You can have your modern Mitsubishi MPV in two very different flavours: the stylish Mitsubishi Grandish or the squarish Mitsubishi Delica. The latter subscribes to the bento box philosophy of Japanese car design, which prioritises function over fashion and maximises interior space by banishing exterior curves. The result is, of course, perfectly boxy, but it is also roomy and comfy (with good ground clearance).
The Mitsubishi Delica is indeed a comfortable container for a big bunch of commuters – up to eight of them – and there is enough spare room in the car to accommodate them even after they’ve polished off their hearty box lunches.
Unlike the typical MPV, which puts priority passengers in the first row, business class travellers in the second and cattle class cheapskates in the third, the Mitsubishi Delica gives everybody on board more or less the same generous space and restful leather seats. Rear occupants also enjoy a multimedia mini-theatre and their own air-con system.
Noticeably missing from the ceiling are the earlier Mitsubishi Delica’s triple skylights, which add considerably to the “lounge” feel. The powered sliding doors have been retained, but the previously electric tailgate is now a manual affair, which makes closing the massive piece of metal nearly as challenging as stowing the third row seats against the side windows to boost cargo capacity.
At the other end of the Mitsubishi Delica, the original 2.4-litre 170bhp engine has been replaced by a 2-litre 150bhp unit. Performance has been reduced accordingly, which is easier to accept than the increase in mechanical babel.
Thankfully, wind noise is low despite the car-ton shape, and tyre roar is not an issue despite the 225/55 R18 rubber. Even more surprising is the Mitsubishi Delica’s handling, which does not tally with its big-box-on-wheels appearance. Its behaviour in corners is unbelievably neat, so much so that the Delica might just keep up with a Celica.
Best of all, things won’t get strewn all over the floor because the upright dashboard has more bins, shelves and trays than you know what to put in them. Additional compartments between the front seats and in the doors provide even more places to stash your stuff. The air-conditioned upper glovebox keeps your drinks chilled.
Still cool is the Delica’s idea of moving eight people, even though they’ll now take a little more time to reach their destination.
Mitsubishi Delica 2.0 (A)
ENGINE 1998cc, 16-valves, inline-4
MAX POWER 150bhp at 6000rpm
MAX TORQUE 197Nm at 4200rpm
GEARBOX CVT with 6-speed override
0-100KM/H 12.2 seconds
TOP SPEED 180km/h
PRICE INCL. COE $155,988 (as of January 2011)
Check out Mitsubishi’s people-mover, the seven-seater Mitsubishi Outlander
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