A see-through bonnet, a clever electric 4WD system and car-like handling are some of the enticing claims of this rugged people mover – and it could come to Australia
Keeping faithfully to its roots of a practical yet raised, cladded and generally off-road capable people mover, the DX debuts a radical new look for the Delica and embraces its electrified plug-in hybrid drivetrain in a number of ways.
Revealed today at the Tokyo Mobility Show, the DX Concept was unveiled alongside the next-generation Triton ute, at a time when Mitsubishi Australia says it is openly considering bringing the next-generation Delica to our shores.
The next-generation ‘D:6’ Delica is expected to make a move to Renault-Nissan’s CMF-CD platform that underpins the current Outlander SUV, and with it make a switch to a PHEV drivetrain.
Mitsubishi’s DX Concept features PHEV technology including what is called ‘electric 4WD’ or more specifically its S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) which it says provides a safe and secure driving experience in all weather conditions while offering plenty of capability for adventures.
The key advantage of a PHEV over a traditional EV, as Mitsubishi points out in its press release, is the ability to use the DX Concept’s ‘EV model’ for daily commuting on electric power only and the ‘Hybrid Mode’ for long-distance touring.
An estimated EV range was not stated for the DX Concept but it would likely be slightly less than the 84km quoted for the Outlander PHEV.
But a larger battery, or improvements in efficiency, could see the next-gen Delica PHEV shoot for 100km or more of EV range.
Mitsubishi says the goal of the DX Concept is to drive more similarly to a passenger vehicle than a typical SUV, despite its high-riding nature.
The concept however certainly looks more like a full-fat 4WD than a passenger vehicle, with bulging wheelarches and large chunky tyres. At the front, the projection laser light-style headlights designed in a ‘T-shape’ sit prominently, as do the large tail lights at the rear.
The DX is considerably more cab-forward than the current D:5 Delica, with the windscreen reaching almost to the very front of the van. The concept is also shown both with and without the aerodynamic roof box that would likely be a genuine factory accessory.
Mitsubishi backs up the off-road claims of the concept with fairly short overhangs on either end, suggesting an aggressive approach and departure angles assisted by front and rear skid plates along with side-step protectors.
With the DX Concept’s more cab-forward design, the interior appears to be more spacious than the outgoing Delica and the usability of the space is aided with a few key tricks.
Like the concept version of the Kia EV9 large SUV, the DX Concept features front seats that swivel around to face the passengers when not driving, though it’s unclear if this would make it to the production stage given the strict compliance laws in Australia.
Also eye-catching is the see-through bonnet capability which appears to use a camera and screen rather than a simple window, to have a largely uncompromised view of the road ahead – a nifty feature when off-roading on difficult terrain.
The cabin also features an oval-shaped steering wheel, a high driving position and a plethora of genuine leather in the cabin to create a luxury feel.
The DX Concept features a Yamaha-developed 3D sound system that integrates the speakers into the headrests of all six of the seats shown
Finally – with families in mind – Mitsubishi says it has enhanced the construction techniques used on the current unibody Delica and equipped the concept with a reinforced rib-bone frame using a circular framework structure and beefy D-pillar.
Mitsubishi Australia is currently evaluating the next-generation Delica for Australia. The brand has been testing the outgoing fifth-gen van locally and has been soliciting opinions of journalists and the public on whether it would be a suitable product for Aussies.
We’ve driven that Delica, and it will feature in an upcoming review.
In light of the unveiling of the new concept today, Mitsubishi Australia product public relations manager Adam Davis told Chasing Cars they were excited by the rugged new people mover and would continue to evaluate the potential of the Delica for our market.
“The D:X Concept showcases what a future Mitsubishi Delica might look like in future generations.
“The Concept embodies Mitsubishi’s adventurous spirit with a modern design, strong and safe underpinnings, PHEV drivetrain and Super All-Wheel Control. It takes the hallmarks that Mitsubishi is renowned for and advances them into the future,” he said.
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