Which Japanese Mini Truck Should you buy?

Within the Japanese mini truck market, there are several options which are available. Knowing which vehicles rank well and knowing the price points and selling points of these automobiles is essential in helping you determine the right model to buy. Here are three of the most in demand brands on the market for your consideration.

Suzuki Carry

The Suzuki Carry is a carry is made of anti-rust steel. This allows the user to have the vehicle stored and operated in heavily moisturized areas. The galvanized bed of the cabin and angle posts have sealer around the exterior, on the gate, and doors. To minimize squeaking and abrasion issues, oil has been applied to the joints of all doors and outside hinges. Suzuki Carry mini trucks are guaranteed against rust for 3 years.

Newer Suzuki Carry editions come with night collision prevention technology. This technology ensures that the driver has warnings of potential collisions with pedestrians when driving in dark settings. Front and rear loading has been optimized to allow for higher and more compact loading. Testing has showed that the overall ground bumper for the mini truck is 23 degrees or 320mm from the ground.

The Suzuki Carry is offered in the standard Suzuki Carry Class as well as in the Super Suzuki Carry Class. Length of the vehicle is 1,905mm from tire to tire on both.

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Honda Acty

Introduced to the market in the 70s, the Honda ACTY is perhaps the most popular amoung Kei micro trucks on the market. The 2021 Honda Acty is the last model which will be offered by Honda, as production of the micro truck is expected to be halted after this year. Therefore, those seeking a new Honda Acty should purchase now.

Breaking away from the Kei norm, the Honda Acty offers several features which are not common to the micro truck/minivan industry. These features include power steering, AC, as well as four wheel drive options. The newer models (those models which are after 2009) have a horse power of 44. This is slightly lower than the older models which have a horse power average around 52.

When looking for a Honda Acty, pay close attention to the generation label associated with it. First generation Honda Acty mini trucks are those which were produced between 1977 and 1988. These have the lowest horsepower, around 20HP, and run off a small two-cylinder engine. Second generation Honda Acty mini trucks are those between 1988 and 1999. It is the second generation which introduced the higher power motors and the automatic transmissions. Third generation Honda Acty trucks are those from 1999 to 2009. The third-generation models have the most powerful motors and the introduced Acty Attack. Third-generation models also include the farmer’s trim customization package. The fourth Generation Honda Acty are models from 2009 to the present.

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Subaru Sambar

Subaru Sambar is the first Kei truck introduced to the Japanese market and is the first Keitori (Kie) class truck still available for purchase. While the vehicle is no longer produced in Japan, many other countries still produce the kei sambar such as China and Findland, though the production is not called Subaru but Elcat Automotive.

Subaru Sambar Kei micro trucks were introduced to the market in the 60s and have continued to the sixth generation in Japan (2012). Most buyers will find second to sixth generation options available, with the first and the seventh-generation models being harder to locate. Fifth generation models are the first to introduce an automatic transmission, although you may wish to purchase the manual shifting option. First to fourth generation models are 4 speed while the fifth to seventh are 4/5 speed motors.

As with most Kei vehicles, steel has been used for the cabin of the Subaru Sambar. This allows for the vehicle to be used for more strenuous hauls than if the vehicle was, comparatively, a standard flatbed truck.


Which Japanese Kei truck should you purchase?

When purchasing a Japanese Kei truck, keep in mind that the standards and the regulations have changed since the conception and introduction to the market in the 60s. Older models may not be as compliant with local laws. Check to see which vehicle regulations are in place prior to purchasing. That being stated, most models created after 1999 have the required motor, horsepower, and frame construction to be purchased and used as a work vehicle.

Considerations should be given to manual vs. automatic transmission options when purchasing your Kei mini truck. While the manual transmission provides a bit of modernistic freedom, purchasers will find that the overall speed options are limited. For example, a 5-speed engine may be available in manual, but only a 3 speed engine would be available if an automatic option is selected. Remember that the Kei micro truck is considered both a working truck and as a luxury vehicle, depending upon the model and the features chosen. For this reason, the price points may vary substantially. Choose a Kei which best suits your intended purposes. Keep in mind that as the trucks are both collectable and  intended for work, that older and more pristine condition models may sell for higher prices than the same