Kei Class Vehicles

The kei or lightweight class vehicles have long been in use in Japan. The kei truck or, more popularly, the mini truck is a very useful workhorse that can be used almost anywhere. It was designed small to maximize maneuverability in the city streets of this Asian country.

These multipurpose trucks have long been a favorite export to the US of A. They are definitely very popular because the rules of importation for such vehicles are not very strict compared to brand new imports. The obvious explanation is because they are commonly used off the roads in farms & ranches. These versatile trucks can be fitted with any kind of bed to perform any purpose. They can become tourist trams when fitted with passenger cabs. They can haul boxes and crates when fitted with rail beds or, if the cargo is bulkier, flat beds. They can carry your family when fitted for vans. Their size & maneuverability makes them a suitable candidate as a hunting truck, easily snaking between trees, or as an ambulance in tight traffic.

Mini trucks used to have engines specified as 550 cc with forty hp but nowadays the Japanese have increased the standards to 660 cc with forty-five hp. Ownership of a vehicle is expensive in Japan. No, not the cost of the vehicle is expensive but the fees & taxes that are accorded to them. And the older a vehicle gets, the higher the taxes & fees go. Due to the strictness of fees & safety inspections, the Japanese maintain their vehicles well. And because of the fast depreciation, these vehicles are sold at reasonable prices.

The most common models of these trucks are the Minicab from Mitsubishi, the Hijet from Daihatsu, the Acuity from Honda, the Sambar from Subaru, and the Carry from Suzuki. Newer models come out every few years but the specifications are more or less similar.

The specs may vary from model to model and from year to year but the difference is minimal. That is because they really follow guidelines set by the Japanese government. Usually the dimensions are five feet & eight inches in height, ten feet & ten inches long, and four feet & six inches wide. The truck bed usually measures four feet & one inch by six feet & six inches. The wheelbase is six feet & three inches apart. The whole truck tips the scales at 1400 lbs. It has manual transmission with 4-5 gears.

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