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Japanese Kei cars:

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  #1  
Old 11-21-2017, 07:29 AM
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Japanese Kei cars:

I was interested in how close the Fit compares to a Japanese Kei car. I had driven a Daihatsu Kei car once when in Japan, but it was not so much fun. As the Fit struggles in traffic and sales against SUVs and trucks, I doubt that Kei cars would even make a dent here in Canada, but maybe if gas doubles in price. Europe has a better shot for a Kei car. You tall 'Muricans might have some issues.

In Japan, kei jidosha (light cars) were introduced as a special class of vehicle in the 1950s. As of 2016, they made up about a third of new-car sales Japan, according to data from the Nikkei Asian Review. "The price for a kei car is half that of a Honda Civic. And the tax payment for a kei car would be a third of the one for a Civic," said Makoto Iwaki, Honda's executive creative director. "There's no specific target demographic everybody drives kei."
Honda N-Box Kei
Fuel economy: 3.4L/100km
Dimensions: 3395mm long, 1475mm wide and and 1770mm high.

2018 Honda Fit
Fuel Economy: 6.9L/100km (my real life city driving in summer, 5.5L/100km highway)
Dimensions: 4099mm long, 1694mm wide and 1524mm high


Japanese Kei car roadster



https://www.theglobeandmail.com/glob...ticle36971678/
https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/honda/n-box
https://www.honda.ca/fit/specs
 
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2017, 07:51 AM
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i always wanted one kei car in my line up cause i think theyre cool and cant buy it in the USA.

but each time i go to japan people laugh when i say that cause those things are like the cheeziest of cars u can buy. oh well.. something about wanting stuff you cant have i suppose.
 
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by TorontoBoy View Post
As the Fit struggles in traffic and sales against SUVs and trucks, I doubt that Kei cars would even make a dent here in Canada, but maybe if gas doubles in price.
I've had my Fit for a month now and never once have I "struggled in traffic" so I can only assume that people who struggle have the CVT. I just need to wind my 6MT out to 7K and the car moves along briskly. My Fit has 130 horsepower which is exactly what my 2002 Mazda Protege5 had which I bought new and drove for almost 6 years, again without struggling and again with a manual transmission.

As for Kei cars, I wouldn't want anything smaller than my Fit, although I guess my MX-5 is technically smaller. Especially since I do a fair bit of 80 km/h and up highway driving.
 
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:18 AM
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CVT version doesn't struggle either, it's got plenty of pep for DC Metro area traffic as well as the mountains of VA. Maybe OP's reference to traffic is people even looking at a subcompact versus a crossover with gas prices being low.

Highways in the USA have higher speeds limits versus Japan, so not sure how those KEI cars would do at 70-80 MPH. If it's strictly a city car, then it probably wouldn't be too bad.
 
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  #5  
Old 11-21-2017, 11:57 AM
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The big question for a Kei car in North America is whether it would meet our crash standards. I'd suspect not. In the example in the picture I doubt that the driver and passenger would survive an accident involving a rollover.
 
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:59 AM
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I'm not sure it would survive getting broadsided by a moped. Looks cute though.
 
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  #7  
Old 11-21-2017, 04:28 PM
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Europe already has Kei cars. The Daihatsu Copen, Subaru Vivio, and some other select cars were sold.

They're more of a novelty, if brought to America. They're limited to 140km/h, but most rev pretty high. They're very economical cars.

I love them. Would love to import a Suzuki Alto Works to Ireland.

 
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Old 11-21-2017, 04:39 PM
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LOL. Either that guy has a really big head, or that is a really small car!

Looks like it would be fun! I could see that with a Hayabusa motor swap.
 
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by GAFIT View Post
LOL. Either that guy has a really big head, or that is a really small car!

Looks like it would be fun! I could see that with a Hayabusa motor swap.
I've looked into the Daihatsu Copen before.



Been told they're extremely restricted, due to emissions. A good few mods and a bigger turbo, you'll see 250hp from the 660cc engine, which is insane from a car that weighs sub 900kg. Thankfully, I'm Asian and my small stature can fit inside these things ha.
 

Last edited by Kanjo Wong; 11-21-2017 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by GAFIT View Post
I'm not sure it would survive getting broadsided by a midwestern fat woman.
agreed... probably wont survive.
 
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by kenchan View Post
agreed... probably wont survive.
That's not fair! What would survive that?


 
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  #12  
Old 11-21-2017, 09:55 PM
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  #13  
Old 11-22-2017, 07:14 PM
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Some of them are fun, I guess. I think there is a market for the small kei trucks that Japanese farmers couldn't do without. They are darned near bulletproof, and with 4wd, make excellent little vehicles for getting around off road.

For a farm vehicle, you're not going to find anything more convenient for getting from one cabbage patch to the next.
 
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Old 11-22-2017, 07:23 PM
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kinda like the john deere gators. those things are fun to drive.
 
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  #15  
Old 11-23-2017, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by kenchan View Post
kinda like the john deere gators. those things are fun to drive.
I dunno. I think those gators are more like a fairly useless ATV in comparison. I'm also a bit skeptical of the gas consumption of kei cars because of the small engine. You've got to really push them just to keep up with traffic, and that lowers MPG considerably.

If you take away the HP limitations that Japan puts on kei cars, you might be able to make the case for them in big cities as runabouts. You wouldn't want to spend much time in one on the interstate, but for sitting in stop and go traffic looking for a place to park, the only thing better is a scooter.

Another really good kei you might consider is what they call a "mini micro bus". I had a daihatsu atrai and for a miniature van, it was really nice. 4WD, turbocharged intercooler, and 5 on the floor made it fun once you managed to get out of that miserably short first gear, and it had more interior room than a fit.

It looked exactly like this one, down to the same paint job and rims.

https://s.auto.drom.ru/i24196/c/phot...rai_471513.jpg
 
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:58 PM
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hahaha, i remember seen those in japan. yah, youre probably right about the gators being more a atv vs kei-sha.

i saw a Smart car today.. i guess that's our version kei-sha in the USA...
 
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  #17  
Old 11-24-2017, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Belch View Post
...Another really good kei you might consider is what they call a "mini micro bus". I had a daihatsu atrai and for a miniature van, it was really nice. 4WD, turbocharged intercooler, and 5 on the floor made it fun once you managed to get out of that miserably short first gear, and it had more interior room than a fit.

It looked exactly like this one, down to the same paint job and rims.

https://s.auto.drom.ru/i24196/c/phot...rai_471513.jpg
I, too, remember those when I was in japan. They were really nice! and very practical. But with all the large SUVs around Toronto you'd have no chance in a crash.

Originally Posted by sjd View Post
I've had my Fit for a month now and never once have I "struggled in traffic"... I just need to wind my 6MT out to 7K and the car moves along briskly...

As for Kei cars, I wouldn't want anything smaller than my Fit, although I guess my MX-5 is technically smaller. Especially since I do a fair bit of 80 km/h and up highway driving.
When I say struggle in traffic I mean for visibility. Compact cars are somewhat rare now, I feel somewhat lost in traffic. It has little to do with actual acceleration, or maintaining speed.
 

Last edited by TorontoBoy; 11-24-2017 at 11:29 AM.
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  #18  
Old 11-25-2017, 01:02 PM
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As I recall a couple were sold in the states with a few changes. Subaru Justy & Toyota Starlet.
 
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ashchuckton View Post
As I recall a couple were sold in the states with a few changes. Subaru Justy & Toyota Starlet.
Those are not Kei cars. Those are subcompact cars.
 
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  #20  
Old 11-26-2017, 05:35 PM
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Thanks for the heads up Kanjo. They were the smallest cars on this side of the pond when they were sold here.
 
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