• Dec 22nd 2006 at 11:29AM
  • 16
We talk about kei cars whenever we can here on Autoblog because we're fascinated by the little Japanese mini-rides. They manage to be spacious, practical, and even stylish despite the size and power constraints placed on them by Japanese regulations. The newest one to hit dealerships is the 7th-gen Daihatsu Mira, which is noteworthy in that the non-turbocharged version, sporting a CVT and the 58-horsepower 658cc KF-VE 3-cylinder with variable valve timing, has a fuel economy rating of 27 kilometers per liter. That's 63.5 miles per gallon, people -- without any electronic trickery, costly hybrid powertrains, or fancypants alternative fuel source. Color us impressed.

The turbocharged Mira Custom RS is spunkier, generating 64 horses, yet still manages 54 mpg when ordered in the 2WD configuration. No matter what, the driver wins.

Don't think the cars are strippers either. They come with full keyless entry and start systems (to put this in perspective, neither of the Cadillacs that we've recently had pass through the AB Garage offer this). A twist starter is standard, but on some models, it can be upgraded to a push-button unit. The rear seat slides forward and back to maximze passenger room and/or cargo capacity, and the Mira can even be equipped with radar-assisted cruise control. Drivers trade performance for the other benefits, but no matter what the concession, 63.5 mpg is a hell of a compelling argument.

Click here to read Daihatsu's full release, and follow the jump for more photos.

[Source: Daihatsu via Carview.co.jp and Autoblog Spanish]

Daihatsu Mira:

Daihatsu Mira Custom:

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      1) When you get the mass low enough so a 650cc engine gives acceptable performance, well, I would not want to be in a fender bender. I also do not believe Japan has similar crash tests so mfgrs do not have to build them as "strong" as those for export. Strength equals weight (generally speaking).
      2) It would probably be suitable for an "around town" vehicle in the U.S. but not so much on urban freeways.
      3) I lived in Japan for 2 1/2 years. Actually drove the length of Japan in a motorcycle - twice. The highest speed limit in the country is 110 klicks, about 65-67 MPH, a short section of freeway on the north side of Toyko. Distance between locations is measured by time, not distance. E.G., from where I lived to the airbase I flew from was 17 miles. At night (less traffic)the distance could be driven in about an hour. Daytime was 1 1/2 hours and more. ...and depending upon where you are going, the trains are not that hot either. One 28 mile trip I frequented was 4 1/2 hours by train.
      4) So...tiny (low mass) cars with tiny engines MAY have some very limited application in the U.S., but once outfitted for the U.S., don't expect the economy to be anywhere as optimistic as the report indicates.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A two cylinder hybrid with an additional 10kW or 15kW electric motor would be great. Diesels just do not make much sense in congested cities. Diesels are great for commuting where it is relatively easy to get 50mpg (Peugeot 207, Volkswagen Polo...).

      #6: If a light car hits a barrier, it has to absorb less energy, so it is possible to build good crashing small cars. Just take a look at SMARTs or new Clios that were crashed for Euro NCAP.

      The problem however is to absorb the energy of a much larger "opponent". But if you design the small car to be a bit stronger (thus resulting in slighly worse values when hitting the wall) and the large car a bit softer, it works:

      • 3 Years Ago
      I have daihatsu mira 2009 and consistently having a bad mileage against a liter. what should i do. it gives me only 10 kms in 1 ltr. pls advice
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bruce Lee, they won't sell. Cars that small are awful.

      The American consumer is used to well equipped cars with a very high comfort level. They will not fall in love with Kei cars. And fuel concious consumers already have the Prius, that is a world away in terms of luxury and performance from a Kei car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You would think that the Japanese and German auto makers would bring these cars to the US and market them in areas like the San Francisco Bay area or in LA or any large metropolis area that is congested with traffic and high fuel prices. It makes me laugh to look at the idiots driving their Hummers with the low profile tires to work each morning getting their 10 mpg due to the fact that their trying to drive them like a sports car, but if they want to waste their money on a H2 or H3, or even worse, driving an Expedition with of course low profile tires, when will the stupidity end! Japan and Germany, bring these cars to the US, they will sell!
      • 8 Years Ago
      #11: There are no more new Lupo TDIs. You might have a Polo TDI or a Fabia TDI. How about a Citroen C1 or C2 HDi? I personally like the Audi A2. Not the spartanic version with 1.2l TDI and 45hp, but the 1.4l with 75hp or 90hp. But 18.000€ for a used one are a bit expensive.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think I ran over one with my Hummer the other day.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Kind of a cute little thing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think people should know that Japanese testing standards is far more GENEROUS compare to US's OLD EPA estimate for fuel usage.

      I think I read somewhere that Prius rating in JAPAN is something like 100 MPG, so this vehicle has nothing on the Prius.

      It's sad that Autoblog staff didn't catch such an important point.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, that is pretty weak. I guess Japan doesn't have their own version of the Lupo TDI at 78mpg.
      • 3 Years Ago
      i have daihatsu mira 2009 and consistently having a bad mileage against a liter. what should i do. it gives me only 10 kms in 1 ltr. pls advice
      • 8 Years Ago
      ...and all the prius dopes still think that hybrid technology is something special.

      Here's some free physics lessons: Do less work. Move less mass over less distance. It uses less energy. PERIOD.
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