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