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Which mini trucks can you import from Japan?
Importing used mini trucks from Japan is relatively easy. But each country has different rules on how old the vehicles must be.
Australians can only import first-generation models produced before 1989. Americans can import first and second-generation models. Canadians can import first, second and third-generation models originally sold up to 2001. And lucky British customers can import any models sold up to 2006.
Each generation became larger and more powerful.
Each generation represents the response of carmakers to new Japanese government regulations increasing maximum allowable vehicle size and engine displacement. Most mini trucks closely match these specifications.
Performance, size, weight and refinement generally increased over the years. But maximum load capacity remained the same at 350 kilograms (771.6 pounds). Some people prefer earlier models because they are lighter, simpler and less expensive while still having low mileage in many cases.
- First-generation mini trucks (1976 – 1990)
Used mini trucks that originally sold between January 1976 and February 1990 can be imported from Japan to the majority of countries around the world. These vehicles are up to 3.2 meters (10.5 feet) long and 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) wide with engines up to 550cc.550cc mini truck engines typically produce around 35 PS, which is more than ample for off-road and city driving because the vehicles are so lightweight and their transmissions are geared low. But power is somewhat lacking at high speeds, especially when traveling uphill.Many models from the mid-to-late 1980s are equipped with a turbocharger or supercharger, for extra power, and options like 4WD and air conditioning.
- Second-generation mini trucks (1990 – 1998)
Used mini trucks that originally sold between March 1990 and September 1998 can be imported from Japan to most countries except Australia. These vehicles have longer bodies and larger engines than earlier models, with a maximum length of 3.3 meters (10.8 feet) and a maximum displacement of 660cc. The higher 660cc displacement more than compensates for the additional weight of newly required safety equipment and provides noticeably stronger power than first-generation models at high speeds, especially uphill. Regulations limited engine output to 64 PS, perhaps in anticipation of turbo and supercharger advances. But average horsepower for this generation is around 40 PS.
- Third-generation mini trucks (1998 – today)
Used mini trucks that originally sold from October 1998 onward can be imported to Canada (if sold up to 2001) and the UK (if sold up to 2006). These vehicles are larger, more powerful, safe and comfortable than earlier models and provide more amenities. But they are also heavier and more complex. They are up to 3.4 meters (11.2 feet) long and 1.48 meters (4.8 feet) wide, with much of the additional length used for a required front safety extension. Their engines are the same displacement (660cc) as second-generation engines, but produce more power at around 48 PS.