Malaysians probably remember the Mitsubishi Delica as a medium-sized van which was popular as a people-carrier before the MPV appeared. While it has been a medium-sized van for personal and commercial use during its 55-year history, the Delica has also had a little brother in the form of the Delica D:2 since 2011.
This was actually a Suzuki Solio which was sold under the Mitsubishi Motors brand and gave the carmaker something to offer in the mini MPV segment in Japan. It complemented the Delica D:5 which had been launched earlier and was popular as an all-purpose MPV.
Next month, Mitsubishi Motors will begin selling the new Delica Mini, a super height-wagon kei-car model that joins Delica D:5 family. With SUVs being so popular these days, the styling of the Delica Mini also takes on some SUV elements that give a rugged image. The ‘Hero’ body colour is a new option in the carmaker’s range with its Ash Green Metallic finish suited for a variety of environments.
Like other current Mitsubishi models, it has the 3-dimensional Dynamic Shield front design which expresses power and security. The headlights have distinctive semi-circular LED position lights built in to give a ‘friendly’ look to the Delica Mini. In addition to the glossy black wheel arches, the lower edges of the front and rear bumpers have a skid-plate form, in keeping with the SUV image.
Inside the 3.4-metre long vehicle, the compact but still spacious cabin has a horizontally-themed instrument panel with a black base colour. This is accented by a light grey colour emphasizing the feeling of width and making the tray and drink holders easy to see.
The seats are covered with a stain-resistant, breathable, water-repellent fabric. In addition, the application of raised embossment to the sitting surface and centre of the seatbacks makes for functional seats that are comfortable and resist moisture.
The luggage board and rear seatbacks are also made of material that easily wipes clean so wet items and muddy outdoor supplies that may be loaded after a day at the seaside are not a problem.
To maximise legroom, the rear seats have a sliding range of 320 mm. For better comfort, the seats on each side can also slide and recline, making various arrangements possible. The rear sliding doors have an opening width of 650 mm and with the level floor, entry and exit are easy enough.
In addition, the adoption of hands-free auto sliding doors allows for opening and closing even with both hands full of luggage. The doors are operated by the kick sensor on the underside which detects the presence of a foot and then opens the doors. This sort of feature was only available in luxury models not so long ago.
Being classified as a kei-car means the engine size is restricted to 0.7 litres, and the DOHC 12-valve unit produces up to 64 ps/100 Nm. Drive to the front wheels or all four wheels is through a CVT.
The Delica Mini comes standard with Grip Control to provide better traction on slippery road surfaces. Hill Descent Control is a standard feature, keeping the vehicle at a low speed electronically to allow for safer driving when going down steep hills or slippery roads.
MI-PILOT driver assistance technology and active safety technology. There are no less than 8 types of driver assistance functions, including Forward Collision Mitigation system and Emergency Assist for Pedal Misapplication to avoid having the car crash into a wall accidentally when starting off.
Since the pre-orders for the new Delica Mini began in January this year, the number of orders has reached about 9,000 units. Some 60% of all customers have selected 4WD models, and the fully equipped Premium models accounts for over 80% of the orders. In Japan, the Delica Mini is priced from 1,804,000 yen (about RM60,105).