The ASX is powered by a 1.8 litre diesel engine developing 147bhp through a six-speed manual gearbox. This gives it respectable performance and a combined fuel economy of over 54 mpg. The ASX can be used in two-wheel-drive mode, which drives the front wheels only, or Auto 4WD, which distributes the power to the wheels that have most grip. For difficult conditions the transmission can be locked to provide permanent four-wheel drive with a 50:50 front to rear drive split.
The term ‘car-like’ tends to be overused when it comes to van interiors, but it’s true in the case of the Mitsubishi. Its passenger car heritage means you get a comfortable, well-equipped interior with remote stereo controls on the steering wheel, plus clear instruments and switch gear. The steering can be adjusted for both reach and rake, so it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position.
There’s plenty of standard equipment in the ASX too, with 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, climate control, heated seats, electric windows, electric folding door mirrors, central locking with keyless entry and Bluetooth connectivity all included. A glovebox and door pockets with bottle holders, plus a small centre console tray, cope with everyday storage requirements. The sound system has six speakers, a CD player and iPod connectivity.
Safety kit is impressive too. The ASX comes with cruise control, ABS with EBD, traction control, a full complement of airbags, including curtains, and a hill-start assist system. You also get automatic light-sensing headlamps, rear parking sensors and rain-sensing automatic wipers.
In the cargo area there’s durable rubber flooring and a bulkhead - solid steel at the bottom and mesh at the top - to separate it from the cab. The ASX 4Work retains the car version’s soft headlining, which helps keep noise levels down. The maximum payload of the van is 535kg with a load volume of 1.2 cubic metres. Gross vehicle weight is just over two tonnes, and it can tow a braked trailer of up to 1,400kg if required.
The Mitsubishi is quite pricey, but it makes up for that with its high levels of standard kit, and there aren’t many 4x4 alternatives on the market. While the ASX offers good fuel economy and low CO2 emissions, and a low insurance group, its 9,000-mile or 12-month service intervals are low by commercial vehicle standards, so you’ll need to factor that into your running costs.