The Mitsubishi Delica D:5 Could Be The Perfect Family Car

A quirky all-rounder that mixes SUV looks with MPV practicality. What’s not to like?

Want SUV looks but MPV practicality, the Mitsubishi Delica D:5 might just be the perfect car for you. 

But what exactly is this SUV-minivan hybrid?

Well, some of our older readers might be familiar with the Delica name from a time before the internet. Where this Japanese minivan was just another van, like the Ford Econoline and Nissan C22 Vanette. 

That was just one version of the Delica though, as elsewhere in the world, the Delica was most well known being this jacked-up all wheel drive go-anywhere minivan. And it is this latest incarnation of the formula you see here today with the Delica D:5. 

This particular generation Delica was actually launched in 2006, believe it or not. Based on the joint Mitsubishi and Daimler-Chrysler GS platform, when Mitsubishi and Daimler were still together, this Delica shares its underpinnings with the Lancer Evolution X, a fact that Delica owners can brag to their mates about. 

Happily, this quirky Japanese minivan, with the emphasis on the word ‘quirky’, received a substantial facelift in 2019 to revitalise the 14 year old design. The main design change done to the Delica was the new Mitsubishi family dynamic shield front with multi-function vertical LED lights, that replaced the more easy-on-the-eye front end of the previous model. 

Riding on 18 inch aluminium alloys, this 4.8 meter long box on wheels is hardly subtle. The rear design is also interesting, to put it kindly, with the large light bar flanking the LED rear lights.

That being said, this facelifted Delica did win a 2019 Good Design Award, so someone out there must have really liked the way it looks. 

On the inside of the Delica, unlike other three row SUVs, this jacked up minivan can easily accommodate 7 people in relative comfort. And like any other MPV, there is plenty of storage cubbies inside, with dual zone automatic air conditioning to keep everyone cool. 

With twin automatic sliding doors, this minivan makes access in the rear much easier than in any SUV. Not to mention electric side step that presents itself to you when the doors slide open and the equally electrically operated tailgate. 

New for this facelift is the 10.1 inch touchscreen display that dominates the updated dash design. But even with the electronic hand brake, the push-button starter and the auto-dimming rear view mirror, there is no hiding the fact that the interior is from a previous generation of car.

For those who desire a little bit more luxury in their high-riding minivan, there is the Urban Gear Delica D:5 variant, which features a six seater configuration with captain’s chairs in the second row replacing the bench seat. In addition to a body kit that makes this jacked-up minivan look even more menacing on the road. 

Originally sold at launch with a petrol engine, the sole engine choice for the Delica after 2013 is a 2.2 litre DI-D Clean Diesel turbodiesel engine that outputs 146 hp and 380 Nm of torque. Mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission, power is sent to all four wheels thanks to Mitsubishi’s All Wheel Control selectable all wheel drive system. 

Food for thought here, this high-riding all wheel drive Japanese minivan has better off-roading credentials than some front wheel drive only SUVs sold here today.

In terms of safety, the Delica features Mitsubishi’s Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body, which in plain English means a strong body shell. 

As for airbags, there are the usual ones for both the driver and passenger, but the Delica also comes with a driver’s knee airbag and more interestingly a curtain airbag for the entire length of the van. 

Standard too on the people mover are the usual safety acronyms of ABS, Active Stability Control (ASC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Electronic Braking Distribution (EBD) along with a 360º reversing camera. 

New for the 2019 Delica though is Mitsubishi’s e-Assist active safety technology, which brings with it Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Automatic High Beam (AHB), Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist. 

On the question if whether the Delica will ever come to Malaysia, seeing that Mitsubishi’s only good seller here is the Triton pickup truck, it won’t be a stretch for them to bring this Minivan-SUV hybrid over to our shores. Especially considering that they also brought in both variants of the Pajero to Malaysia and the Delica did sell across the straits in Indonesia from 2014 to 2019. 

That being said, it would be remised to note that both Pajeros did not sell nearly as well as the ever-popular Triton, partly because of its high sale price. 

Furthermore, seeing that both variants of the Pajero were traditional SUVs, and not some quirky jacked up minivan (with the emphasis on quirky), the Mitsubishi Delica D:5 may just be one step too weird to ever be considered for local distribution by Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia. 

A pity though because there is genuinely some method to all the madness of the Delica D:5, and yes that is the correct way of writing the name. It is the only car I know of that combines MPV practicality that everyone needs, with the SUV ride height that everyone wants. 

And with the four-wheel drive capability and that versatile interior, it is no wonder that the Delica is the darling of the overlanding community. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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