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Japan's cutesy 'kei' cars hit rocky road

By Anne Beade

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I've had four keis and love these little buggers.

The only drawback to them is that they're a bit slow on the expressways. Hitting 90-100 kms/hr. is about the comfortable max for the engines on mine especially for long distance trips. Otherwise, they're great.

The kei vans are just fine for going camping, surfing and other outdoor activities. Great gas mileage and easy to navigate around the small streets, too.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Agreed, Speed. My Honda Street is a great little camping car and can whip through tiny streets with ease. Also, my house's parking area is too small to be registered for a standard car - but a kei does not require a parking certificate, so I'm able to keep my car right in front of my house.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I recently drove a kei car with a turbo engine on the highway and it is faster than a 1000cc compact car. I've rented cars like the Vitz and March and the kei had way better acceleration than those cars.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The "happoshu" of the car world. They only exist because of preferable tax treatment. Once the tax become fair, kei-cars will nearly disappear.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The older K's used to have 4gear automatic transmission that made them very slow in acceleration. But nowadays with CVT its much better. The other thing I like about them is that because of so much rivalry the companies are trying to outdo each other with colouring scemes. You won't find that with regular cars. And they got some cool-looking 2seater sports car models as well...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Death traps- literally getting what you pay for...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If they were on sale in the UK and were safety approved for British roads I would buy one in a heartbeat. I don't drive any long distances and the size would make parking in my home road a breeze. I have a 1.2 Honda Jazz (Fit) which is smallish and very practical... but I'd like one of those daft wee Kei cars.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Totally unsafe.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Laguna "but a kei does not require a parking certificate, so I'm able to keep my car right in front of my house"

Wow thx ! i didn't know that and will certainly remember it.

Hustler !!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No Kei-car used to be marketed in GB obtaining Euro NCAP ratings.




They got better ratings then some compact European models of those days.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

KEI cars are a really dangerous car and does not provide adequate protection in an auto collision.

KEI cars are banned by almost all nations as it can not pass a 10 mile crash test without hurting the people in the car. The car is a tinfoil motor scooter and just as dangerous to drive.

It has no side protections and a small crash will total the unit.

Its like Hitler and the VW Bug, the peoples car. Junk!

I call it a coffin on wheels.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They're energy efficient, safe and stylish." well there going to be efficient with a silly little engine! and Safe...Eerr not! they would not get through ANY EU regulation or testing, and as for being stylish,,,really ????!!! its not sexy unlike a Aston martin, or a Masarati, etc, but its a stylish as a house hold brick!! I could go on slating this car but I know the comment will be removed!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They really aren't safe in a crash, as I have experienced personally. I like the economic value, but I could never put my kids in one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are these cars marketed at the middle to senior aged population? I can't see any young lad or girl driving around in one, can you imagine a young lad driving around in one with a pimped up banging sound system ??? alloy wheels? tuned up engine ( if possible) I am sure these are very practical, small, compact, combined with low running costs make them attractive to some people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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