Meek, mild-mannered players have precious little chance of being noticed in the ever more crowded SUV sector.

But that’s not a problem that’s ever going to bother the strikingly re-styled Mitsubishi ASX, which muscles in with a bold new front end, chunky 18-inch alloy wheels and heftier, more substantial front and rear skid plates.

The car, like most compact SUVs, looks like a proper 4x4 but this one is the real deal. The 2020 model sees the return of a four-wheel-drive version to the broad-stanced ASX range, in line with the rest of Mitsubishi’s SUV models.

In also comes a more powerful 2.0-litre engine mated on the top-of-the-range test car to an automatic transmission, complete with a six-speed sports mode and paddle shifters.

My time with the car coincided with the latest of our series of stormy winter wet weekends and though I wasn’t looking forward to long motorway travel in such unpleasant conditions, the sure-footed ASX cruised quietly and confidently at speed.

The engine delivers 150 horsepower, a 30 per cent increase on the former 1.6-litre unit. The ASX is available in a choice of two trim levels – Dynamic and Exceed – both with a revamped interior and high levels of standard equipment.

That includes keyless entry and a push-button starter, cruise control, automatic air conditioning and auto-levelling LED headlights. A reversing camera helps with parking.

The Exceed specification car driven here adds leather upholstery, an electrically-operated driver’s seat, piano black and silver accents to the interior and new black headlining.

In addition, external touches range from chrome exterior door handles and LED front fog lights to a panoramic glass roof with black roof rails.

While a report this week said that more than a third of drivers remain in the dark over how to use the technology in their new car, this should not be a problem with the uncomplicated and straightforward ASX.

Instrumentation is simple, clear and classically fuss-free. One concession to the rise in digital displays is the fitting of a central eight-inch touchscreen, which operates the TomTom navigation, audio system, Bluetooth phone and smartphone AppleCarPlay and Android Auto links. Unlike some this display is pretty self-explanatory, and not once did I feel the need to consult the handbook.

Visible driver aids include radar-operated blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert. A host of unseen helpers range from active stability control and traction control, to hill start assist.

Some ASX buyers will undoubtedly be attracted by the return of four-wheel-drive, which can be switched on and off at the touch of a button between the front seats.

In 2WD mode, torque is sent only to the front wheels for improved fuel economy and agility, while in 4WD auto, the electronically-controlled centre differential actively manages torque to maintain traction on loose surfaces or adverse on-road conditions. A further touch of the button selects 4WD lock, which transfers even more torque to the rear wheels to deliver extra traction on poor road surfaces and when off-road.

Priced from £20,295, the ASX is one of the most important models in the Mitsubishi range.

Globally it is the brand’s third best seller and it is also the third best-selling car for Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, making up almost a quarter of its overall car sales during the past nine years.

In its new guise, as well as being capable, comfortable and classy, the ASX not only looks the part but can act it as well.

Auto facts

Model: Mitsubishi ASX Exceed Auto 4WD

Price: £25,945

Insurance group: 25E

Fuel consumption (combined): 38.7mpg

Top speed: 118mph

Length: 436.5cm/171.4in

Width: 181cm/71.1in

Luggage capacity: 406 litres/14.3 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gallons/60 litres

CO2 emissions: 167g/km

Warranty: Five years/ 62,500 miles