There was a time when the term ‘mini truck’ referred to the smaller Japanese half-ton pickup trucks like Toyota and Datsun. But times have changed, and the term mini truck has a whole new meaning.
Now the term mini truck means an even smaller variant of vehicle that offers some of the most incredible engineering around. Companies like Suzuki and Mitsubishi, have been building small 4-wheel drive trucks in Japan for many years. But only recently have they gained immense popularity in the United States.
Sized somewhere between an ATV and a normal size Japanese pickup truck, these diminutive vehicles maybe one of the most useful tools that a ranch, farm, or resort may own. They are truly a marvel of both incredible engineering and practical design.
Japanese Mini Trucks are also called Kei trucks. The term Kei means light in weight. And Japanese mini trucks or Kei class trucks truly are lighter in weight than most trucks on the road. As well, Kei trucks cost less and are much more fuel-efficient. Many Japanese minitrucks will achieve between 40 and 50 miles per gallon.
Kei trucks come in various configurations, including both two and four wheel drive models, 5 speed manual or automatic transmissions, and many have both heat and air conditioning.
Perhaps one of the most significant uses of Kei trucks or Japanese micro trucks is a replacement for the standard ATV around the farm or ranch. The mini-truck holds advantages in several areas, including sheer load-hauling capacity, utility value, and fuel economy. Even though the ATV is smaller, their fuel economy is very often much less than that of the Japanese mini-truck or Kei vehicle.
Engines in the Kei truck are often small, gasoline powered three cylinder power plants, that have plenty of torque and acceleration. They are easy to work on, and maintenance and repair issues are typically very reasonable compared to any other vehicle on the market that would fit that niche.
What About Getting a Kei Truck Licensed?
Some states allow the licensing of Japanese micro trucks or Kei vehicles for road use, while others do not. Most states recognize them as a farm or ranch type vehicle, much like an ATV would be recognized. Unlike ATVs, the Kei truck is better suited to over-the-road use with power train and suspensions more like a typical truck.
The Kei truck can be outfitted with standard road tires, or it can easily be fit with more of an ATV style tire. This enables the Japanese mini truck to be used in some amazing rough terrain and still come out on top.
Where to Find a Japanese Mini Truck Dealer
Kei truck dealers are found sparsely distributed across the United States, and at first it was a bit difficult to find out more about these micro wonders. Dan Buzzell in western Colorado is a wealth of information on minitrucks. Contact him through the web site http://www.coloradominitruck.com