Continuing our coverage of the 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon, let’s take a look at some cars that are distinctively Japanese, the lifeblood of Metropolitan Japan’s network of roads and the sort of cars you’ll most likely encounter anywhere in Japan. Not the Kyushas, not the Bosozokus and not even the GTRs, i’m talking about Kei-cars.
These little 660cc cars (& vans) are exempted from the requirement to certify that adequate parking is available and with many narrow roads to navigate around, Kei-cars have enjoyed tremendous sales success in Japan and have been used for both transporting people and cargo alike.
With their much lower cost of entry, younger drivers were also snapping these vehicles up, leading manufacturers to create more and more interesting iterations of the Kei-car. From mini roadsters to sports cars to funky boxes and tiny vans full of customization potential. We had already previously touched on the new Daihatsu Copen, so let’s take a look at some of the other 660cc lovelies we encountered.
One of the more interesting Kei-cars for me at least, was Suzuki’s Alto Turbo RS Concept. Essentially a hotter and buffed up version of their Alto. Sitting on 17″ OZ Rally wheels and sporting lots of hopped up trim with those big RS letters splashed along the side, this little car looks like it will be big on fun.
Power outputs were not confirmed but with a horsepower cap on Kei-cars, don’t expect too much. I’d happily run as a daily driver though.
If you were wondering what the standard Alto looked like, here’s one. The interior build quality felt pretty good too.
A much anticipated car for this year, Honda’s S660. Essentially a successor to the much loved Honda Beat, the one on display in the Auto Salon has been given a more menacing satin black treatment but other than that, remains a concept, a really good looking one, but still, a concept.
Power-trains have not been officially confirmed but some are saying export markets might get a slightly bumped up 1-liter engine while JDMs remain true to the Kei-car restricted 660cc. The best part of the Honda S660? They are set to be rear wheel drive.
Elsewhere in the Honda booth, a clay N-One was on show, allowing visitors to slowly trim and sculpt bits of clay off with the help of professional Honda staff of course.
A Honda N-One single make race series?
Based on the very funky N-Box Slash (N-Box / ), the N-Box Cyber Concept showcased some chunky customization from Honda. I think it looks sweet. Hopefully cars like these will start to attract more young car buyers and getting them back into cars once again.
One of the hot favorites, K-Break’s custom USDM style N-One.
Back with Suzuki once again and with a name sounding cheekily similar to “Hummer” and looking like a miniaturized version of an FJ cruiser, this is Suzuki’s little mini-SUV, the Hustler.
A cheeky name indeed and having become a rather popular platform to build on, there were plenty of Hustlers on display throughout the show.
Just showing how versatile and crazy a Kei-car platform can be when it comes to the aftermarket World of tuning, here’s a student built mini-BMW E30 M3 tribute from NATS (Nihon Automobile College).
On the topic of tributes, how about a Honda Beat running some Porsche-esq headlamps? Or maybe a much better executed mini Porsche 356 based on the previous Daihatsu Copen.