Vanlife Enthusiasts, This Mitsubishi Concept Is for You

japan mobility show floor mitsubishi concept
This Mitsubishi Concept Is for Vanlife EnthusiastsTomohiro Ohsumi - Getty Images
  • Mitsubishi reveals D:X concept at Japan Mobility Show, imagining a next-gen Delica 4x4 van with three rows of seats.

  • The plug-in hybrid concept features a "see-through" hood, with the terrain under the front axle displayed on a large screen in place of the dash.

  • The Delica of the 1990s was a popular foreign-market 4x4 minivan with a modest footprint but many amenities, making it ideal for road trips and overland travel.

Mitsubishi is one of just a handful of automakers that hasn't forgotten the 4x4 mini-MPV segment, which is one of the few niches the automaker has focused on over the years, with the long-running Delica nameplate having become legendary among vanlife enthusiasts.


At the Japan Mobility Show this year, these enthusiasts got a glimpse of a future Delica via the D:X concept.

Mitsubishi stayed close to the recipe of the first-gen model, giving the D:X concept plenty of ground clearance, a tall roof, modest front and rear overhangs, and a relatively narrow track in proportion to its height.

The interior, meanwhile, features three rows of rotating seats but lacks a B-pillar, allowing the sliding rear doors to allow easier ingress and egress.

japan auto show
The concept lacks a B-pillar, allowing easier access to the interior.KAZUHIRO NOGI - Getty Images

A large screen on the dash lets the occupants see the terrain ahead of the front axle, giving the driver an excellent view of the obstacles ahead, while the octagonal steering wheel is mounted on a wing that extends from the A-pillar.

It's a logical solution for the newfangled technology of "see-through" hoods of off-road vehicles, and one that should make 4x4 enthusiasts very envious.

As for the powertrain, this latest concept isn't quite an EV, even though Mitsubishi indicates it does have an EV mode as well as an internal-combustion engine, making this concept a plug-in hybrid.

japan mobility show
The D:X concept features a screen that displays the terrain under the front axle of the vehicle.Mitsubishi

Unlike other automakers like Rivian, Mitsubishi is perhaps being very realistic about the prospects of finding a working wall outlet in the great outdoors, which is why this concept retains a gas engine.

We're not holding our breath to see whether this Delica, or any new Delica for that matter, makes it stateside, as the automaker's lineup has seemingly retreated to something akin to a Nissan sub-brand.

However, Delicas over the age of 25 are readily importable at the moment, just not to every state.

As the EV era progresses, we wouldn't be surprised to see this bodystyle make a limited comeback, with the dual-motor VW ID. Buzz being the first to arrive.

Should Mitsubishi offer something like this in the US in the future, or is demand in this segment effectively too niche? Let us know what you think.