Car-derived vans are nothing new, and nor are commercial 4X4s, but the ASX 4Work tries
to combine the best of both in carving a little niche, as Ian Shaw explains
Light commercial vehicles that have their origins in cars can trace their roots back to the original 1960s Mini Van and beyond, whilst many small European hatchbacks have had their windows panelled-in and been sent off to work in the car-derived van sector.
Mitsubishi’s ASX 4x4 crossover is a compact platform on which to base an LCV, in this case the ASX 4Work. At 4.3m long and less than 1.8m wide it fits into any urban or rural role easily, and feels much less bulky than a traditional 4X4 commercial, such as the dear-departed Land Rover Defender or Mitsubishi’s own L200 pick-up or Shogun 4Work.
The pay-off is a load bay, which is not all that generous at less than 1.5m by 1.3m in plan view and only 760mm in headroom. That gives approximately 1.2m3 in all. As a cargo carrier that’s not a great deal, but that would be missing the point: the ASX 4Work is more suited to carrying tools and equipment relating to a trade than delivering goods. The 535kg payload is down on most of its nearest rivals, too, but comparing this with two-wheel drive competitors is unfair as the ASX has more running gear to account for and a decent-sized diesel engine.
As the vehicle is based on the passenger vehicle, the cab interior is very pleasant. The oddments storage is all retained from the ASX, and it’s no hardship spending the working day in here due to the quality feel to the facia and controls. The four-wheel drive system is simplicity itself. It has three modes: ‘2WD’ for cruising along the motorway, ‘Auto’ where the vehicle will engage four-wheel drive when wheelspin is detected, and ‘Lock mode, which, as you’d expect, locks the 4WD clutch pack for true 4X4 traction in difficult conditions.
Although Mitsubishi’s reputation for quality and reliability is well deserved, we have heard of a few faults relating to the ASX 4Work.
These include power-steering failures, the engine stalling or cutting out, which thankfully only seems to happen at idle, and issues surrounding the brake pedal feel and it being slow to return/release. Front tyre wear rates can be heavy since this is a relatively heavy vehicle when unladen compared with a Fiat Nemo or Renault Kangoo, for example.
The Mitsubishi ASX 4Work is relatively rare, so prices are firm, but there is still a reasonable choice of them.
We found a 2011 4X4 1.8 DID at just under £7000 with 143,000 miles on it,
and for £500 more a 2012 example with 105,000 miles under its belt.
Before breaking the eight-grand mark you can find 82,000-mile 2012 models with 1.8-litre diesel engines, while just under £10,000 will get you a clean late-2013 model, still in warranty with less than 50,000 miles on it.