Now there's a "Comparison/contrast" article I'm eager to read:lurk: .
Here's my 2 cents.
When comparing each other :
Syncro : Larger interior cargo space because the motor is in the rear compared to the front in the Delica.
Syncro : Ability to turn front seats around and walk from front to rear.
Syncro : Independent suspension
Syncro : Viscous coupler AWD system is great when paired with front/rear lockers. The Delica's mostly come with open front/rear diffs and p/t 4x4 (transfer case 4L/4H).
Delica : Durable 2.5L Turbo diesel engine with a stout drivetrain and bombproof auto transmission.
Delica : A/C front and rear separate controls. Great layout for air flow.
Delica : Hot/Cold box (fridge/freezer) holds two six packs in between driver/passenger's feet.
Delica : Cheap replacement drivetrain parts (all Mitsubishi Montero)
Delica : Short wheelbase great for offroading (pro's/con's)
All in all, I love both. If I could have only one and needed it for an expedition and dependability, I would pick the Delica based on the engine and drivetrain.
The Delica interior is a bit smaller but not by much. The syncro/vw has a boxy interior while the Delica is wider at the bottom and curves up a 'little' near the top. I'm only talking a few inches so not that much, but there is a difference when you hop into both. I have both stripped out completely and they are very close to top to bottom front to rear side to side measurements.
I like the fact that the Delica's that are 15 years old coming over from Japan look and drive like new vehicles. It's the law/the way they take care and drive the vehicles there. That's the reason why my last two 15 year old Delica's look brand new and have very little mileage on them.
This one's over 100,000 miles and it's just getting broken in.
Comparing the two is difficult. I love certain things about the syncro that the Delica's don't have and vice versa.
But we only have one to choose and I was leaning towards the syncro and converting it to a syncro westy when I saw this one (pop top Delica).
That sealed the deal. Now I can strip it out, camperize the interior the way I would like and have a 'modern' type of 4x4 diesel mini van. Looks ugly but definitely unique.
Alternately, I can have a Syncro Westy with a 1.9 TD in it. That would be epic. But to get that, I'm looking at over 20-30k which is nuts.
This Delica cost me 9,200 all taxes/import fees/landed. I put in 2,000 (tires/locker/lift/inspection/lights) and that's it so far.