They may not be the most popular or beautiful car, but there is a lot about the Mistubishi Delica that many overlook.
The car is the love child of four-wheel drive Pajero/Montero and a common van – which works out to be the absolute perfect combination for adventure travellers who love exploring and sleeping in their cars.
If you’ve never heard of the Delica before, don’t worry… the majority of the world hasn’t either! Since the 1980’s the four wheel drive van has only been sold in Japan. Over the years however, the rate of importation to Canada, the UK, Chile and Australia have sky rocketed. But why?
Here are the main reasons why so many people are starting to import Delicas and why we decided to make ours into a 4×4 home to drive the world in.
Being Japanese designed and built, Delicas are actually incredibly advanced for their years. Heated seats, electric mirrors, automatic headlights, enormous sunroof, arm rests and versatile seating are just some of the perks you get when you drive a Delica.
The extra comfortable seats and spaciousness inside the van make it feel like you’re riding in a luxury car, not some random vehicle that looks like a toaster. Just perfect for long drives and exploration.
The Delica shares the same drive train and traction system as the Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero with the option of 3.0 V6 petrol or 2.8 turbo-diesel. It’s traction is made by Mitsubishi Super Select with low-range gears and the same central differential lock used in all Mitsubishi four-wheel drives.
This means Delicas are just as capable, if not more so (due to their light weight) as four wheel driving than its siblings. The only difference between the Delica and the other 4x4s in the Mitsubishi range is the suspension and part of the chassis which were designed to fit the requirements of a van.
This means we’ll be able to take Vanda pretty much anywhere we feel like it during our trip. Check out what a Delica is capable of in the video above!
Vehicle for eight or tiny home for two
Eight people can comfortably fit in a Delica, with space to spare! We originally bought Vanda to transport Alex’s large family around when they came to visit us in Australia. In the middle of summer, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees celsius, 8 of us travelled super comfortably in Vanda no problems!
If you don’t have a big family though, the Delica has all the space needed to build a super cosy campervan for two. The sky is the limit when creating a home in a Delica – check out this conversion that includes a pop-top roof, indoor kitchen, outdoor shower and the works.
Simple is sometimes best
Up until 1996 all Delicas were built with a very simple Electronic Control Unit. This makes fixing the engine and all internal electronics extremely straight forward.
If something in the Delica stops working its very likely you’ll be able to fix it with a bit of mechanical knowledge and some spare parts!
You can find spare parts world-wide
Mitsubishi is a household name all over the world. And as the Delica has the same engine and chassis as the Pajero/Montero it is relatively easy to find parts anywhere you go.
We’ve always found what we needed in Australia, Canada and online at partsouq (an online business based in Dubai that ships worldwide).
The perfect overlanding vehicle
The Delica can go almost everywhere, its super comfortable and can be transformed into a house. It’s also not as fuel-guzzling or difficult to park compared to the larger trucks and buses some overlanders choose for their adventures.
If you want a little extra space the Delica comes in a long wheel-base option (about 2 foot longer) or you can pop on a rooftop tent like we have.
Last but certainly not least: PRICE
A running and registered used Delica goes for between AUD $1,000 – $8,000 in Australia (US $800 – $6,300). The majority of other used overlanding vehicles start at AUD $15,000 and can skyrocket in price from there.
This means if you’re planning an overland trip and buy a Delica, you’ll have a load of change left for your travels without, in our opinion, having to sacrifice reliability.
We bought our 1994 model for AUD $6,000 (US $4,750) in Australia with 180,000kms on the clock. We’re now at 300,000kms and have had very few mechanic and/or electrical issues.
Unfortunately U.S laws prohibit imports on vehicles younger than 25 years old, so buying a Delica like ours isn’t yet possible in the States (although you can buy the older version Delica L300). In another 2 years however this will change when the L400 turns 25!
Overall we’re super glad we chose Vanda as the vehicle we’re driving the world in. After almost a year and a half on the road she’s never disappointed us and continues to surprise us in her off-roading capabilities and general reliability.