually added safety features since then.

The MG ZST carries over the normal ZS models’ four-star crash rating with a 2017 date stamp, though the electric ZS managed five stars.

The old Haval H2 had a five-star crash rating from 2017 but the better-specified and newly designed Jolion is yet to be independently assessed. We’d encourage you to wait for this result before committing.

There’s additional information on all the safety features within the Mitsubishi ASX, MG ZST and Haval Jolion websites.

Drivetrains

The ASX uses a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine producing 110kW of power and 197Nm of torque. It’s front-wheel drive only and uses a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). A more powerful 2.4-litre engine is available in pricier grades.

While it’s the oldest design the Mitsubishi is the only car here with a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension setup. Like the others it has disc brakes front and rear.

The MG uses a 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol making 115kW of power and a solid 230Nm of torque, available much earlier in the rev band than in the ASX at just 1800rpm. It’s front-wheel drive and uses a six-speed torque-converter-style automatic.

The ZST sports simple torsion beam rear suspension and has 280mm-diameter disc brakes at both ends. It’s the lightest car here at 1295kg tare.

The Haval has a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four making 110kW and 210Nm, the latter at 2000rpm. It’s front-drive and uses a seven-speed dual-clutch-type automatic designed to shift quicker on the move.

Underneath the Jolion sits Haval’s new modular platform, with simple torsion beam rear suspension and disc brakes at both ends. There are also four drive modes that change the throttle characteristics and steering resistance depending on the driving style demanded. It’s the heaviest car here at 1400kg tare.

Further engine and drivetrain specifications can be found within the official Mitsubishi ASX, MG ZST and Haval Jolion specifications sheet.

Mitsubishi ASX LSMG ZST ExciteHaval Jolion Lux LE
Engine2.0 petrol four cylinder1.3 turbo petrol four cylinder1.5 turbo petrol four cylinder
Power110kW @ 6000rpm115kW @ 5200rpm110kW @ 5600rpm
Torque197Nm @ 4200rpm230Nm @ 1800rpm210Nm @ 2000rpm
Vehicle weight1389kg (kerb)1295kg (tare)1400kg (tare)
TransmissionCVT auto6-speed auto7-speed dual-clutch auto
Driven wheelsFrontFrontFront
Fuel use claim7.6L/100km7.1L/100km8.1L/100km

Ownership costs

Mitsubishi:

A 10-year/200,000-kilometre warranty if serviced at an official dealer, five years and 100,000km if not. Five years or 75,000km of servicing (12 month or 15,000km intervals) costs $1495.

MG:

Seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with seven years roadside assistance. Five years or 50,000km of servicing (12 month or 10,000km intervals) costs $1504.

Haval:

Seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with five years roadside assistance. Servicing costs not published at the time of writing.

Thoughts

This newer pair definitely look the goods on paper. And in terms of value this trio all knock it out of the park.

MG has a growing market presence and the ZST outguns this other pair on engine outputs. It also looks sharp and has a badge with growing recognition.

The Haval Jolion matches the MG on warranty, offers more metal for less money, and extra features. We’re awaiting our first drive, but it’s fitting that the brand with the lowest awareness here has the sharpest price and most features.

For all that, it’s also easy to see why the Mitsubishi ASX is such an enduring top-seller.

It doesn’t offer quite as many cabin features as the newer pair but it still looks the part, undercuts other well-established brands on price, and has a badge that people already know and trust.

MORE: Haval H2/Jolion news, reviews, comparisons and videos
MORE: MG ZST news, reviews, comparisons and videos
MORE: Mitsubishi ASX news, reviews, comparisons and videos

Like to know more about the Mitsubishi ASX?

Like to know more about the MG ZS?

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