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Mitsubishi representatives have confirmed to CarsGuide that the Delica people mover has been in the works for the Australian market for some time, but that the carmaker had not yet come to a decision on if or when the raised off-road focused MPV would land Down Under.
Mitsubishi is in the midst of a new-generation product rollout which began with the fourth-generation Outlander, and is soon set to include the next-generation Triton. The brand is also considering expanding on its SUV-heavy footprint in Australia, a market which carries significant weight when it comes to sales and product planning outside of Japan.
While Mitsubishi is open about its consideration of the fully electric version of the diminutive eK X microcar, it also admitted to having imported a Delica to Australia for testing and evaluation purposes several months ago.
The Delica utilises an older Mitsubishi platform which currently resides under the Eclipse Cross SUV and once sat under the Lancer, however it presents as a people mover with significantly more ground clearance than a van-based offering. Some examples are already prowling Australia’s streets as Japanese-market grey imports.
To back its tough looks, the Delica is powered by a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine, an alternate take on the engine that exists in the current Triton but in this guise produces 107kW/380Nm. It's mated to an Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system with a low range function.
Japanese executives said it is a niche offering, even in Japan, but is popular with adventurous families who often go camping. In Japan it costs from the equivalent of AUD$46,011 and ships roughly 1000 units a month. The Delica is offered in a seven or eight seat layout, and similar to other Japanese people movers like the Honda Odyssey, makes the most of its internal dimensions while maintaining a narrow exterior footprint.
When asked if the current-generation Delica will make it to the Australian market, a local spokesperson explained the current-generation example was for testing purposes only for now, but it would be more likely to see it in Australia for its next iteration should Mitsubishi press ahead with a new version globally.
The current fifth-generation Delica has been on sale since 2007, with its most recent facelift to include the current Mitsubishi ‘Dynamic Shield’ design language introduced in 2019. Like the ASX and, to a degree, the Eclipse Cross which resides on an upgraded version of the Lancer platform, the Delica should be set for a major overhaul in the coming years, although as it is only offered in Japan with limited demand, even Japanese executives said the brand was still on the fence about a next-generation version.
Australia, where it seems the Delica could be uniquely suited, could be the secret volume-adding ingredient Mitsubishi needs to justify the next version, although the brand’s official mid-term product plan earmarks a three-row SUV and next-gen Xpander MPV as priorities in the people-moving space.