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Mitsubishi Delica under consideration for Australia, diesel 4WD model being tested

Daniel Gardner

Mitsubishi Australia has imported the Delica D:5 for local sales evaluation

Mitsubishi is considering offering the Delica go-anywhere sports utility van to Australian customers with the next-generation model earmarked for sale if a local trial is successful.

If given the green light, it’ll be the first time the iconic and fan-favourite adventure machine will be available through Mitsubishi Motors Australia since the fourth generation, with all subsequent registered examples imported through specialists.

Speaking to Chasing Cars in Japan, Mitsubishi Australia product strategy and marketing general manager Oliver Mann confirmed the company had brought a Delica D:5 into the country to test its potential for the local market.

Mitsubishi Delica D-5 range
The Mitsubishi Delica D-5 range

“It’s to evaluate the concept and it’s a diesel four-wheel drive,” he said.

Customer and dealer feedback are of interest and the Delica range will go into Mitsubishi showrooms if confirmed, but Mann explained that the single trial vehicle is being used to test a broader potential audience that would appreciate the Delica’s unusual combination of attributes.

“It’ll go into fleet and government hands. It’s got heaps of flexibility in it with the various seating arrangements and four-wheel drive.”

Mitsubishi Delica D-5
The Delica’s looks have significantly changed over the years

As far as rivals are concerned, there aren’t a lot of vehicles in the current Australian market that can offer quite what the oddball Mitsu brings. Kia’s Carnival offers a similar people-moving amount of space and flexibility but can’t match the Mitsubishi’s boosted ride height and all-terrain modes.

Similarly, there are plenty of SUVs that can rival the Delica’s off-road promise but arguably none with the same cavernous van-like body. Volkswagen’s Transporter Multivan is available with lots of seats and all-wheel drive but lacks the Delica’s ride height and locking centre differential.

“There’s a huge following in Australia with up to 20 and 25-year old versions still getting around,” said Mann.

Kia Carnival SLi 2021 Front 3/4
The Kia Carnival can’t match the Delica’s offroad ability

Mitsubishi’s own example running around in Australia is an version of the fifth-generation Delica which was introduced globally in 2007 but given a significant update and facelift in 2019, bringing its looks into line with the Dynamic Shield design. If it attracts enough interest it’ll lead the way for the sixth-generation in Australia.

Details of the next-generation Delica are thin on the ground however, and the company has not yet started the countdown for launch, neither has any high-level information regarding the sixth-generation Delica been made available.

Given the protracted lifecycle of the current version, it’s possible the new Delica won’t surface for a year or so yet but when it does, it’s likely Mitsubishi will introduce a version that rolls on a Nissan Alliance sourced platform rather than the ageing GS architecture that once saw service under the Lancer.

Volkswagen T61 van 2021 Multivan Premium green
The Volkswagen Multivan could compete with the Delica locally

Even if the trial does not herald local sales, you still have just one chance to buy a Delica D:5 direct from Mitsubishi Australia.

Rather than acquiring the vehicle through its own internal processes as per usual vehicle trials, Mitsubishi Australia brought in the Delica though a third-party importer.

Unlike normal evaluation vehicles that are either sent back or destroyed once their tenure is over therefore, Mitsubishi’s evaluation Delica will be sold on once the trial is complete – one careful owner.