It’s not outrageous to say that you can find a Japanese car in any country with a road these days. With large shares held by Japanese automakers in North America and Europe, Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, just to name a few are global competitors in the automotive industry.
Although Japanese manufacturers sell similar or the same models globally, there are a couple cars that don’t get off the Land of the Rising Sun. The reason being, some models are engineered specifically for the Japanese market. Those cars are “kei-cars”. Kei-cars, distinguished by their yellow license plates, are limited by their size, engine capacity, number of seats, and whole list of regulations to keep them small and efficient. With the limited space for roads and infrastructure in Japan, Kei-cars are perfect for a quick trip to the groceries. But let’s forget about getting groceries in a kei-car for a second, here are the top 5 kei-cars you know you want to get in, just to enjoy driving!
This newcomer to the kei-car market offers a sporty design with sensibility. The two-tone body with red accents gives you a sense of race-inspired design. The Cast is offered in 2 other variations, the Style and the Activa. For the more modest, the Style will do, and for the outdoorsy-type, the Activa is the one for you.
Some might think that you’re limited to properly paved roads with a kei-car, but no such restrictions apply with the Suzuki Hustler. With proper road-clearance, this mini-SUV can tackle any terrain you throw at it. 4-wheel-drive is available too so you’ll have no problem with driving this off the road, literally. Plus, you’ll look good doing it.
It’s no mimic, the Copen is a true convertible. With an electronically-powered hardtop, this little kei convertible will go from solid road, to open sky, in a matter of seconds. Just sit back, relax, and let the contraption do its magic. The Copen comes in 3 variations; the sporty and sharp Robe, the playful X-Play, and the old-fashioned Cero.
The Alto RS gets points in its performance department with its peppy turbocharged 660cc engine, but also for its stylish design. The front headlights were designed to look like a pair of thickly-framed glasses for example. And overall, the design is modest yet expresses substance in its method.
The Honda S660 is a true sports car squeezed into the dimensions of a Kei-car. With the engine located behind the driver’s seat, the car offers superior handling from the perfectly balanced chassis. Acceleration is dramatic too with a turbocharged engine outputting 64ps and 104Nm of torque. Those figures may not sound like much, but with a curb weight of 830kg, it’s like a go-kart for the road.