Mambo D5: Mitsubishi USA Needs a Ralliart Delica Van in Its Life
Several months ago, Mitsubishi surprised many of its longtime fans when it announced the return of its Ralliart performance division. Since then, enthusiasts have wondered what shape Mitsubishi’s renewed performance focus would take. And the mystery only deepened when the automaker dropped some teasers before the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon. But Mitsubishi didn’t just show off a Ralliart concept—it also took the wraps off a special Delica van.
The Mitsubishi Vision Ralliart Concept is, perhaps inevitably, a crossover
Many speculated—including some high-up shareholders—that Mitsubishi would be bringing the Lancer Evo back when it announced Ralliart’s return. Unfortunately, those enthusiasts will have to wait a bit longer, because that’s not what the Vision Ralliart Concept is. Instead of a sedan, it’s a crossover.
To be fair, the Mitsubishi Vision Ralliart Concept does have genuine racing elements. For example, those snazzy-looking wheels? They’re center-lock wheels, commonly seen on race cars. At 22”, these are rather large wheels. However, because they reportedly cover large disc brakes with six-piston calipers, their size makes functional sense. Also, Mitsubishi gave the Vision Ralliart a functional rear diffuser, front radiator shutter, and tons of mesh, presumably for extra airflow.
Still, seeing another crossover with the name of a beloved Mitsubishi icon might not sit well with fans still reeling from the Eclipse Cross. But given the brand’s current state, it shouldn’t be surprising. At least in the US, Mitsubishi’s biggest sellers are crossovers like the Outlander and Eclipse Cross. And it’s not like a performance crossover is that out of left field. The Porsche Macan is an excellent example, and it was one of the brand’s best-selling vehicles worldwide in 2021.
With that in mind, the Mitsubishi Vision Ralliart Concept is less sacrilege and more natural progression. But worry not, brand traditionalists, because the company showed off something else at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon.
Overlanders will likely dig the Mitsubishi Delica D:5 Tough x Tough van more, though
Actually, Mitsubishi showed off several other ‘somethings’ at the show besides the Vision Ralliart Concept.
It brought along two electric kei cars, the K-EV concept X Style hatchback and the Minicab-MiEV B-Leisure Style van. The former is sort of a kei-sized electric crossover, while Mitsubishi modified the latter into a kind of mini RV. It’s got a fold-out cot, awning, table, chair, rug, and an onboard power supply to run, say, a laptop or coffee machine.
Speaking of outdoor adventures, Mitsubishi teamed up with Japanese outdoor brand Ogawa to create a special Outlander. In addition to the blacked-out color scheme and Ralliart logos, the Mitsubishi Outlander Wild Adventure Style also has a liftgate spoiler and mud flaps. Plus, it sports several Mitsubishi accessories, including all-terrain tires, bumper protectors, a roof carrier, and a trailer hitch, Autoblog notes.
However, if you’re a #vanlife fan, the Mitsubishi Delica D:5 Tough x Tough likely captured your imagination. Yes, the beloved Delica van is now in its fifth generation, now with AWD instead of 4WD. But this one’s ready for adventures, thanks to a suspension lift, all-terrain tires, 16” wheels, bumper guards, and mud flaps. Also, it has a sleeping pad and a roof carrier with a rooftop tent.
Could any of these Mitsubishi concepts make it to the US?
Given how strongly owners of imported Mitsubishi Delica vans are fighting DMVs trying to repossess their machines, bringing a Ralliart-modified one here seems like a no-brainer. But given how expensive and time-consuming homologating a car is, the odds of the D:5 making it to the US in any form are slim.
Make that zero. According to Car and Driver, most of the Tokyo Auto Salon showcases won’t be coming to the US. That includes the Mitsubishi Outlander and Eclipse Cross Ralliart Style appearance packages, even though both crossovers are sold here. However, with the Vision Ralliart Concept, things are a little different.
As of this writing, Mitsubishi hasn’t released official powertrain specs for the Vision Ralliart Concept. But Car and Driver says that it’s based on the Outlander. If that’s true, the radiator shutter could be hiding the upcoming Outlander PHEV’s plug-in hybrid powertrain. The fact that Mitsubishi’s press release contains the phrase “powerful torque of its motors” seems to support that notion. So, theoretically, the Vision Ralliart could preview a sportier version of the Outlander, or perhaps a high-performance crossover based on its platform.
For all you Delica van fans, though, there’s always the import market.
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