Mitsubishi shrinks lovable Delica van into future micro camping icon
With its small, efficient packaging, unique look and 4-wheel drive, the Mitsubishi Delica is a beloved favorite for adventurers and van lifers the world over, from its home country of Japan, to the far reaches of Europe and Australia, and even on to the US, where Mitsubishi barely ever sold it. So a shrunken Delica kei van should be rather exciting news for global camper and adventure van enthusiasts, even though it won't be available to many of them. The all-new Mitsubishi Delica Mini only gets better after learning it's designed as an SUV-style micro-van inspired by the great outdoors. It should only be a matter of time before purpose-built Delica Mini campers and adventure vans hit the Japanese Alps and coast.
Mitsubishi teased the all-new Delica Mini last week and will host a show car premiere at the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon in January. The new micro-van will help celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Delica itself, which launched in 1968 as a truck before taking on its more revered van form a year later. The Delica has been in its fifth generation (D:5) since 2007. The D:5 version has always been designed to combine the strength and sportiness of an SUV with the space and versatility of an MPV. The Delica Mini follows suit, designed under the mantra "Daily Adventure."
While tiny in length and wheelbase, the Mini promises ample space thanks to its upright form and super-high roof. The strong, vertical front-end joins the 2019 Delica D:5 refresh in wearing Mitsubishi's modern "Dynamic Shield" styling inside friendly half-halo LED eyes.
Mitsubishi hasn't revealed any powertrain specs, but the front and rear bumper skid plates bring hope that the rugged little mini might just follow its big brother in a 4WD configuration. The black-clad wheel arches further hint at power for all four wheels.
The Delica Mini might strike westerners as too tiny for a camper van, but Japan has a long, illustrious history of creating tiny RVs out of similar kei vans and trucks. In fact, Mitsubishi itself showed an equally tiny kei camper concept at this year's Tokyo Auto Salon with the all-electric Minicab-MiEV B-Leisure Style. That half-pint camper concept had a simple but functional layout with a sleeping mat, table, seat and rug.
The Delica Mini won't launch in the Japanese market until (Northern Hemisphere) summer 2023, so it will be a while before anyone converts it into a kei camping car, but we imagine someone will do so, perhaps Mitsubishi itself. The company's first teaser photos already show the Delica Mini getting comfortable at a campsite.
The Mini's high roof lends itself well to a camper layout, offering increased headroom that could be further expanded with a pop-up roof. The wide, flat rear window looks like it will perfectly complement a camper interior, opening up a wide view of the night sky hanging over the distant horizon to those lying inside. A 4WD system would only enhance a Delica Mini camper's appeal.
Beyond that, the only other detail we know is that the Delica Mini will be offered in a selection of two-tone and single-color options, including the earthy green pictured. We'll look to get more details about the adorable MPV when Mitsubishi reveals them next year.
Source: Mitsubishi (Japanese)