The 2023 Mitsubishi Delica Mini Is a $13,700, AWD Hybrid Reason To End the 25-Year Rule

Let’s be honest, we’d all rather have one of these than some $50,000 crossover.

byJames Gilboy|
2023 Mitsubishi Delica Mini
Mitsubishi Motors

Now in its 55th year of existence, the Mitsubishi Delica has always punched above its weight. Now, it's about to drop into a smaller weight class with the Delica Mini. It's an aggressive, electrified kei van ready for adventure—and makes you want to be ready to end all import bans.

The Delica Mini marks the first time the Delica has been truly represented as a kei car, the smallest class of highway-legal cars in Japan. They're limited to about 11-by-5 feet and 660-cc engines with 63 horsepower. The Delica Mini measures in there exactly, with both naturally aspirated and turbo engine options, at least one pairing with an electric motor. It only adds two hp, but it boosts torque by 30 lb-ft.

Power travels through a CVT to either two or all four wheels, an option Mitsubishi says most Delica Mini pre-orders have spec'd. All-wheel-drive models use retuned shocks, 23-inch tires, brake vectoring-based traction control, and hill descent modes to optimize off-road performance. They'll have plenty of dealer accessories from roof racks to mud flaps, alloy wheels, and throwback sticker packs. Maybe a Ralliart one is in order too.

Though the Delica Mini will be one of the cheapest cars on sale in Japan, it still comes with respectable standard equipment. It has sliding rear doors, water- and stain-resistant upholstery, and Mi-Pilot driver-assistance technology. That means LED auto high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping steering assist, sign recognition, and automatic emergency braking.

It's a complete package for a small car, and at a starting price equivalent to less than $13,700, it's affordable to almost anyone. In Japan, that is; not us because it won't be sold in the U.S. When the average transaction price for a new car is almost four times that, it sounds like time to end the 25-year import ban. I'd go to much greater lengths to get a Delica Mini, I tell you.

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