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Top Picks for the Best Japanese Mini Truck for 2024 [Updated]

a picture of the best Japanese mini truck in terms of fuel efficiency


Japanese mini trucks, commonly referred to as “Kei trucks,” have undoubtedly been the best-selling mini trucks in the global market throughout this year thanks to their performance, versatility, affordability, and fuel efficiency.

These compact yet powerful vehicles are ideal for a range of tasks, such as hauling cargo, transporting people, and navigating tight spaces.

However, with the wide range of options accessible in the market, it might be challenging to decide which brand and model is the best match for your particular need. So, in this post, we’ll be narrowing things down for you by exploring the best Kei truck models in the market right now as well as what each model is actually best at.

Japanese Kei trucks are gaining popularity in rural America.

The Kei Truck Trend

Since the beginning of 2023 Japanese mini trucks, originally designed for agricultural and industrial use have garnered significant attention among a wide range of users particularly in the United States.

The worldwide Kei truck trend is also expected to grow further during the upcoming years due to the sudden expansion of the import-export market of this Japanese vehicle.

One of the key factors that makes this tiny Japanese truck the best Kei truck in the market is its adaptability for both work and recreational purposes.

In recent years, Kei trucks have become a favored choice for off-roading, farming, and urban commuting due to their compact size, fuel efficiency, and impressive load-carrying capabilities.

The kei truck trend in USA according to google trends
Google Trends’ expecting another surge in the Kei truck trend at the beginning of 2024

Best Japanese Mini Truck Brands with Their Strengths

  • Suzuki Carry
  • Subaru Sambar
  • Honda Acty
  • Mitsubishi minicab
  • Daihatsu Hijet

Suzuki Carry – Best Affordable Option

One of the most popular and recognizable Japanese mini truck brands is Suzuki Carry. Since the 1960s, the company has been manufacturing Kei trucks, and the most recent models are still impressive. The Suzuki Carry’s affordability is one of its best features. It’s one of the least expensive options available, making it a great option for people looking for a reliable Kei truck without breaking the bank.

Normally, the price of a used Japanese Suzuki Carry truck may range from 1200$ to 8000$ depending on the model year and the condition of the vehicle.

suzuki carry image

The Suzuki Carry has a lot of features and capabilities despite its inexpensive price. It comes with a range of engine sizes and is offered in 2WD and 4WD options. The recent versions also come with advanced safety systems like lane departure and forward collision warning.

In conclusion, the Suzuki Carry could be a great option for those who are looking for affordable yet reliable Japanese mini truck.

Subaru Sambar – Best Off-Road Capability

Another popular Japanese mini truck model that has been operating since the 1960s is the Subaru Sambar. The Sambar, with its substantial customization potential, stands out as one of the best mini trucks for off-road adventures currently, and it is becoming a very popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts.

The latest models have a rugged 4WD system that can handle even the most challenging terrain. It also has excellent ground clearance, making it easy to navigate rocky or uneven terrain.

Subaru Sambar, the best Kei truck for Off-road?

The Subaru Sambar boasts a smooth ride and a ton of interior features in addition to its off-road capabilities. You can select the level of power that’s perfect for you by choosing between the standard and supercharged engine options.

All things considered; the Subaru Sambar could be the best Japanese mini truck for those who are looking for a small truck that can tackle rugged terrain.

Daihatsu Hijet – Best Fuel Efficiency

The Daihatsu Hijet is the brand to choose if fuel efficiency is your main priority. The Hijet is renowned for its exceptional gas mileage; some models can achieve up to 55 mpg. This makes it a great option for those who require a mini truck for long-distance or daily travel.

Daihatsu Hijet – start it up

The Daihatsu Hijet comes with a variety of engine sizes and is available in 2WD and 4WD options. Its inside is spacious and comfortable as well, making it an excellent choice for individuals who have to travel often. Also, Daihatsu Hijet is considered a better Japanese small truck for highways as its top speed is normally above 80 mph.

Overall, the Daihatsu Hijet is an excellent choice for people looking for a fuel-efficient mini truck that doesn’t sacrifice performance.

Mitsubishi Minicab – Best Cargo Capacity

Another popular Japanese mini truck manufacturer that has been around since the 1960s is Mitsubishi Minicab. Its impressive cargo capacity is one of its most unique features. It can haul up to 1,100 pounds of cargo, making it an excellent choice for those who need a Kei truck for work or commercial purposes.

an image of the best Japanese mini truck in terms of highest cargo capacity

The Mitsubishi Minicab also comes with a variety of engine sizes and comes in 2WD and 4WD configurations. Its cabin is also extremely spacious and comfy, making it an excellent choice for individuals who travel extensively.

The most recent models come equipped with cutting-edge safety systems like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. In general, the Mitsubishi Minicab is a great option for those who need a kei truck with impressive cargo capacity.

Honda Acty – Best Versatility

The Honda Acty is a versatile and practical Japanese mini truck that’s been in production since the 1970s. It’s available in a range of body styles, including a van, truck, and camper, making it an excellent choice for those who need a small truck for a variety of purposes. It’s also available in both 2WD and 4WD options, giving you the flexibility to choose the level of performance that’s right for you.

The Honda Acty is renowned for its reliability and durability; numerous owners claim that their mini truck has lasted for decades with very little maintenance which makes it a powerful contender for the “best Japanese mini truck” tag.

In general, the Honda Acty is a great option for anyone who require a versatile and reliable Kei truck.

How can I purchase my dream Kei Tuck?

Whether you are looking for a brand-new truck or an already used one, importing it directly from its country of origin will assure that you are getting the best Kei Truck in the market in terms of quality and condition.

However, importing a vehicle from Japan could often be a complex process, especially when dealing with international regulations and logistics.

CAR VX - Japan’s First Vehicle History Reports Service

Here are some popular options to look for, but we strongly recommend that you do your own research to find a trustworthy dealer or exporter for your specific country or region to make your Kei truck dreams a reality.

Where to Buy Japanese Kei Trucks

  1. Japanese Car Importers and Exporters: Leading the charge in sourcing JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) vehicles, companies like BE FORWARD, Japancardirect, and Duncan Imports specialize in importing Kei trucks to countries outside of Japan. All these are reputable importers who will handle all necessary paperwork, making the process smoother for you.
  2. Local Classifieds: Keep an eye on local classifieds such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and specialty JDM car forums to find the best kei truck available near you. Buying directly from a private owner might offer a great deal, but it’s essential to conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle. Consider getting the vehicle history report and bring a trusted mechanic to assess the Kei truck’s condition before finalizing the purchase.
  3. Car Auctions: For those seeking a potentially lower-priced option, some importers and private owners acquire Kei trucks from Japanese car auctions and resell them. If you’re up for the challenge, you can participate in auctions using a buying service to bid on and purchase a kei truck. Keep in mind that this approach involves more risk and hassle, so proceed with caution.
  4. Dealerships: Several specialty import dealers in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia regularly import and sell japanese kei trucks. While you may pay a premium compared to other options, buying from an established dealer provides peace of mind.

Buying a Used Japanese Mini Truck? Check the History

Did you know that thousands of Japanese Kei trucks with hidden defects are being imported and sold every week? This is where the importance of checking the vehicle history for Japanese second-hand vehicles before imports or purchases becomes paramount.

To safeguard your investment, you can obtain a complete history report from a reputable service provider like who has the access to the Japanese used vehicle database. This service provides a comprehensive insight into a Kei truck’s past, including any accidents or defects.

By prioritizing a thorough background check, you can confidently choose the best kei truck that meets your expectations in terms of both performance and safety.

The Best Kei Truck to buy…

In conclusion, your specific requirements and tastes will ultimately determine the best Japanese mini truck for you. Whether it’s cost, off-road capability, fuel efficiency, cargo capacity, or versatility, each brand and model provide a unique combination of features and advantages.

Therefore, make sure to thoroughly inspect and research the specific model and condition of the Kei truck you plan to purchase to ensure it meets your needs and expectations.

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