A concept to be unveiled at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show indicates there may be a replacement for the long-lived Mitsubishi Delica D:5 people mover on the way.

    Overnight the company teased a new concept based on the idea of “borderless adventure” featuring a “high ground clearance”, and the “road handling of an SUV with the comfort and user-friendliness of an MPV”.

    The image released overnight shows the rear of a tall, slab-sided vehicle with SUV styling kicking up a huge plume of dust. The cut lines for the rear door suggest it slides backwards, in true people mover tradition, rather than swinging outwards.

    Mitsubishi promises the car will have a “vastly spacious cabin”, and an earlier image of the vehicle’s front end lighting signature indicates it can hold at least six people with the front passenger’s seat able to turn around 180 degrees.

    In addition we can see the concept has a short overhang with the base of the windscreen pushed as far forward as possible. Not only does this create a massive greenhouse, but it further increases interior space.

    Storage is enhanced by a fitted roof box.

    Mitsubishi says the electrified concept has an “electric four-wheel drive system” with the “cruising range and driving performance to handle all kinds of adventures” and the ability to “switch driving modes as the situation demands”. In place of traditional wing mirrors, the concept seems to be fitted with camera pods.

    Given the company’s expertise in plug-in hybrid drivetrains, a PHEV setup seems likely for this car with a petrol-electric combo driving the front wheels, and the rear axle featuring a dedicated electric motor.

    While Mitsubishi has given no official confirmation this car previews a future production vehicle, it’s reasonable to assume it provides clues about an eventual replacement for the Delica D:5.

    If you think the ASX crossover is long in the tooth, the current, fifth-generation Delica has been in production since 2007, making it three years older than the ASX.

    Whereas earlier Delica models were essentially gussied-up vans with extra seats fitted, the fifth-generation model switched to a passenger car platform shared with the contemporary Outlander.

    Although people movers have fallen out of favour in most parts of the world, they remain popular in Japan. The current Delica was also sold for a few years in Indonesia, which along with Australia, is one of Mitsubishi’s key markets outside of Japan.

    It is also one of the few places where people movers remain popular, including Mitsubishi’s own front-wheel drive Xpander.

    Mitsubishi confirmed earlier this year it was weighing bringing the Delica to Australia, though it said it would wait for a next-generation model due over the next five years.

    A spokesperson for Mitsubishi said the brand is aware of the strength of the Delica brand in Australia, which has a “strong following as a used adventure vehicle”.

    Derek Fung

    Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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