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Old 02-27-2017, 03:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Drove a Kei truck yesterday -- first time in a Kei (not far or fast)



While I would have preferred that my first ever drive in a Kei car would have been at the helm of a sweet, sweet Honda Beat, that's not how things turned out.

Instead, I got to drive this 1996 Daihatsu Hijet mini truck.

My buddy bought it for hunting, small jobs and general running around on his rural property rather than getting a side-by-side ATV type machine... primarily because the mini-truck is enclosed and has heat. And cost $3500.

Specs:

- 3-cyl, 660 cc, SOHC 6-valve engine with 44 PS (43 hp)
- 5-speed manual trans
- ~1500 lbs curb weight

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daihatsu_Hijet



Unfortunately, my driving experience was limited to bouncing down a muddy, bumpy road. I never got past 2nd gear.

I would have loved to get it up to 80 km/h / 50 mph (secondary highway speed limit), to see how the gearing & handling was.

My friend sometimes drives it into town, but he says he would not drive it on the highway.

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Old 02-27-2017, 03:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How did it handle the off roading?
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Old 02-27-2017, 03:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I honestly didn't test its capabilities at all.

But my friend says he's had it in some surprisingly sticky situations and it's come through OK.

It's even got a lift kit on it!
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Old 02-27-2017, 05:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I test drove one in Quebec many years ago. I can't remember the exact model, but I got it up to 100km/h on a highway. It really felt more comfortable in the 60km/h and under range around town. It would have made a great runaround utility machine, but not for long road-trips.
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Old 02-27-2017, 06:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Also, the seat backs were FLAT. And I had it as far back as it goes against the back of the cab, and I'm only average height.
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I wonder if putting one of those 660s in a Metro would yield good results.

I've sat in a kei pickup and it was really really snug, but I've (tried to) get in worse. Mid-70's Datsun pickups and VW Rabbit pickups comes to mind. :/
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Old 02-27-2017, 08:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Good question.

Just for comparison, the difference between the 1.2L and 1.0L in the Mirage yields ~7.5% better fuel economy (combined rating). And that's an apples to apples comparison, since both engines are available in Europe, and are measured on the same test.

So, "yup" would be my bet.
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A Suzuki 660 engine might even bolt right up to the trans...
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Old 02-28-2017, 02:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I've already had some contact with export versions of Kei cars, with 800cc engines instead of the 660cc ones.
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Old 02-28-2017, 04:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Love those Hi-Jets! They were used around my hometown by the local authority. Because of their size, they were perfect around parks and alleys. Some of them were fitted with an electric tipper.

If you like these, also look for the Suzuki Carry and the Piaggio Porter.

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