The Mitsubishi Delica has evidently been appointed as the importer’s JDM van of choice, given how many of them I happen to pass on the road on a monthly basis. The Delica is having a moment globally. Maybe that’s why Mitsubishi has seen fit to shrink its popular van to kei scale for its Japanese customers. Meet the 2023 Delica Mini.
The Delica Mini isn’t officially out yet, having merely been teased ahead of its full reveal at the Tokyo Auto Salon in January. But Mitsubishi is very excited for the adorable, adventurous box, and is sharing that enthusiasm on its Japanese website. The upcoming model appears to share the floorplan of the eK van, per Carscoops, will be offered with optional all-wheel drive and, likely, a 660-cc three-cylinder producing up to 63 horsepower. A hybrid powertrain will also be available, judging from one of the few teaser renders Mitsubishi has provided the world.
The vibe appears to be “tough, but playful,” which shines through via the half-circle LED daytime running lights. Bisected in the way that they are, they give the van a serious appearance at odds with its size, but they also call back to the original Delica’s wide-eyed mug with its round sealed beams, as you can see in the timeline above.
The Delica logo embossed wide on the front and rear leave no ambiguity as to the kei van’s origins, and the silver cladding on the fringes of the bumpers give the package a purposeful look. We barely get a side view of the thing, but I like the decision to black out pretty much everything above the beltline, while having the body color portion rise up to meet the D pillar. That cue also appears on the existing eK X Space, for what it’s worth.
The treatment of the wheel arches is a little strange, as you can see in the top shot. They look painted on more than anything else. But the dimensions of a kei-class vehicle are incredibly stringent, so merely blacking out the perimeter strikes as a cute nod to what this van wishes it could be.
Much of the charm of kei cars can be observed only on the inside, and regrettably Mitsubishi isn’t offering any clues as to what the Delica Mini’s interior looks like yet. For that, you’ll have to wait two months. To drive one without relocating, you’ll have to wait 25 years. Oh, the pain of being a Delica enthusiast.