While the L300 lives on in either cab and chassis or FB form, along with other variants out there, there is one body style that's still missing. Since the late 2010s, there hasn't been a brand-new Versa Van on sale here. But here's to hoping we'll get a new one soon because Mitsubishi has just launched one in Australia.
Released in the Land Down Under recently was the next-generation Express, which is what they call the L300 van over there. Unlike the L300 here, however, this is a totally new design with a lot of help from Renault. We had actually reported on it way back in 2018 when the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance announced that they will be making a global van. Two years had passed and it looks like that plan had finally come to fruition.
The all-new Express is actually a rebadged Renault Trafic and it's nothing like the iconic Versa Van. For starters, the engine us upfront rather than underneath the front seats. It's much like the new Toyota Hiace in that aspect. That also means that its front end is no longer flat. Changes between the Trafic and Express are largely down to its grill and badges inside and out.
For now, it only comes as a panel van with no windows on the side. It does come with dual-sliding doors for easier curbside entry and exit. As the Alliance is keen to make it a global product, we're likely to see a more passenger-oriented version to come out eventually. After all, there were windowed versions of the Express in Australia and New Zealand.
On to engines and there are two to choose from. First is a 1.6-liter twin-turbo diesel with 140 PS and 340 Nm of torque, which is then paired to a six-speed manual transmission. The second is a 2.0-liter, single turbo diesel that's good for 170 PS and 380 Nm of torque. With figures like that, it puts it squarely on against its chief rival, the Hiace. That engine is then mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Mitsubishi Motors Australia's lineup is mostly parallel to the one seen here. That means there might be a big possibility of it being sold locally too. If so, we'd love to see it badged as an L300 Versa Van here should it make its way to our dealerships.