Kei Trucks

Kei trucks like this blue Suzuki Jimny are legendary

Suzuki Carry are very popular Japanese Kei trucks that are produced by Suzuki in Japan. They have a slim and compact body design that is easy to maneuver in small or congested roads. Their loading area is accessible with pallets and their driver's cabin offers some comfort and convenience features. Suzuki Carry has a 658cc R06A inline-3 engine that produces 57.6 hp (43 kW; 58 PS) of power and 63.4 lb-ft (86 Nm) of torque. This model is so popular and capable that many other top manufacturers just rebrand them as their own. Read on to see who does this. Oh, and there's a hot new electric copy cat for you to see here first.

Here are body style options of the 1998 Suzuki Carry:

In Japan, Suzuki has another more famous model called Jimny. Suzuki Jimny has been a kei car throughout several generational iterations, produced from 359 cc 2-cylinder engines (LJ10) to 660 cc 3-cylinder engines (SJ30). They still make the Jimny as a kei truck, but also offer them as a 2425 pound 4x4 with 1462 cc engine displacement.

Suzuki Jimnys like this blue one are off-road kei trucks
The gorgeous and extremely capable kei trucks for off-road are Suzuki Jimnys

Daihatsu Hijet is another Japanese Kei truck that is produced by Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota. It is similar to the Suzuki Carry and Honda Acty in terms of size, design, and performance, but it has some distinctive features such as a rear-mounted engine, a mid-engine layout, and a four-wheel independent suspension. It has a loading platform of 1930 millimeters in length and 1400 millimeters in width, and a 660cc EF-SE inline-3 engine that produces 52 PS (38 kW; 51 hp) of power and 63 Nm (46 lb-ft) of torque.

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Subaru Sambar pickup and its Dias van version since 2007 has been a rebadged Daihatsu Hijet. Subaru and Daihatsu are both divisions, I guess you'd say, of their parent company Toyota. In 1990 - 1999, Sambar and Dias had 658 cc engines with optional 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmissions. They had a wheelbase of 1,885 mm (74.2 in); length at 3,295 mm (129.7 in); width of 1,395 mm (54.9 in); height of 1,760–1,895 mm (69.3–74.6 in); and their curb weight was 680–990 kg (1,499.1–2,182.6 lb).

The Mitsubishi Minicab is a kei truck and microvan that has been produced by Mitsubishi Motors since 1966. The current generation of the Minicab is a rebadged Suzuki Carry, except for the Minicab MiEV, which is a battery electric model. The Minicab has a 658cc R06A inline-3 engine that produces 57.6 hp (43 kW; 58 PS) of power and 63.4 lb-ft (86 Nm) of torque. It has a length of 3.395 m (11 ft 1.6 in), a width of 1.475 m (4 ft 10.1 in), and a height of 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in). It has a loading capacity of 350 kg (771 lb) and a towing capacity of 300 kg (661 lb).

This yellow Mitsubishi Pajero Mini qualifies as a kei truck.

The Mitsubishi Pajero Mini was styled as a miniature version of the company's successful Pajero sport utility vehicle. The mini qualified as a kei truck in production from 1994 - 2012 with 660 cc four-cylinder gas engines. The 1998 Pajero Mini had 659 cc engines with optional 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic transmissions. Their wheelbase was 2,200 mm (86.6 in); llLength was 3,395 mm (133.7 in); width was 1,475 mm (58.1 in); height was 1,635 mm (64.4 in); and their curb weight came in at just 820–990 kg (1,808–2,183 lb).

Mazda Scrum is a kei truck and microvan that has been produced by Mazda since the late 80’s. For its entire existence, it has been based on the Suzuki Carry mini truck. The current generation of the Scrum is a rebadged Suzuki Carry, except for the Scrum e-Wagon, which is a battery electric model. The Scrum has a 658cc R06A inline-3 engine that produces 57.6 hp (43 kW; 58 PS) of power and 63.4 lb-ft (86 Nm) of torque. It has a length of 3.395 m (11 ft 1.6 in), a width of 1.475 m (4 ft 10.1 in), and a height of 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in). It has a loading capacity of 350 kg (771 lb) and a towing capacity of 300 kg (661 lb).

Acty was a fairly popular Kei truck and was produced by Honda in Japan. It was designed to be an economical, practical, reliable, and tough vehicle that can be used commercially and for transporting goods. It has a loading platform of 1940 millimeters in length and 1410 millimeters in width, and a 656cc E07Z SOHC inline-3 engine that produces 45 PS (33 kW; 44 hp) of power and 59 Nm (43.52 lb-ft) of torque. Production of the Acty ended in 2021.

You will need to check the legality of these vehicles in your country, as some of them may not be allowed or may require special permits or modifications to be imported or registered.

Are Kei Trucks Still Made?

Some models of Kei trucks are still being made by some Japanese automakers, such as Suzuki, Daihatsu, Mitsubishi, and Mazda. Honda doesn't make them anymore. They are popular in Asia for their small size, fuel efficiency, and versatility, but they are subject to strict regulations in Japan and some other countries. In the US, kei trucks are only legal in some states and usually require special permits or modifications to be registered or imported.

Not Quite Kei Eligible

Honda has discontinued the production and sales of Honda Acty in 2021. There is no official announcement from Honda about a replacement model for the Acty, but some sources suggest that the Honda Vamos, which is a mini MPV that shares the same platform as the Acty van, could be a possible successor. However, the Vamos is not a kei truck like the Acty, and it may not have the same features and performance as the Acty.

The South Korean automaker, Hyundai, does not produce Kei trucks, but it has a similar vehicle called the Hyundai Porter, which is a light commercial vehicle that is sold in some Asian markets. It is larger and more powerful than the Kei restrictions, but also more expensive and less fuel-efficient. It has a loading capacity of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) and a 2.5 L CRDi diesel engine that produces 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp) of power and 255 Nm (188 lb-ft) of torque.

This off-road white Cenntro TeeMak is not a kei truck

The Cenntro TeeMak is similar to kei in some ways, but also different in others. Here are some of the similarities and differences between them:

  • Similarities:
    • Both are small, compact, and versatile vehicles that can be used for various commercial and personal purposes, such as farm, delivery, logistics, transportation, and cargo.
    • Both are designed to be economical, practical, reliable, and tough, and can handle different road conditions and terrains.
  • Differences:
    • The Cenntro platform is an electric vehicle, while most kei trucks are gasoline-powered. The Cenntro platform has a 118 kWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery that gives it a range of 273 miles (440 km), while most keis have a fuel tank that gives them a range of about 200 miles (320 km).
    • The Cenntro platform is a fully programmable and autonomous vehicle, while a kei truck is manual and conventional. The Cenntro platform has an open-platform iChassis that allows third parties to develop their own software and hardware to control and maneuver the vehicle, while most kei trucks have a fixed chassis and features that are determined by the manufacturer.
    • The Cenntro platform is a new and innovative vehicle that was launched in 2023, while most kei trucks are old and traditional vehicles that have been around since the 1960s. The Cenntro platform has modern and advanced technologies and features, such as digital dashboard, wireless charging, smart sensors, and LED lights, while most keis have simple and basic technologies and features, such as analog gauges, manual windows, and halogen lights.

Little known Cenntro has delivered over 3,600 electric vehicles and traveled over 20 million miles. It has also been granted over 238 patents and certified in more than 32 countries. The company has more than six assembly plants around the world.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Kei Trucks, Legendary Minitrucks
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