Since 1968, Mitsubishi has produced a range of multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) under the name of Delica. The name Delica was actually derived from a contraction of the phrase “delivery car”. These vans and trucks are generally known for their versatility, large size, and practicality. The Delica truck and the passenger van derived from the truck went by many different names in the various international markets to which they were exported. In Australia, the commercial truck was known as the Express while the passenger Delica went by the name of Starwagon. However, these names can be used interchangeably for the more traditional name of Delica.
Delicas did not enter the Australian market until the second generation, in 1980. In that year, it was actually Chrysler Australia who brought the SA series Delica to Australia, calling it the Chrysler L300 Express. In October of that same year, Mitsubishi Motors acquired Chrysler Australia, renaming the company Mitsubishi Motors Australia. The L300 likewise became a Mitsubishi and began to thrive under that car company’s control. The L300 was originally offered alongside the passenger van Mitsubishi Starwagon, but was later phased out.
While the original Delicas were exceedingly boxy and angular, following generations of the car received more aerodynamic design. Over the years, the cars have undergone many improvements and changes both to the exterior and the interior, resulting in the high quality Delicas sold today both in Japan and internationally. In fact, Mitsubishi has refined the Delicas over five generations, with the newest fifth generation (the D:5) being one of the most luxurious and energy-efficient vans on the market today.
In general, Delicas are known to be sturdy, durable, and long-lasting vehicles with loads of versatility. These MPVs are perfect for large families, in the bush, or in use as people movers or supply movers. The biggest benefit to owning a Delica is the amount of space available in the vehicle. The cars are capable for off-road (with the right tires of course) and are made for long-distance travel. In fact, many Delicas have over 300,000km on them and are still on the roads today. One downside to owning a Delica is that the car was a low-volume import for Australia, so finding parts and mechanics to service your vehicle may be a bit of an issue.
There have been a large variety of Delicas available on the Australian market over the years, each with their own unique engine specs and seat configurations. When looking for a Delica, it is generally good to check out the specific engine and gas requirements and decide for yourself what exactly you’ll need.
The second generation (the first to be offered in Australia) came with a 1.6-litre engine, but that was quickly replaced by a 1.8-litre gasoline engine with an output of 74kW. That engine was offered in a 5-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic. The fourth generation Delica was based on the Mitsubishi Pajero. In Australia it was available as the Starwagon between 1994 and 2003. A large number of these vehicles can be found on the used car market. This generation was available as a GL with a 2.0 carburetted V4 engine, a GLX with a fuel-injected 2.4-litre V4 and the up market GLS with a 3.0-litre V6 engine.
The latest version of the Delica, released in 2013, is a clean diesel variation. It has a 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine with an output of 109kW and 360nM of torque.
The kit on the original Delicas was pretty sparse but was improved over the years. The first Delicas offered in Australia came in standard and Deluxe editions. The Deluxe version offered a higher roof, cloth upholstery, and an electric sunroof. This Deluxe version was renamed the Starwagon in 1982.
The following generation had a more aerodynamic design, a naturally aspirated diesel engine, and several safety updates. The latest version of the vehicle boasts Mitsubishi’s RISE safety body, AWC 4-wheel drive system, low fuel consumption, variable transmission, and many electronic amenities.
The Delica’s main competition comes from the Volkswagen Caravelle, which can carry an industry leading nine people. The Caravelle comes in two V-4 engine options at 102kW and 132kW with 340Nm and 400Nm respectively. This makes it tough for the Delica, since the Caravelle can carry more people and gets more power to take them where they need to go.