Mitsubishi's New Delica Concept: Going ORV With the Japanese MPV

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mitsubishis new delica concept going orv with the japanese mpv

Mitsubishi announced that it would be bringing a new concept vehicle to next month’s Tokyo Auto Salon and it’s… certainly something. Based on the upscale “Urban Gear” variant of the new Delica D:5, the show car aims to take Japanese van life offroad by bestowing the MPV with protective scaffolding, a roof rack, more lamps, and some red mudflaps.

Though, with three tiers of forward illumination (four if you count the roof) and one of the boxiest designs we’ve seen since the Volvo 240, the Delica looks like something straight out of an 1980s sci-fi film. Our own Steph Willems even went so far as to claim a rather uncanny resemblance to the titular hero from the film Robocop when presented with the above photo.

Polarizing as the looks may be, the Delcia technically adheres to the brand’s current design language. The concept even implements the blackened bumpers Mitsubishi is rumored to have planned for the new “street sport” versions of its existing SUVs.

The new Delica is powered by Mitsubishi’s 2.2-liter DI-D turbodiesel, which provides 170 hp and 289 foot-pounds torque via an eight-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard, though the van can be had with AWD. The concept goes all out by using the version with locking diffs as its starting point and incorporates the optional “clean” diesel engine with electric assist.

With three rows and room for six, the MPV seems ready to trounce those compact “lifestyle”crossovers that seem so popular right now. But Mitsubishi probably wouldn’t consider bringing the model to North America even if it adhered to America’s regulatory guidelines in its current form. It’s just not quite to our tastes. Though, if the Delica did make it to our shores, there would be nothing else like it on the road.

Am I crazy for kind of liking this ugly little vehicle or has my van bias blinded me to the realities of the Western market?

[Images: Mitsubishi]

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  • JLGOLDEN JLGOLDEN on Jan 01, 2019

    I own a 2018 Odyssey Touring, and previously had a 2017 Pacifica - so I am already biased toward minivan utility and driving position. I absolutely LOVE this Mitsubishi. Though lifted *wagons* are the showroom buzzmakers, I think creative product placement and marketing could help put Delicas in driveways. If it looks rugged and adventurous, feels perky and moderately agile, and can nail an attractive price point...people might just appreciate it and buy it. Apples to oranges, perhaps, but there is definitely a market for quirky, as the Kia Soul doesn't exactly stagnate on dealer lots.

  • Smythmicbismolthil Smythmicbismolthil on Jan 03, 2019

    Looks to me like someone snorted a bunch of coke and did a build on a Honda Element.

  • Jkross22 This might just be me, but the times that I've driven an EV, I use the brake regen paddles to quell my inner MT/control freak nature.
  • Randy in rocklin I had a 82 733 at one time. It was an awesome car. Good power and great handling. Smooth shifting and ride.
  • Jkross22 Gavin Newsom may not be aware of the fiscal problems of the state he leads, as his focus is on criticizing other states. It's actually better that he has someone shining a laser light on a map so he can stop making things worse here. Just lace his hair gel with some catnip and have him hit himself trying to get to it. Things in LA are getting so bad that even the leftists and progressives are showing up to LA city council meetings with mirrors to protest, well, everything - gas prices, the homeless pandemic, the house pricing pandemic, the crime pandemic. It shocked the City Council that their subjects dare attempt to ask for accountability. The Council president insisted that people with mirrors be escorted out, lest the council be reminded of their incompetence and hubris. That being said, there is no connection being made between the way LA subjects vote and the results it yields. Never underestimate the stupidity of the typical CA voter. The state is a basketcase but voters keep electing the same retreads every time.
  • ScarecrowRepair Too much for too little, unless you treat it strictly as a toy.
  • DedBull Mk2 Jettas are getting harder to find, especially ones that haven't been modified within an inch of their life. I grew up in an 85 GLI, and would love to have one in as close to stock configuration as I could get. This car isn't that starting point, especially sitting 3-4 years in the NY dirt. It's a parts car at best, but there might still be money in it even at that price, if you are willing to take it down to absolutely nothing left.