Mitsubishi Minicab

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Mitsubishi Minicab
Mitsubishi Minicab 2000.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors
Also called Mitsubishi Varica (Taiwan)
Mitsubishi L100
Nissan Clipper
CMC Varica
Production 1966–present
Assembly Kurashiki, Okayama (Mizushima Plant)
Body and chassis
Class Kei truck
Body style Pickup truck, microvan
Layout FR layout, F4 layout
Powertrain
Engine 359 cc ME24 I2 two-stroke
359 cc 2G10 I2 two-stroke
471 cc 2G22 I2
546 cc G23B I2
644 cc 2G24 I2
783 cc 2G25 I2
548 cc 3G81 I3
796 cc 3G82 I3
659 cc 4A30 I4
1.1 L 4G82 I4
Chronology
Predecessor Mitsubishi 360

The Mitsubishi Minicab is a kei truck and microvan built and sold in Japan by Mitsubishi Motors since 1966. In Japan, it was sold at a specific retail chain called Galant Shop. An all-electric model, the Minicab MiEV, is sold in the Japanese market since December 2011.[1] It was also sold by China Motor Corporation (CMC) in Taiwan as the CMC Varica, starting in 1985.

First generation[edit]

1966 Mitsubishi Minicab (LT30)

The Minicab cab-over pickup truck was launched in 1966 to replace the 360 trucklet, which by this time had adopted the same model name as the Minica sedan. Codenamed LT30 it shared the sedan's air cooled two-stroke 359 cc ME24 engine, and was available with cargo gates on three sides to simplify loading and unloading. A van version was introduced in 1968, available in four different equipment levels.[2] The T30 truck was replaced in 1971 by the new Minicab EL, but the van was kept in production (now also called the "Minicab EL") and updated with a dummy grille and headlight surround. The air-cooled T30V with its 26 PS (19 kW) engine was kept in production until 1976, with no further modifications except a 1974 adjustment to fit larger license plates.

Second generation[edit]

1972-1976 Mitsubishi Minicab W (T131)

In 1971 the Minicab underwent its first model change, with the Minicab EL offering a new interior and a longer cargo bed. Called the T130 it was only available in truck form, with the old LT30 van soldiering on until the third generation was introduced in 1976. Ride quality was improved with the adoption of a front wishbone and rear leaf spring suspension. The EL received all new bodywork with tiny rectangular headlamps.

A panel van was added to the Minicab truck lineup in 1972, when it also became the Minicab W with the new water-cooled 2G10 engine (hence the W).[2] This model carries the T131 chassis code and is easily identified by its reworked front end, reverting to round headlights. It also carries a prominent "W" on the front, beneath the left headlight. The grille was altered and the headlights made larger yet in 1973, with the "W" replaced by a "Minicab" script. For 1975 the Minicab received an emissions cleaned engine using Mitsubishi MCA technology, still with 28 PS (21 kW).

Third generation[edit]

Third generation Minicab van (L100, Chile)

In April 1976, the third generation Minicab was introduced. In keeping with the changes in vehicle tax regulations, the Minicab 5 featured an increase in length, and adopted the enlarged 471 cc Vulcan S engine from the car line, still with the same max power as the 360. It also incorporated new features like a windscreen defroster, a central console box and a central ventilation system. This engine did not take full advantage of the new regulations, which allowed up to 550 cc, and was only used in a short-lived group of interim models.

It was modified again in April 1977, when it was widened and received a full 546 cc engine and the new name "Minicab Wide 55". Power was increased marginally to 29 PS (21 kW). It continued until 1979, when Mitsubishi dropped "Wide 55" from the Minicab name as the market was now considered to be aware of the increase in body size and engine capacity. Power also increased by two horsepower at this time. For some export markets, such as Chile, this version was known as Mitsubishi L100.[2] This model was replaced in 1982.

In China the third generation was built and sold as both the Shenwei SYW 1010 and as the Liuzhou Wuling LZ 110.[3] The LZ 110 was available as a van or as a truck, and had Mitsubishi's larger 800 cc engine as fitted to certain other Mitsubishi export versions.

Fourth generation[edit]

Fourth generation Minicab truck.

Further model range updates have been in parallel with the Minica, starting with the fourth generation's introduction in 1982. Although improvements were made to enhance the Minicab's commercial applications, the most noticeable changes were made to support personal leisure activities. Angular headlamps played an important role in the Minicab's styling, along with larger windows to improve visibility. A rear window wiper, electronic locking rear gate and power brakes were adopted, and in 1983 the Flat-floor Van model adopted a double-walled construction to offer a flat, open cargo area. Mitsubishi offered fifteen front- and four-wheel drive van model variations and ten truck variations.

The fourth generation Minicab incorporated many class-leading features such as an automatic free-wheel hub adopted on all four-wheel drive models, while two-wheel drive models had a turning radius of 3.7 metres (12.1 ft). The estate models featured the first sliding sunroof in their class. In 1987, the Minicab became the first manufacturer to offer a supercharged kei car.[2] In China the fourth generation Minicab was built and sold as the Wuling LZW 1010 for the commercial variants and the Wuling LZW 6330 for the passenger variant.[3]

Fifth generation[edit]

Fifth generation Minicab van.

A larger and completely redesigned Minicab was released in 1991 to take advantage of tax regulations allowing for increased dimensions and engine capacity of kei cars. Three new 660cc engines were introduced: a 4-valve SOHC unit, a 5-valve DOHC unit and a 2-valve SOHC unit. Across the range, there was a total of 66 possible model variations.[2] This included a new variant, the retro-styled Bravo Route 66, however, one previous variant, the high-roof truck, was discontinued.[3]

Sixth generation[edit]

Sixth generation Minicab van.

The sixth generation Minicab was introduced in 1999 now sporting a new semi-front design. By April 1999, a "wagon" version called the Town Box was introduced.

Minicab MiEV[edit]

Prototype of the Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV all-electric van.

Mitsubishi began testing of the Minicab MiEV in Japan in October 2010.[1] In January 2011, Mitsubishi announced that it would add an electric version of Minicab, Minicab MiEV, for sale in Japan in the third quarter of 2011. Mitsubishi later announced a December 2011 launch.[4]

Mitsubishi picked up early orders for 100 units from major delivery company Yamato Transport in May of that year.[5] The commercial use electric vehicle is estimated to have a range of 100 km (62 mi) with a full charge, which is lower than that of i-MiEV, in a bid to reduce costs. The price is aimed for less than ¥2,000,000 (about US$24,450) after subsidies.[6]

The Minicab MiEV was released in the domestic market in December 2011,[1][7] and a total of 4,544 units have been sold in Japan through October 2013.[8] A truck version of the Minicab MiEV was launched in January 2013,[9] and sales totaled 536 units through October 2013.[8]

Nissan Clipper[edit]

Mitsubishi also manufactures a badge-engineered version of the Minicab pickup on behalf of Nissan, which sells it as the Nissan Clipper (a badge originally used on a larger range of Prince and Nissan trucks).[10] The Minicab/Clipper competes in Japan with the Honda Acty, Subaru Sambar, Daihatsu Hijet, and the Suzuki Carry.

Gallery[edit]

CMC Varica[edit]

In Taiwan, as in mainland China, long wheelbase iterations of the fourth generation Minicab were also available with a variety of bodywork. The Taiwanese version (built by CMC, China Motor Corporation) was called the CMC Varica (中華威利) and was available with a 1,061 cc 4G82 engine with 58 PS (43 kW). Overall length was up to 3,645 mm (143.5 in), with a wheelbase lengthened to 1,475 mm (58.1 in) right in front of the rear axle. Top speed was 115 km/h (71 mph).[11] The Varica's nose was also extended somewhat.

Later a 1.2-litre version replaced the smaller 1100, and the car underwent a facelift which included a longer more rounded nose. From November 2004 India's Premier has been building a diesel powered version of the Varica.[12] Its body panels are shipped from Taiwan, and a Hindustan-built 2-liter Isuzu diesel unit is fitted. It has 58 hp (43 kW) and is mated to a four-speed manual gearbox, while the car offers from five to nine seats.[13] A multitude of other versions have since been developed, and as of 2009 the engine has been replaced by a 1.5 liter IDI diesel (with or without turbo) or by the CNG-powered 1.8-liter 4ZB1 (both still manufactured by Hindustan).[14] The Sigma was discontinued around 2012, but the pickup version (called the Premier Roadstar) remains available as of 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Mitsubishi Motors starts taking orders for Minicab-MiEV commercial mini EV". Mitsubishi Motors Australia. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Minicab". Mitsubishi Motors History. Mitsubishi-Motors.co.za. Archived from the original on 2008-06-26. 
  3. ^ a b c Schaefers, Martin. "History of Japanese Kei Class Minivans and Trucks". Far East Auto Literature. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Lienert, Paul. "Mitsubishi To Unveil Plug-In Hybrid Concept: 2011 Tokyo Auto Show". Edmunds Inside Line. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Stephen Munday (2011-05-26). "Yamato Takyubin Delivery Co. Orders 100 Minicab-MiEV Vans". Integrity Exports. 
  6. ^ Isabel Reynolds (21 January 2011). "Mitsubishi Motors to use Toshiba battery in EV: report". Reuters. 
  7. ^ Eric Loveday (2011-12-11). "Mitsubishi to Launch Electric Mini Truck in 2012". PluginCars.com. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  8. ^ a b "三菱 i-MiEVなどの2013年10月度 販売実績" [Mitsubishi i-MiEV sales results for October 2013] (in Japanese). Electric Vehicle News. 2013-11-28. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  9. ^ Mark Kane (2013-06-10). "Mitsubishi’s Pure Electric Vehicle Sales Tumbling in Japan as Outlander PHEV Dominates". InsideEVs.com. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  10. ^ "Mitsubishi supplies Nissan with mini-vehicles". AM Online. 10 August 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  11. ^ Mitsubishi Varica New Tone 1100 (catalog). Old Car Manual Project. 1991. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  12. ^ Mazur, Eligiusz, ed. (2006). World of Cars 2006·2007. Warsaw, Poland: Media Connection Sp. z o.o. p. 153. ISSN 1734-2945. 
  13. ^ Krishnan, Srinivas (2004-11-20). "Premier Sigma - Van Diesel". Business Standard Motoring. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  14. ^ Premier Sigma: India's first compact diesel van (brochure), Pune, India: Premier Ltd., 2010 

External links[edit]