First Drive: Mitsubishi ASX 4Work

Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It’s a bit tricky placing Mitsubishi’s ASX 4Work, because there isn’t really a natural rival for it.

Surprisingly priced at just above its larger Outlander sibling, Mitsubishi justifies the ASX’s higher price by pointing to the higher levels of standard kit. Although both are only available in one trim level, the ASX 4Work is based on a higher trim of its donor passenger car than its bigger brother, so the smaller vehicle’s price tag of £417 more than the larger is justified by standard equipment including alloy wheels, Bluetooth, cruise control, heated front seats and auto lights and wipers.
Like the Outlander, the ASX is converted from its passenger car sibling in the UK at Mitsubishi’s special vehicle operations centre. A large and seemingly durable rubber floor base replaces the boot and rear seats, while a full bulkhead, solid lower and mesh upper, protects the two front seats from the load area.
The top-hinged tailgate allows access to the cargo area, as do the two doors that rear passengers would have used to access the rear seats in the ASX’s previous incarnation. A criticism we made when we drove the Outlander 4Work model last month was the difficulty in reaching loads, as you can’t hop in like you can in a van, and this extends to the smaller ASX. But the shorter ASX works better as a four-wheel drive van package.
You’ll still have to really need the four-wheel drive element to justify it though. A payload figure of just 535kg is admittedly better than the Outlander, but is bettered by a Vauxhall Corsavan, and a load volume of 1.2 cubic metres puts it on a par with car-derived vans rather than anything larger.
But where the ASX 4Work scores highest is from the driving seat. Good quality interior, very good equipment levels driven by the passenger car roots and a potent 147hp engine that’s maybe just a little unrefined for a car engine but good from a commercial vehicle perspective all come together for a most un-van-like experience.
One irritation is the nannying beep, flagging up that you haven’t put your seat belt on, before the driver has even turned on the engine.  
The ASX 4Work is very likeable, and predictably car-like thanks to its car basis. But the price tag puts it above the larger, more powerful and slightly more impressive Outlander, and in the commercial market the argument about it having more toys and equipment won’t necessarily drag back enough favour. It’s a niche market, but pricing the two so closely, and to the untrained eye the wrong way round, leaves the 4x4 ASX with an uphill task.

 

Verdict
Likeable but a big price tag for a go-anywhere LCV that’s no more capable in load terms than the likes of the Vauxhall Corsavan



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