One the world’s most beloved mini-camper van nameplates has gone full micro. The Mitsubishi Delica is beloved around the globe as a capable camper and adventure van foundation that punches far above its weight, and now it’s spawned a Mini version that’s shaping up to be the perfect high-roofed kei camper base. The all-new Delica Mini takes on the rugged looks of its older, larger brother in a delightfully tiny format optimized for safe, confident “Daily Adventure.” It shouldn’t be long before Japan’s camper conversion industry turns it into an amazingly efficient rig fit for “Weekly Adventure.”
As planned, Mitsubishi debuted the Delica Mini at the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon in January, where it also previewed the kei wagon’s adventure-seeking future. The company will officially roll the Mini out to market next month, and says it’s received 9,000 preorders since opening the books on January 13.
Styling-wise, the 134-in (340-cm) Delica Mini borrows liberally from the larger Delica van, sharing the latest D:5’s upright design, Dynamic Shield front-end and skid-plate style lower bumpers. Mitsubishi tempers the tough first impression with a set of smily semicircular LED eyes that add a bit of playful personality.
Mitsubishi doesn’t hide the fact that it conceived the Delica Mini as an outdoorsy adventure mobile. The ultra-compact kei dimensions promise to team with the available 4WD and grip control system to make it a formidable all-terrain explorer and all-weather hauler. Power comes from a 659-cc three-cylinder engine and CVT for 51 hp (38 kW) and 44 lb-ft (60 Nm) of torque. Buyers can also upgrade to a 63-hp (47-kW) turbocharged three with 74 lb-ft (100 Nm).
The adventure-inspired design continues inside, where the split-folding rear bench slides 12.6 in (32 cm) forward or backward, allowing drivers to increase cargo space atop the stain-resistant load floor. The backs of the seats are in covered in protective easy-clean material, while the seats themselves are finished in an easy-wipe water-repellent fabric. The sliding side doors can be opened by simply waving one’s foot below the sill, offering convenient hands-free opening when loading cargo.
It might take a little while for the first Delica Mini kei campers to show up, but Mitsubishi is already thinking camping adventure with its latest micro vehicle. It shows the Mini being used for family camping in its advertising, and it used the van’s Tokyo Auto Salon debut to explore several upfitted concepts, including a team-up with global camping brand Coleman in the Delica Mini x Coleman tiny camping car. It also showed the ruggedized, topo-adorned Snow Survivor, which featured an in-vehicle bed system.
The Delica Mini will officially launch on May 25th at Mitsubishi dealers throughout Japan. It will start between ¥1,804,000 to ¥2,238,500 (approx. US$13,500 to $16,750), depending upon spec. Available technologies will include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and forward collision mitigation.