Four great JDM cars you can finally import to Canada

Many More 15 year old models available today!

Every year, more JDM vehicles become 15 years old, making them legally importable to Canada from Japan. In this article, we present four great JDM models that finally come of age. They range from an exhilarating sports car to an exceptionally practical van and we think all are worth getting excited about.


JDM 2006 Porsche Cayman S (987c) (released in August 2005)

Why choose a used Porsche 911 when you can get a Porsche Cayman S with better handling and comparable power at a significantly lower price?

It’s a question many Canadian enthusiasts should be asking themselves now that the celebrated Porsche Cayman S is nearly old enough to be legally imported from Japan.

Released to much fanfare in late 2005 as the first of the Porsche Caymans, this mid-engine two seater is based on the second-generation Boxster 987, but offers significantly higher rigidity and resistance to bending for better overall performance. Many drivers consider it pure bliss to drive.

Acceleration is smooth and powerful with plenty of torque across a wide rpm range. The naturally aspirated 3.4-liter flat-six engine (295 PS and 340 N⋅m), teamed with a standard Getrag 6-speed manual transmission or optional 5-speed Tiptronic, delivers zero to 60 mph acceleration in around 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 280 km/h.

This is fast enough for the Cayman S to outperform a 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera around the Nürburgring Nordschleife track because the handling of the Cayman is far superior. Its mid-engine configuration, light overall weight, stability control and accurate steering ensure such incredible stability and predictability that almost any driver feels confident enough to attack twisty roads with gusto.

The amazing sense of control that you feel in the Cayman S greatly enhances the pleasure of driving and encourages you to press the pedal whenever opportunities arise. Watch drivers push it around corners on YouTube and note their enthusiasm. If you’re like me, you’ll want to spend next weekend in the countryside driving a Cayman S.

Of course, the body is also gorgeous. Styled by Pinky Lai, who designed the 996 and Boxster, it features smooth, aggressive styling with sporty side intake vents, a sleek fastback and self-rising spoiler.

The interior is just as beautiful with high-quality materials and an impressive fit and finish. Supportive power-adjustable seats provide plenty of comfort and space for tall couples, and personal belongings can be stored up front under the hood or in back, above and behind the engine.

Over the years, the appeal of the Porsche Cayman has only increased. It compares favorably with some of the best sports machines out there and serious enthusiasts looking for value are drawn to it like a magnet. Listen to the engine and follow your instincts. You simply can’t go wrong with a used Porsche Cayman S. When you’re ready to import one from Japan, contact us for support at Japan Car Direct.


JDM 2005 Fiat Barchetta (released in July 2004)

When I first saw a Fiat Barchetta roadster in Tokyo in the 1990s, I thought it was stunningly attractive. But I crossed it off my list of dream cars because I was enamored with Japanese and German technology at the time.

Many enthusiasts around the world similarly refrained from purchasing the Barchetta because they thought roadsters should be driven by the rear wheels rather than the front wheels. Still others turned away, especially in the UK, because it lacked a right-hand steering wheel option.

Barchetta sales were less than stellular as a result and only 57,700 units were produced during its ten-year production run. This was a disappointment to Fiat of course, but the Barchetta has been winning over hearts and minds ever since.

I began seeing the light in a 2010 Top Gear special when Jeremy Clarkson and two other drivers declared the Fiat Barchetta more desirable and reliable than the Mazda MX-5 (Miata) and BMW Z3. Their conclusion really surprised me because I thought very highly of the other two vehicles, so I took a closer look at the Barchetta. What I discovered was a roadster with distinctive character that grew on me the more I learned.

The Barchetta is sculpted for beauty rather than aerodynamics and I appreciate that. You can feel the passion of its designers and engineers in every detail including the capable 1.7-liter inline 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve engine with variable intake valve timing that produces ample power (131 PS and 164 N⋅m) for this lightweight vehicle.

Handling is agile and the overall motoring experience is sporty and refreshing. While performance is less aggressive than the MX-5 during spirited driving, the Barchetta is fun to drive and especially so on sunny days with the top down.

2005 was the final year of Barchetta production and now Canadians can import this best and last of the breed from Japan at a surprisingly affordable price with assistance from Japan Car Direct. We predict you’ll find it as addictive as Italian whiskies.


JDM 2006 Toyota RAV4 (released in November 2005)

Sports cars aren’t the only 15-year-old JDM vehicles worth considering in 2020. The first model of the third-generation Toyota RAV4 becomes available for import to Canada in November 2020 and we highly recommend it.

If you’re looking for a used compact crossover SUV, there are few vehicles that compete with the 2005 Toyota RAV4’s winning formula of value, reliability, quality and driving pleasure. It’s a great family car with the road manners, comfort and driving pleasure of a sedan.

Toyota made this model longer and wider than the previous generation to provide more interior space. The increased size doesn’t adversely affect handling at all, however, as the RAV4 still handles like a compact sedan with easy maneuverability. It’s also highly stable around corners thanks in part to standard stability control.

The 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with EFI (electronically controlled fuel injection) delivers ample power and quick acceleration via 170 PS and 224 N⋅m of torque. It’s teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission.

The 2005 RAV4 offers the exceptional reliability that everyone has come to expect of Toyota. Since it was made in Japan, you can be extremely confident of its quality.

Full-time 4WD with active torque control is available as an option and works extremely well on snowy roads — a big plus in Canada. When traction is lost, the system not only optimally distributes torque, but also adjusts acceleration, steering and braking when needed to regain traction and control.

The roomy interior exudes quality and craftsmanship in every detail. Seats are comfortable and supportive and the second row slides as well as splits and reclines. There are also plenty of power and safety features for the comfort and peace of mind of all passengers.

In Japan, we can find you one in superb condition at a reasonable price through a used car auction or dealer. The 2005 Toyota RAV4 is an excellent choice for years of trouble-free driving pleasure.


JDM 2005 Toyota Hiace (released in August 2004)

If you’re a Canadian in the business of moving people or cargo, or your family needs lots of flexible space for recreational activities, it’s hard to beat a used Toyota Hiace.

Hiaces are Toyota’s most popular van series and their unparalleled reliability sets them apart from the competition. Their engines are easy to work on, their parts are available almost everywhere at affordable prices, and they are known to keep going strong beyond 400,000 kilometers without an engine or transmission rebuild. This largely explains why they’re so incredibly popular in countries like Peru and Kenya where vans really need to be tough.

The 2005 Toyota Hiace launched in August 2004 as the first incarnation of the 5th generation, offers significant improvements over predecessors including engines that are tougher than ever. Whether you choose the 2.7-liter DOHC gasoline engine (160 PS, 243 N⋅m) or 2.5 turbodiesel engine with SDI fuel system (109 PS, 260 N⋅m) you can depend on ample power, impressive fuel efficiency and reliability beyond compare.

The 2005 Hiace also offers various body variations with wide wheelbase, long wheelbase and high roof options. So you can choose a van of just the right size, with panels and/or windows and seating configured to meet your particular needs. Up to 15 people can be seated in comfort — enough for the driver and an entire Little League team!

The simple, straightforward design of the 2005 Hiace reflects the vehicle’s practical nature and will never go out of style. In fact, it looks an awful lot like the latest Hiace models. While the body is large, its front cab design helps it maneuver like a smaller vehicle and anti-lock brakes help you stay in control. Models with all-wheel drive are also available for greater traction on slippery roads.

Canadians in the know have been legally importing the 2005 Hiace from Japan at highly reasonable prices since August 2019. When you’re ready to import one of these reliable workhorses from Japan, contact the helpful team at Japan Car Direct.

Importing a used car from Japan

The Japanese used car market offers an incredible range of choices and unrivaled prices. Whether you’re looking for one of these four JDM models or something else, we can help you find it in great condition, arrange for a third-party inspection, bid on your behalf and arrange for timely shipping to your nearest port — all while keeping you fully informed of every detail in English.

We look forward to serving you soon!

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