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Old 06-21-2008, 07:33 AM   #1
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I live in Japan. Which minicar should I buy?

Hi Everyone.
My first post here!

I live in Japan and decided to go back to an ultra high FE car but am not finding very many links online about the mileage rates for Japanese 'Kei' cars. E.g. Minicars.

Can anyone post some links of the top 50+ MPG cars sold in Japan during the past 10 - 15 years?

My goal is to decide on an older used super minicar that'll give me at least 50 mpg. My commute is 17.5Km each way, every day.

I'm currently driving a '93 Toyota Estima Lucida Diesel 4WD and have had zero problems with it mechanically for the past 7 years. But I'm wanting to double, triple, or quadruple my mpg.

I used to own a Mitsubishi Toppo and loved only putting in 1000 yen a week. Which was like $10 and getting through most of the week on that. That was around '97. We didn't realize it was such a gas sipper when we bought it. My wife just liked it so we bought it.

I might consider another Toppo, but really want to discover the highest mileage cars first this time and then select the best one among them. But it seems that most of the online links these days are listing mostly the US based cars and I'm not so limited here.

I can buy used beaters here for like $2000 - $5000 that are actually cream puffs and just need to narrow down to about 10 or less contenders.

My wife is currently driving a brand new 2007 Suzuki Wagon-R Limited, but she thinks its a gas guzzler. I guess she was used to the Toppo's fuel efficiency... Anyone know the Wagon-R's actual MPG?

Sad to say, even though I've been keeping gas receipts for years, I was never writing the odometer on the receipts. I only learned I should do this today... Damn! So I'm going to start the MPG calculations on the next fill up for both cars. (I'll post results in the database of course.)

And I'm also wondering if anyone knows if any of the Japanese Kei cars have the ODBII connector on them over here? I didn't see it in my Suzuki today. And my Estima is too old.

Anyway, thanks all for your 'sport' of 'FE racing' I guess you could call it. I think I'm a natural for it as I'm such a tech geek and hate spending money on consumables.

I'd love a plug in hybrid as I watched the premier of Who Killed The Electric Car when it came out and have been a true believer ever since. But I am too cheap to spend $14,000 on yet another new car! LOL. So I'm wanting to get all your help to optimize my choices here in Japan to pick an absolute 'cream puff' of a gas sipper! Will you help?

Thanks everyone. I look forward to all your links, recommendations, and especially top 10 lists to check out. I bought my used car book from the book store today and am ready to peruse!!!


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Old 06-21-2008, 06:06 PM   #2
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Hmmmm. I guess it's gonna be tough finding info on all the Japan based cars in a US English forum. Anyone have any leads on where to get the best mileage info on the cars here in Japan?

One thing I noticed is that they've got 660cc cars over here and I don't see you guys talking about them. I only see posts on the 1.3L cars, etc. I'm assuming the 660c cars are even more fuel efficient?

I want to get the most fuel efficient one I can and see if I can beat ya all at the mileage game.

Thanks Rational

Edit: PS Here's the Japanese site that lists all the cars sold here and their prices and specs. For example, here's a Smart for about $5000. Is that a good price?
I'm assuming they're going for much more in the States and Europe.

This is a 2002 with about 33,000Km (or only 20,625 Miles) on it:


Not sure if I want a Smart car here in Japan though as I'm assuming the German sourced parts are really pricey most likely. So I'm kinda wanting to choose from among the best Japanese cars so that if and when it breaks I'll have a cheaper bill and faster turnaround.


These are the Okinawa Japan sites that I'll be choosing from. LOTS of cool info it seems, but nothing in the way of mileage unfortunately...

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Old 06-21-2008, 06:44 PM   #3
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My Dad in the UK has a Wagon R+ of early 2000s vintage with the larger engine, and gets 50mpg imperial out of it. I don't think he ever highway drives it at 70mph though, just keeps to the rural roads at 50-60. He's very pleased with it, found it very reliable and economical.
I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
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Old 06-22-2008, 02:40 AM   #4
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Thanks for replying RoadWarrior. I was feeling a little neglected in here as a new member.


I've found a lead on my own so far on which little mini car over here might have the highest FE. The 7th generation Daihatsu Mira produced in 2006. This link states that it is getting 27km/l on gasoline. That's 63.5 mpg as converted here: http://www.vangeyn.net/mpg/

"The X Limited and Custom X, which feature the KF-VE engine and CVT, achieve fuel efficiency of 25.5 km/l. In addition, the X Limited "SMART DRIVE Package" with the new Daihatsu Idle Stop System boasts fuel efficiency of 27.0 km/l, the highest of any gasoline vehicle*2."


So far that's my new benchmark by which to judge by. Anyone know any better baseline I should be using? Or is that pretty good?

I also don't see any Diesel 660cc cars yet here in Japan which would really push up the mpg I believe. But they seem only available in Europe.

Now I'm curious what the km/l is for the Smart compared to the Mira.
Well, I decided to Google it before posting and found that the Smart is *only* (lol) getting...

"The Smart averages 4.7 L/100 km (50 mpg or 21.3 km/L) for the gasoline model and 3.4 L/100 km (69 mpg or 29.4 km/L) for the diesel." Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikiped...us/2007_July_6

This is also interesting: The Daihatsu Mira is one of the lightest four-seat passenger cars in the world weighing just 580 kg (1279 lb)" ~ Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daihatsu_Mira

Oh, damn. I just noticed that the Diesel Smart is getting 69 mpg or 29.4 km/L. I not seeing any of the Diesel models available though here.

So I guess I'll now continue my search for something between
Smart at 69 mpg or 29.4 km/L.
Mira at 63.5 mpg or 27.1 km/L.

I'll keep you posted.

Update: I decided to start Googling higher km/l numbers like 28km/l and up to see what I discover. Funny thing is the results are starting to give me lots of scooter based results! heh.

The very first one showed me this:

28km/l: http://asia.vtec.net/article/EK3Vi/ Looks like the Honda EK3 Civic/Civic Ferio VTi/Vi is a real gas sipper in a full sized car. It even seems to have a limited Scangauge style "Econo" light and lean burn mode. This guy gives a good rundown on it under the fuel consumption section.

I'll post higher results if I find them, but it looks like it'll be hard to find as so far they are mostly motorcycles and scooters at this level.

29km/l Cars found:
Prius: The Prius runs 29.6km/l by the new JC08 mode. The results of the Prius testing reflected the tougher new test cycle: fuel economy under JC08 came to 26.9 km/l (3.7 l/100km or 63.3 mpg US)
Under the 10-15 test cycle, the Prius returned 35.5 km/l (2.8 l/100km or 83.5 mpg US).
Ref: ~ http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007...certified.html

30km/l Cars found:

Honda iQ :To be released in 2008? http://en.j-cast.com/2008/04/07018550.html

Mitsubishi Pistachio : Limited release. Super light. Can't buy.

More on the Mira:
Looks like the Mira has a dashboard integrated LCD called the "Eco Monitor" that gives realtime km/l readings. Check it out: http://www.daihatsu.co.jp/lineup/mira/env/index.htm
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