It’s an exciting time for people who want to get outdoors in vans. Mercedes-Benz has an updated all-wheel-drive version of the Sprinter, and Ford just announced the Transit Trail. But what if these full-sizers are simply too big for you? What if you’re enamored with all things compact, like capsule hotels and cherry tomatoes? Well, if you live in Japan, Mitsubishi might have exactly what you need with the Delica Mini.
The Mitsubishi Delica nameplate turns 55 years old next year, and instead of going big, Mitsubishi has gone small. The Delica Mini is a “lightweight super height wagon” which I suspect is a sort of kei car. More specifically, I suspect it’s a re-worked Mitsubishi eK X Space as the tail lamps, door tracks, hatch panel, and greenhouse all look identical between the two models.
Still, I definitely think that the Delica Mini looks a bit better than the eK X Space. While Mitsubishi’s existing tall, rugged kei van is a sharp-looking thing, the Delica Mini keeps some great bits while toning down the family face nicely. The push bar-like spars on the front bumper look delightfully rugged, even if they probably provide all the impact resistance of an orange, and the new headlights are wonderfully expressive. I also quite like the way that the lower sliding door tracks are neatly-integrated into the rear arch cladding, a smart move that somewhat hides the tracks.
Details regarding powertrain options are light, but I can safely say that the Delica Mini will likely have a 660cc engine making 63 horsepower and some sort of hybrid system. Then again, it doesn’t take Adrian Monk to see the van’s kei car size and read the hybrid badge on the back. Mitsubishi does say that this little van packs 4WD, so it should offer a little bit of assistance for getting you through campsite washouts and the like, but I wouldn’t expect low range and locking diffs.
Sure, the Delica Mini name isn’t as cool as Delica Star Wagon or Delica Space Gear, but it does what it says on the tin – it’s a miniature Delica. Expect a full reveal of the Delica Mini to happen at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January, when we can learn more about powertrain options and the array of two-tone color schemes Mitsubishi plans on offering. The Ash Green paint job in these preview pics is particularly fabulous, but I definitely wouldn’t say not to a pastel yellow or something equally cheery. Overall, I quite like the look of this thing. It’s adorable, it’s small, it’s practical, and it’s ready to get you to your campsite.
All photos courtesy of Mitsubishi
I really want to know how they are doing hybrid powerplants in kei cars! I want to understand how they are packaging in small spaces like that.
I know it’s just to highlight the evolution of the Delica over time, but it amused me looking at the lineage chart quickly and thinking the Mini is 2x the size to scale of the other past Delicas – like a monster Kei car.
Yep, just assumed it was a scale drawing.
I thought the exact same thing! It reminded me of the Mammoth delivery trucks from “The Pushcart War.”
How could a bunch of teenagers not want to tip that over?
Mitsubishi should replace the Mirage in the U.S. market with this. Today.
Seriously, what do they have to lose? The Mirage is getting old, not terribly competitive.
This probably has more space inside, looks better, some cool factor, probably more efficient.
It has the angry face, fake skid plates, and plastic cladding that we apparently love in the U.S.
I’m not saying it would be a smash hit here, but I bet it would sell better than the Mirage.
The problem is the safety regulations. Mitsubishi is barely hanging on as it is. I don’t see them spending the money and jumping through all the hoops required to meet US regulations.
I cannot describe how much I need this. No low-key, no irony. The color, the design. I guess I better wait 25 years.
You could move to Japan. I understand it’s not to difficult for an American to sign a contract to live in, say, Okinawa for a least a little while?
Daaaaw, who’s a widdle gruwmpy guy? Widdle angwee Delica
Kinda like Tyke, Spike’s son in the Tom and Jerry toons.
Perfect to pout around town in.
I like it. It reminds me of a pug. Plus, I could park it in my tent if I had to.
I have always wanted a Star Wagon, but I wonder if they are terrifying to drive? They look like they could tip over even while stationary.