11 Reasons Kei Cars Are the Best: The Pros of Mini Motoring

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If you’re like most people, you probably think of Kei cars as tiny, underpowered vehicles that are only good for getting around town.

While it’s true that they are smaller and less powerful than most other cars on the road, there are many reasons why Kei cars are some of the best automobiles on the market today.

In this article we will discuss the benefits of Kei cars, and why you may consider buying one if you’re in the market for a small car.

1. Kei cars are cheap to maintain

There are many reasons why Kei cars are the great, but one of the most important is that they’re cheap to maintain.

They’re also very easy to keep in good condition. Their engines are small and relatively uncomplicated, which makes them easy to work on.

Mazda Carol
Kei cars are purposely uncomplicated

That means that Kei car owners can save a lot of money on spares and repairs over the life of their vehicle.

In addition, Kei cars are very reliable and tend to have a long lifespan. The Japanese produce some of the most well-engineered cars in the world, and Kei cars are no exception.

2. They save money at the pump

These little cars are designed to be as fuel-efficient as possible, meaning that you can save a lot of money on gas over the life of your car.

In fact, Kei cars are often vastly more fuel-efficient than their larger counterparts.

This is due to their lack of weight and small engines that are optimized for fuel efficiency. A great way to keep the cost of motoring as low as possible!

3. They’re easy to park

Anyone who has ever tried to find a parking spot in a crowded city knows that space is often at a premium. This is especially true for larger vehicles, which can be difficult to maneuver into tight spaces.

Daihatsu Copen
Their tiny size makes parking a breeze

In busy Japanese cities, large parking spaces are also few and far between. Thanks to their small size, Kei cars are very easy to park. In fact, they can often fit into spaces that would be too small for a regular-sized car.

This makes them ideal for city driving, where parking can be a challenge. And because they are so quick to park, Kei cars can help to reduce traffic congestion and help get people where they need to go more quickly and efficiently.

4. They’re lightweight and fun to drive

Kei cars are a great option for drivers who want something small and lightweight that is still fun to drive. These cars are all under 660cc, meaning they’re far from the most powerful of vehicles.

Autozam AZ-1
There are plenty of sports cars that comply with Kei regulations

But who said you need power to have fun? With their compact size and agile handling, they provide an enjoyable driving experience that is perfect for winding city streets or open country roads.

They can make the everyday trip to the grocery store an adventure, or provide an exciting way to explore a new city.

5. They’re great for commuting in heavy traffic

If you’ve ever been stuck in a traffic jam, you know how frustrating it can be to sit in your car and inch forward at a snail’s pace. With a Kei car, you can zip around stop-and-go traffic and get where you’re going in a fraction of the time.

And since Kei cars are smaller and more maneuverable than traditional vehicles, they’re perfect for weaving through heavy traffic.

And what’s more, thank to their fuel efficiency, you won’t have to worry about spending a fortune on gas when you do get stuck.

They’re a great way to make your commute a little less stressful, and they’re designed with the busy metropolis streets in mind.

6. They can be surprisingly practical

Though they are often seen as quirky and fun, Kei cars can actually be quite practical. While they are small and compact, some actually have a fair amount of passenger and cargo space.

This can make them ideal for running errands or for taking on short trips. They’re also great for carrying around small children, or picking up large items from the grocery store.

Honda N-Box
Many manufacturers cater to the practical Kei car market

In addition, they come with a variety of features that make them perfect for family life, including child safety locks, cup holders, and storage compartments.

There are even vans and trucks that comply with Kei regulations, for those who need to nip around the city transporting goods.

7. They’re environmentally friendly

With rising concerns about climate change and air pollution, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment.

One way to do this is to choose a fuel-efficient car, and Kei cars are a great option. Kei cars are powered by small engines and don’t have much weight to carry around, which means they’re very fuel-efficient and produce relatively low emissions.

This makes them a much cleaner option than traditional petrol or diesel cars. Owning a Kei car is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, and are an excellent choice for eco-conscious consumers.

8. They form an important part of Japanese driving culture

Japan is well known for its unique driving culture, and a key part of that are the Kei cars. They’re designed to meet strict Japanese size and engine displacement regulations, and as a result they are incredibly popular there.

In Japan, Kei cars occupy their own distinct niche in the automotive market. For many Japanese motorists, Kei cars represent an affordable way to enjoy the pleasures of motoring, and as such, when they’re not in the city they are frequently seen on the country’s winding mountain roads and scenic coastal highways.

As other aspects of Japanese driving culture have expanded globally in recent years, Kei cars have also begun to gain popularity overseas.

Kei cars even featured in the popular Japanese manga series, Initial D, with the Suzuki Cappuccino taking centre stage, largely thanks to its 50/50 weight distribution.

Suzuki Cappuccino
A modified Suzuki Cappuccino

9. They look cute

Cuteness is in the eye of the beholder, but there’s no denying that Kei cars have a certain charm.

As these pint-sized Japanese vehicles are designed to meet size and engine limitations, they often boast cartoonish proportions and unique styling.

While some drivers might be put off by their unusual appearance, others can’t help but be drawn in by their child-like appeal.

In a world of ever-more bland SUV’s and pickup trucks, Kei cars offer a refreshing change of pace.

For those who appreciate cuteness in all forms, they’re definitely worth taking for a spin.

10. They’re cheap to insure

For many young drivers, the cost of insurance is a major factor in choosing a car. But what if you could find a car that was both affordable to run and cheap to insure?

That’s where Kei cars come in. They offer big advantages when it comes to insurance thanks to their tiny engines. Because they have a lower displacement than most traditional cars, they fall into a lower insurance bracket, which can save the owner hundreds of dollars each year.

Suzuki Cappuccino engine
Their tiny engines help to keep insurance costs low

In addition, Kei cars are often equipped with modern safety features despite their size, and can be relatively inexpensive to fix if an accident does occur, which can further reduce insurance premiums.

11. Kei cars are affordable to buy

The best part about Kei cars is that they’re affordable to buy. You can buy a new one for as little as ¥1m ($10,000) in Japan, and even the most expensive models are still much cheaper than traditional cars.

Their affordability, combined with their cheap running costs and small size, make them a great choice for budget-minded motorists.

However, if you’re not in Japan it’s unlikely you’ll be buying a new Kei car, as not many are exported for sale in foreign markets from new.

There are plenty of used Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) Kei cars imported around the world though, including the US.

So if you’re looking for a Kei car, you may want to start your search in the used car section!

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Adam Chinn writes about the intersecting worlds of classic cars, driving pleasure, and smart investment strategies. Starting his journey at 26, he’s proven that one doesn’t need to be wealthy to begin investing in classic cars.

Adam’s insights have been recognized on platforms such as MoneyInc, Swagger Magazine, and Top Speed.

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