A guide to the Kei Suzuki Engine

The Suzuki Engine is generally found in the rear or under the seat of a Kei Truck. Though small, the engines provide ample power to the vehicles. However, all of the Suzuki Engines are not the same. Because of the various generations as well as the way in which Kei Trucks have evolved to stay competitive in the market, your Suzuki Engine may be different than others. If you ever wondered about the engines of a Suzuki Kei, read on.

Suzuki Engine displayed on a front located engine.

The Early Suzuki Engine

During the beginning of the Kei truck development, most of the vehicles were smaller and required less power. Additionally, restrictions as to what could be constructed caused the vehicle to have a smaller and less powerful engine than models today. On the first models, such as the Suzuki Carry first generation, you had a 359cc, 2-cylinder engine. This engine was air cooled, much like the Volkswagen van.

The speed and horsepower of the first-generation Suzuki Engine was only 21hp. But given that this engine was primarily for off-road use, it was a good selection for its time. Most of the Suzuki Engine options remained with the 359cc engine until the late 70s. At that time the engine switched over to a more powerful LJ50 359cc, 2-cylinder, 2-stroke engine. Unlike the former engines, these engines were water cooled. Additionally, the engine saw a bit more power going up to 28hp. In the 80s and early 90s the power increased yet again with some engines getting up to 45hp.

Modern Kei Suzuki Engines

As technology and regulations have changed over the years, so has the Suzuki Engine. Modern engines are 3-cylinder, a change from prior generations. Additionally the engines get a huge 68hp. While this is lower than full-sized vehicles, for a Kei this is tremendous power. The increase in power comes as a response to more laxed regulations on the size and width of the Kei trucks. You can see the difference in the modern Suzuki Carry as well as in competitors such as the Subaru Sambar.

When driving, the engine of the modern Suzuki Kei has a slight vibration. This is typical of 3 cylinder engines. Acceleration when driving is a bit long, with the vehicles reaching 62mph in about 13 seconds. That being stated, this is not an issue when driving within a town or small city where you would not need to have dynamic acceleration. And as most Kei Trucks and Vans are designed for off-road use, the power is more than sufficient.

Although older, if you wish to use your vehicle for on-road use, pick a model which is 25 years or older. The engine in the Kei Truck should still be good as most of the engines have a lifespan of up to 200k miles. Double check the milage on the engine. If needed you can repair or replace the engine for far less then it would cost you to purchase a new vehicle. Before importing contact your local tax and importation authority to ensure your Kei meets current regulations.