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Mitsubishi works on Delica 4x4 wagon return
Study underway at Mitsubishi Australia that could see rugged Delica 4x4 MPV return
10 Sep 2019
MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) is working on a case to potentially expand its range with the reintroduction of the Delica off-road wagon as the Japanese brand transitions away from regular passenger cars and moves towards a line-up full of SUVs and light-commercial vehicles.
GoAuto understands that in response to requests from customers and dealers, the triple-diamond brand is in the process of bringing at least one Japanese-market D:5 Delica to Australia to assess its viability for sale here, which if given the all-clear could see the return of the rugged go-anywhere four-wheel-drive people-mover that remains a sought-after vehicle among outback adventurers.
The D:5 is currently registered under Australia’s Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme (SEVS) and is available through some independent importers.
GoAuto has learnt that just as Mitsubishi’s alliance partner Renault is offering the Alpine A110 sportscar in Australia with capped sales to comply with low-volume restrictions on new cars, MMAL might look to mount a similar campaign with the D:5 Delica – at least initially – under the same scheme that would see annual volume limited to 100 units.
MMAL has a history of bringing low-volume models to Australia, with the previous Delica Space Gear and performance-oriented Lancer Evolution VIII making their way to Australia as restricted imports.
Full homologation through the usual process is also on the table, although achieving unrestricted compliance through the relevant Australian Design Rules will involve more time and expense for what might only prove to be a niche market segment.
That said, MMAL’s dealer network is known to be keen to add the Delica to its line-up, with the previous version gaining cult status among recreational and 4x4 enthusiasts.
The Delica was first released in Australia in 1980 as the L300 Express following the official formation of MMAL and continued to be sold up until the fourth generation was superseded in 2007.
Arguably the most popular example of the Delica, and the version most commonly seen on local roads, is the fourth-generation Space Gear, which was not originally offered in Australia but found popularity due to its off-road capability and higher specification.
As a result, thousands of examples of the Space Gear and its Chamonix range-topping variant made their way to Australia through the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS) as used import vehicles.
Not only serving as a people-mover with space for up to eight occupants, the Delica Space Gear was favoured as a recreational vehicle thanks to its ample interior dimensions and off-road ability facilitated by its increased ground clearance, low-range gearing and locking differentials.
Two powertrains were offered on the fourth-generation Delica, namely a 3.5-litre petrol V6 and 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine.
The current D:5 Delica has been in production since 2007, based on the same GS platform that underpinned the Lancer and Outlander, and was recently given a significant facelift which saw the introduction of the ‘Dynamic Shield’ front-end design seen on other Mitsubishi offerings such as the Triton and Pajero Sport.
Engine-wise, 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder units are both offered in the D:5, however if it were to come to Australia, the most likely powertrain option would be a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel unit producing 107kW/380Nm.
Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the Delica features a part-time 4WD system with a locking centre differential, while independent suspension is used at the front and rear axle.
Measuring 4800mm long, 1875mm high and 1795mm wide, the Delica can seat either seven or eight occupants across three rows of seating, while a 10.1-inch display houses the infotainment and sat-nav systems.
If the Delica does return to Australia, it could coincide with the arrival of Mitsubishi’s new mid-size van, which will be based on the Renault Trafic and is set to touch down locally in the middle of next year.
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