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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mitsubishi Delica D:5 2.0 - Road Test

What do you get when you cross a conventional off-roader with an MPV? A Mitsubishi Delica D:5.

The new Mitsubishi Delica D:5 is a monobox type minivan that's unique as it combines the sturdiness of a Sport-Utility Vehicle (SUV) with the user-friendliness of a minivan.

Its massive interior has room for eight, and although the variant in Singapore comes with a mere two-wheel-drive (2WD) system, it is based on the same platform as the Outlander.

The fifth iteration of the series, D:5, inherits and builds on the strengths of the Delica brand philosophy: a vehicle that transports its occupants to their destination safely and comfortably under all driving conditions.

Hence, covering running performance, body structure and cabin environment, the Delica D:5 underwent a full redesign - just to strengthen that very philosophy.

The bow-tied designers and engineers at Mitsubishi have certainly worked hard to come up with lines that are bold yet pleasant on the eyes for the exterior of this huge car. The dimensions are still those of a boxy van but the designers have managed to make it attractive, thanks to several eye-catching details on the front and rear ends.

Styling wise, the boxy-designed car carrying the 2.0-litre DOHC MIVEC engine is similar to the Hummer fascia when viewed from the front. The clean lines and smooth surfaces that combine well with chunky alloys and chromed front grill give the D:5 a very handsome look, setting it apart from the rest of its competitors.

It is also this powerfully crafted vertical bar grille that joins the headlamps together in a straight band to project a wide, purposeful look, allowing the big square-like headlamps to be a good match for the oversized body.

The rear end shares a similar treatment with the combination lamps and tailgate garnish running the full width of the rear in a single band in a frill-free and clean design. Similar to the front bumper, the rear one also came in metallic grey, which was a perfect match to the white pearl colour of the test car.

Of course, if this doesn't suit your taste, the D:5 also comes in a two-tone cosmic blue body with metallic grey bumpers or the warm white pearl body with the cool silver bumpers.

The Mitsubishi Delica D:5 presents a striking road-presence with a boxy body sitting on large wheels and tyres. And with the linear styling treatment, it produces an ageless exterior design that readily communicates its functional qualities.

The new D5 is a huge car and a sneak peak at any picture should convince you. But what completely did for me was stepping inside.

This car is designed to welcome eight occupants in excellent conditions of comfort. No doubt that other cars can also achieve what Mitsubishi has pulled off for the D:5, but the quality of the seats and overall space in this big papa is unrivalled.

The interior's functional space allows for larger baggage and other items. And although the third row seats don't fold as easily as those in the best MPVs, it doesn't take long for one to figure it out. A couple of steps of lifting and hooking the seats and the job is done, increasing the depth from 1200mm to 1610mm.

Inside, the futuristic silver centre console with three circular knobs that control the air-conditioner give the cabin bags of character. Neat and convenient touches such as the powered sliding side doors and electric tailgate can also be controlled from the dash and the key fob - something very similar to the Toyota Estima.
One of the relaxing features that is available for the rear passengers is the availability of the multimedia DVD entertainment system. A video screen with DVD player is located at the top of the second row bench and is easily accessible to all rear passengers.

Moreover, ceiling lights at the front makes the cabin a very soothing place to be. Not only will the occupants' minds be at ease with the comfortable and spacious interior, long trips will no longer be boring.

Mitsubishi has undoubtedly created a cabin that appears to cocoon the occupants and instil a reassuring sense of being safely protected.

The Drive
On the go, the D:5 is surprisingly surefooted and cushy. The 2.0-litre DOHC MIVEC engine, producing 150bhp of power and 197Nm of torque, provides good accelerations when and wherever you need it, from highways to sloping roads.

Due to the stature of the car, the ride is decidedly comfort-biased. It is almost like a grand tourer that dishes out well-insulated, fatigue-free jaunts across long distance driving.

Additionally, the steering (with audio controls) is relatively precise and with the MIVEC engine teaming up with the INVECS III six-speed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), it makes driving in heavy traffic easier and less stressful.

While the D:5 is prone to body roll around fast corners, tyre grip is decent. And if you decide to press on, the nose will run wide. Moreover, engine noise can be a tad loud during acceleration but once the gigantor is cruising along the highway, it settles down nicely. Nonetheless, the D:5 is composed, and its tall driving position means great visibility.

The Mitsubishi Delica D:5 is certainly functional when it comes to space management and delivery purposes. So if you ever intend to look for a vehicle that can haul eight passengers with ease, you know where to look for one. This is a vehicle that climbs, crawls, and gets you where you need to be - in a safe manner.

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