Import your own great condition, low mileage Japanese mini truck for as low as $4,000US today!Scott, Founder CEO
Are you looking for the perfect utility vehicle or ATV? Well, the Japanese mini truck is the perfect truck for you! Mini trucks are amazing go-anywhere machines that are fun, durable, easy to maintain and extremely affordable (starting at $800 for a good condition 25 year old one and up to more than $5000 for those around 10 years old with dump boxes). They are just one of the handiest vehicles you can find. They are easily maneuverable, sporting 4WD on all makes with hi and low range. These trucks have plenty of power, unbeatable fuel efficiency (avg. 16Kpl / 36.7Mpg), and of course the comfort of a full cab with optional A/C. All makes have fold down sides and rear gates available, so it’s very easy to haul whatever you are loading on or off. The good thing about these pickup trucks is that most of them will haul 12-1500lbs of load. Opposed to a standard utility vehicle, they have much more payload capacity for their size. Fold ‘em down and rock and roll!
Japanese mini trucks that are carbureted can reach 55-60mph, and mini trucks with fuel injectors can get up to 65-70mph. They are supremely versatile and can be converted to anything you are looking for, most commonly, a modified dump truck. Japanese Mini trucks have been popular throughout Asia for decades. Now the rest of the world is waking up to their practical appeal. This is especially true in the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK, where more and more people are importing used mini trucks directly from Japan.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s “The Best.” Although I think it is, or, at least, I like it most; but I’ll be the first to admit the drawbacks in these mini trucks. For example, it doesn’t have a full low range like you get with the excellent Suzuki Carry. But I’ve always been well satisfied with the Sambar’s Extra Low as more than enough to get me out of anything off road.
Some guys will swear by the Hi-Jet, or the Honda Acty, or the Minicab kei trucks, or whatever, and I can’t disagree. Other guys will point out that having the engine at the extreme rear (as in the Subaru Sambar) is not ideal due to the increased potential for over steer on dodgy road surfaces.
True. And yet I found more over steer in our two Honda Actys on dirt and gravel roads at speed. Not the fault of the vehicle, really, since only dorks overdrive the conditions, right? But, yeah, I’m sometimes a dork. (Hey, you gotta have fun sometimes, and if you can’t have fun on a middle-of-nowhere back road in your kei truck, then where can you have fun?)
For build quality, many mini truck owners will plug for the Daihatsu Hi-Jet. Again, I’m with them on that, based on the Hi-Jets that I have test driven (although I’ve never owned one or used one for work, so I have no experience on long term with a Hi-Jet). But still, when it comes time for me to look for my next used kei truck, I’m going to look for a nice, fresh, Subaru Sambar.
For all round value and cheap running cost and good parts availability, I guess the Suzuki Carry mini truck is in the lead, and its full-on low range in 4WD is awful nice. They also function well as off-road vehicles. I’ve had good fun with the off-road capabilities in Carrys, both pre 98s and (once) in a newer, post 98 model. That full low range is great. At the moment, I’ve got the use of a newer model Suzuki Carry owned by a lady friend of mine up here on Mount Fuji, so I’m content. I mean, content with the kei truck….well, and the lady friend, too. I’ve got no complaints about her, but I do, actually, have complaints about her mini truck. The late model Carry mini trucks now have a transmission that I just don’t like. I don’t like the way it goes into gear, too wishy washy and clunky thunky. Guys, go for the older Carry mini trucks, I think they are better. So, for the folks in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Australia that can’t get the new kei trucks anyway, I’d say you’re not missing anything much. Go old kei truck.
Now, for something to help you decide what may be the best mini truck for you to import from Japan, we have some articles over on our blog here, here, here, and here.
Of course, if you can get the chance to test drive your friend’s kei truck, jump at the chance. The things that make you decide on the kei truck you pitch for, the kei truck that is best for you, may be very subjective. It’s that way for me with the Subaru Sambar. This is because, at base, like I said before, all the Japanese kei trucks are good, and are good value. There are no “easy outers” in the kei truck dugout. Kei trucks are sluggers.
Especially these days, with hard economic times coming, due to government responses to the Corona Virus, Japanese mini trucks are going to be the best vehicle going forward, especially for preppers, for people hoping to stay out of the cities but who need a light vehicle to work, get around, stock up, you name it; for hunters who really do need to bring home the bacon (well, the venison, actually); for people who are forced to downsize and cut back on their contracting, landscaping, or small delivery service, again, mini trucks are the best thing to have right now. We’re all going to have to cut back, but with a tiny kei truck, you don’t have to cut back on capability and capacity.
We don’t know what the world will look like after all this is settled. There seem to be fewer and fewer things that we can rely on. But with their high reliability, high capability, and low running costs, I think that we can rely on our kei trucks. They’ll keep their value, too in the months and years ahead.
Allows bidding on one vehicle at a time up to 1 million yen.