Kei cars are just one of the million reasons why we love Japan. This vehicle category was created by the local government back in 1949 and its regulations still require the engine to be 660cc or smaller, which brings healthy tax and insurance benefits to owners. Kei cars account for about a third of the domestic new car sales and, in 2018, the four best-selling models in the country were all kei cars – the Honda N-Box, Suzuki Spacia, Nissan Dayz, and Daihatsu Tanto. Wait, not a single Mitsubishi here? That could change very soon.
During the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi has revealed the Super Height K-Wagon concept, which is basically a near-production prototype of a new kei wagon for Japan. Offering sliding rear doors, the vehicle has been designed for drivers who “want to go more places and longer distances.” At a glance, it probably looks like just yet another boxy mini car, but there’s more to it than that.
Gallery: Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon Concept
The mini wagon (or shall we say the mini minivan?) incorporates Mitsubishi’s latest design language with a dominating Dynamic Shield front end with a coated steel bar perpendicular to a horizontally-themed grille. While the company says “its side view exudes power,” the side profile looks very traditional to us and embodies all the key characteristics of a kei car.
A small CVT engine should deliver “brisk, stress-free road performance in low-speed and high-speed zones,” while an e-Assist package of safety and assistance systems should make work behind the wheel less stressful. The range of technologies includes a single-lane driver assistance on highways, an emergency braking system, and collision prevention assistance for pedal misapplication.
Mitsubishi doesn’t reveal its plans about when the Super Height K-Wagon concept will morph into a production model, but we assume it won’t take long until we see the kei wagon cruise the narrow streets of Japan.