vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UberDork
1/21/23 3:26 p.m.

I'm really liking these things. Trying to convince the wife to get one as a shop van for her store. She however does not drive stick which most are. I found one with 66000 miles on it from Northeast Auto Imports in NH for $10500 It's auto 3-speed, RWD. Not much different than the smart she had (other than a smaller engine!). I have seen AWD turbos available on the web also.

Anyone have any experience with these things? This one has a US title which should make registering in Vermont easy enough.

It's so cute!

Sonic UberDork
1/21/23 3:31 p.m.

I think the combo of the 660cc engine and 3 speed auto and VT hills would be tough.  They also rust like 25+ year old Japanese economy cars, which is a problem in VT, as you well know.  

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UberDork
1/21/23 4:17 p.m.
Sonic said:

I think the combo of the 660cc engine and 3 speed auto and VT hills would be tough.  They also rust like 25+ year old Japanese economy cars, which is a problem in VT, as you well know.  

Not sure it would get driven much in the winter. But it is a concern for sure. The smart handled the hills real well. With the engine over the driven wheels it helped in the sloppy stuff.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/21/23 5:24 p.m.

I have very little experience with them but have looked into them and they seem neat. There's a dealer that sells a bunch of them by me. I was looking at a small truck but  NY won't register them

bmw88rider UberDork
1/21/23 5:36 p.m.

That's all the money for a non AWD auto version. I'd be interested to see long term what the states do about Kei cars. I have a full size JDM and that's not been an issue but as I'm sure you know Kei cars and Diesel imports have been targets. 


On a side note, I see who is flooding the market with Evo Pajeros.

JThw8 UltimaDork
1/21/23 6:56 p.m.

I have an Atrai, the Daihatsu equivalent.  Fun little vehicles.  Good for around town, but definitely not for highway use.  Parts are available but take time to get so you have to plan ahead or have a backup plan.

As noted above many states are cracking down on all Kei's (especially in the northeast) due to the abuse of the system by folks buying the trucks which are very popular as an alternative to ORVs.

Also as noted 10.5 is pretty high for an automatic 2wd which is less desirable, but prices have been going up so its not terribly out of line if the miles are right and all maintenance is up to date.


No photo description available.

bmw88rider UberDork
1/21/23 8:43 p.m.

In reply to tremm :

A little of both. Colorado is emissions related. From what I understand Maine and RI have been more safety concerns. It's not grey market. They are legal from the 25 year POV. 


John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/21/23 9:32 p.m.

Back in about 2009 I was in Catalina Island, CA.  The island has some unique rules where cars are hard and expensive to bring to the island but golf carts have more lenient rules.  These rules have more to do with vehicle size/dimensions.  As such, the rules get bastardized and Kei trucks fall within the size requirement.  So cool to see so many Kei trucks doing real work.  Seats in the bed and elaborate ladder racks are very popular.   I had heard that there was a real crack down since then about using these trucks on the Island.  After all, it is California and as such, California is usually very strict on automotive stuff.  

Here's a video I found from 2019 that implies that many are still being used.  


vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) UberDork
1/21/23 10:15 p.m.

I'm aware of the Maine situation. Vermont has been lax in this area for a while. I have a friend at DMV that is looking into it for me.

And, yes, $10five is a bit steep. And the closer you look at the pics the more dent and damage you see.

AMiataCalledSteve Reader
1/23/23 8:20 a.m.

I imported a 1991 Acty Truck for my parents about 4 or 5 years ago, and it's been their regular around-the-farm vehicle, and my mom routinely drives it into town for errands. A few things to consider:

-Are you tall / fat? Aside from obvious front seat dimensional issues for larger people, the front suspension on these does not have a lot of travel and is a little soft, so if you and your lady are significantly heavier than the average Japanese couple you may be smacking the bump stops over large road undulations. I've had it happen to my on my own at 45 mph and it was mildly sketchy, but I'm about as tall as you could be to fit inside one.

- The engine is robust and reliable, but not powerful. If you put four people in it, it will definitely be very slow. Still good for tooling around town though. Besides, I wouldn't want to go much faster than that because...

- The handling is terrible. But it's terrible in a fun way. It's like driving a tiny little bus, with the upright wheel and sitting out in front of the tires. Nothing about this is good for cornering. But it is fun, just don't do any swerving, and the freeway is definitely out of the question.


Overall, I love driving my parents truck, and I have thought about getting a van for myself. If I lived in town, I very well might. The boxy shape makes it unbelievably practical, and the engine is farther back than in the other kei trucks (except the Subaru) so it might be a little quieter.  Maintenance is pretty easy from what I've experienced so far. Parts are obviously very plentiful in Japan. The manual transmission is just about the easiest stick to drive - it has a super light clutch and a super low first gear, so you barely need to apply any throttle to get it rolling on flat ground. It's the second kei vehicle I have imported, and if it works for you then there's really nothing else like it. I wish you luck in your search!

nlevine Reader
1/23/23 12:48 p.m.

I posted about a free Acty van in CT in the For Sale forum a bit ago (with engine issues, seems to be sold now), so they are around in New England at more reasonable prices (in more questionable conditions) if 10.5 is too dear. 

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