Mini Truck Depot is the #1 place to find off-road mini trucks for sale in the US. But we also are happy to share our depth of knowledge about these kei trucks so that you can make the best purchasing decision. Check out these frequently asked mini truck questions and then you can always contact us for extra help if you can’t find the answer you were looking for here.

Japanese Mini Trucks: The Basics

If you’ve just stumbled on Mini Truck Depot from a Google search or whatever, your first question is quite likely to be very simply, “What on earth is a mini truck?” You know what trucks are. You know what pickups are. But what is a mini truck? Is it some sort of kids toy? A model?

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Whether you first came across Japanese mini trucks here at Mini Truck Depot or you’ve seen them on farms or ranches near where you live, it may well have crossed your mind at some point to wonder exactly how such a vehicle came into existence. And, perhaps, it’s also puzzled you as to why they are specifically referred to as “Japanese” rather than originating in some other Asian country. So let’s delve into some history here and look at exactly how this unusual kind of vehicle came into being.

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With a website full of mini trucks for sale across the USA, we can hardly talk about the history of Japanese mini trucks without answering the obvious question as to how these very niche Japanese vehicles have created such a following in the US.

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Why would you buy a Japanese mini truck instead of a UTV, for example? What is it that makes these kei trucks a better option for farmers, ranchers and hunters to get around off-road?

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Buying A Japanese Mini Truck

With so many different models, and so many mini trucks for sale from Mini Truck Depot’s dealers, your head may be spinning wondering which model is going to be the best for you. We’ll help you think this through step-by-step.

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Mini Truck Depot is more like an Autotrader for mini trucks: Each of the mini trucks for sale here are owned by our independent mini truck dealers across the USA.

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Don’t want a used mini truck? Want one that’s factory-fresh and straight off the production line? We’ll describe the process of getting a brand-new Japanese mini truck here.

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Maybe you’ve seen much older (1980s and 1990s) Japanese mini trucks advertised for sale in your local Craigslist. So what’s the deal with these ancient mini trucks, and should you consider buying one?

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Japanese Mini Truck Makes

Daihatsu is largely unknown outside of Japan, but within it’s borders is famous for being a kei (mini) vehicle specialist. Whether it’s regular cars, sports cars, or mini trucks and vans, Daihatsu makes them all in kei forms. All this specializing has paid off for Daihatsu as they are consistently the best-selling mini truck brand in Japan.

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Yes, you’re right that Suzuki with their famous Carry and Every models are the number 2 manufacturers of kei mini trucks in Japan. Let’s delve into the Suzuki story to see what makes them special.

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Yes … and no. You see, Japan started off with a vibrant range of mini trucks, but consolidation means that Honda, Subaru, Mitsubishi and the rest have been left behind by the market leaders, Daihatsu and Suzuki so that they now only offer badge-engineered versions of mini trucks from those two makers.

Japanese Mini Truck Models

You may have heard of the Suzuki Carry and Daihatsu Hijet. But are you aware of other models from other manufacturers, or the different body styles that you can get the Hijet and Carry models in?

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Daihatsu

The Daihatsu Hijet with the regular cab (rather than the Jumbo cab) and the fixed load bed is probably the most common Japanese mini truck you would see in Japan. This model is also very popular in the US for its excellent off road capabilities, comfort, and sharp price point.

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These are some of the most popular mini truck models because, not only can they go pretty much anywhere off-road, but they can also haul with the best of them and dump. Whether you’re a rancher, or want to use one around a construction site, these hardy mini trucks are definitely worth taking a look at.

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The Hijet Jumbo is a popular model in the US as it has all the practicality, amenities and off-road abilities of the regular cab models, but it also has an extended “jumbo” cab for exterior interior room and, therefore, more comfort, particularly for larger drivers.

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The Hijet Deck Van doesn’t follow the typical pickup format of most Japanese mini trucks. It still has a load bed, but it’s shorter (and deeper). The real difference is that it can take up to 4 people off-road in comfort.

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The Hijet Cargo is a Japanese mini truck that is perfectly happy off-road, but also has a fully-enclosed cab and load area that can seat 4 and carry equipment and other stuff around protected from the elements. These Hijet Cargo passenger vans are excellent alternatives to golf carts or full-size vans for use around college campuses, hospital campuses, large manufacturing facilities and other similar environments.

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Suzuki

The Suzuki Carry with the regular cab and fixed load bed recently celebrated 60 years of production. That’s quite a record. Longer than Porsche’s eponymous 911, just to put that record in perspective. What does that mean for you? Well, that’s 60 years of honing this off-road tool to perfection.

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Pairing the longest-selling mini truck in the business, the Suzuki Carry, with the extra versatility and power of a dumping bed is a no-brainer mini truck proposition.

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An extended cab Japanese mini truck with an even more spacious cab than the already voluminous Daihatsu Jumbo? Yes, that’s Suzuki’s Super Carry. It may look a little awkward, but what it loses in attractiveness, it makes up for in interior space.

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The Every Van is the to the Suzuki Carry, what the Hijet Cargo is to the regular Hijet pickup. It’s so popular in Japan that it is the iconic delivery vehicle of Japan’s post office. Transport 4 passengers and equipment out of the elements off-road.

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Other Japanese Mini Trucks

Honda is one of Japan’s top manufacturers, with a sterling reputation bolstered by success in Formula One. So how about mini truck world? When it comes to Japanese mini trucks, Honda’s Acty wasn’t one of the main players, and was discontinued in 2021.

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Mitsubishi was an independent player selling their own pickup and van-style Japanese mini trucks for 47 years, but as the 6th generation came to be replaced, Mitsubishi decided to bow out and rely on Suzuki rebadging their Carry and Every models as Mitsubishis instead.

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Subaru built the very first Japanese mini truck. Not only that, but they also stuck with a quirky rear-wheel-drive arrangement for decades. Now modern Sambars are just badge-engineered Daihatsu Hijets, but read on to learn more about this unusual mini truck and see some of the cool ways people have modified it over the years.

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Common Japanese Mini Truck Questions

So, are Japanese mini trucks reliable? Here’s a hint: They’ rebuilt to automotive spec by some of the top motor manufacturers in the world.

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Japanese mini trucks are sold for on-road use in Japan, but for off-use in the US. So what does that mean about their top speed? How fast do mini trucks go?

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Japanese mini trucks are built for use in Japan and then imported into the US. But which side of the road do they drive on in Japan?

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More Mini Truck Information Being Added All The Time

This Japanese mini truck FAQ page and its associated pages are going to be huge. Massive. A wealth of information about these amazing kei vehicles. But building such a comprehensive resource takes time. Every week you see it grow, until we have the most comprehensive information on Japanese mini trucks in English on the internet.