The Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck has been produced since 1960. Known in Japanese as the Midget, the truck is one of the most popular Kei Trucks on the market. The Kei truck is not in the same family as the Toyota, which bears a similar name. The production of the Daihatsu outdated the Toyota Hijet by twenty years. There have been 10 generations of the model. Knowing the differences between the generations is important. Here is what you need to know about the Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck.
Not just a truck
While the first Kei Truck bearing the name Daihatsu Hijet was introduced in 1960, it is not the only type of vehicle to have the name. In 1961, the company introduced a cab over micro-van. The van held similar traits to the Kei Truck. Both the truck and the van of the first models had a two-stroke engine. This meant that the rider sat behind the engine. For both of the first-generation models, the top speed was 47mph.
The early models were boxy in appearance, choosing functionality over aesthetics. However, in 1964, the first generations received an update. Giving the vehicle a chromed unit and a more robust body, the model took on a more competitive appearance. However, the vehicle still kept the square headlights and boxy grill design. It was not until the mid-generation changes that the boxy design of the body was reduced.
Early Generations of the Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck
After the first generation, the next few offered various changes to the Daihatsu Hiject Mini Truck. Rehanging the doors was done to fix the issues with the rear-hinged design of prior generations. Additionally, a ZM engine was implemented giving the mini truck a boost to 53 mph. This increase does not apply to the all-electric version, which was also offered at about the same time. In 1971, the Daihatsu Hijet Mini truck was redesigned with an all Sheetmetal truck. This produced a lighter vehicle with a less boxy design from the prior models.
The van also saw changes over the years. Specifically, a side van design was introduced in the early 70s, offering side door access. This design gave the van the aesthetics of the Volkswagen without the size of the vehicle. Bumpers were revamped to allow for full sized license plates.
Mid Generation Changes and features
The late 70s showed much change for the Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck. First, the truck received a longer and wider body. This longer body meant that the overall chassis had to be redone. The design used in the mid generations was also wider. As such, the engine was moved back. Accessing the engine became as simple as lifting the front seat. Overall, the mid-generations helped to change the look to a rounder design. Headlights were replaced with rounder options. The front clip was also replaced a few times, especially when there were changes to the chassis.
Mostly, the engine remained a two stroke, though there was an introduction of a four-stroke engine. In the early 80s, the engine was changed again. This change allowed for a four-wheel-drive transmission. In 1986, the engine was replaced with a three-stroke. This was something not offered in prior generations. As the vehicle was wider and longer, the vehicle received the nickname of the Hijet Wide for a time.
The Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck also changed its van versions during the late 70s and early 80s. One of the most substantial changes was the introduction of the panel van. Unlike the slide van and the cab over, the panel van was simply a box placed upon the bed of the Dauhatsu Hiject Mini truck.
The Ninth and Current generation
Perhaps the greatest changes to the Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck occurred in the ninth generation. First, the truck’s body changed to a semi cab design rather than the mid-engine cab over design of the prior generations. The truck also got refined to have a rounder design to match the demands of the market. The design followed with those of the industry and therefore there are several options available for the ninth generation.
The current generation started in 2004. Unlike other generations, this is the first generation not to offer the Daihatsu Hijet Truck until late in the 2020/21 years. Only the van is available. The van is offered with a turbo engine and is rear wheel driven. Both the ninth and the tenth generation is offered in Japan and in Indonesia. Toyota has also marketed the truck, though they call it the Toyota Pixis Van. Though the current model is slide door, there is the option of the panel van on certain models.
Tremendous changes to the dash, cabin and to the technology are seen in the newest models. This includes the brake sensors and other electronics, high cabin design, and digital radio options. Sleekier and filled with curves, the current generation brings the Daihatsu Hiject Mini Truck to being one of the top selling Kei trucks on the market.
Should you purchase a Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck?
There are several reasons a Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck may be the best option for your automotive needs. First, the vehicle is small, which allows for quick and precise navigation. This is ideal for those which need to navigate tight alleyways, construction sites, or get around on one-lane streets. The bed of the truck has a substantial weight load, making the vehicle ideal for agricultural uses. And, as the Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck can navigate steep terrain, it makes for a great off-road vehicle.
When considering your Daihatsu Hijet Mini truck, check the import and export options. Some districts only allow for trucks which are 25 years old or older to be imported, though new importation regulations may allow for certain models. Tax and registration should be checked with both your state and your local offices. Some areas offer on-road options for the Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck if it is used for agricultural purposes.