Daihatsu Hijets are the most popular mini trucks. In the Hijet model range, these pickup body models with the regular cab are the most popular. Available in 2WD and 4WD in Japan, our independent mini truck dealers only sell the 4WD variant in the US to give customers the best off-roading abilities.
Let's dive in and look at some of the variants, colors and transmission choices this great little run about gives you.
Daihatsu Hijet Regular Cab Models From Recent Years
Daihatsu has been in the mini truck game since 1960, but here at Mini Truck Depot, you'll only find the latest models -- even including the 11th generation Hijet that launched right at the end of 2021.
Now, what you're going to notice when you check out the pictures below is that Daihatsu has definitely taken an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, approach to the styling. But don't let that fool you into thinking they've been lazy about keeping their mini trucks at the cutting edge. A good example of this is the introduction of CVT transmission in the latest 11th gen model that improves gas mileage by 25% over the outgoing 10th generation model that used a three-speed auto box.
Let's start with the 9th generation model. This was on sale from January 1999 until November 2011. The 4WD variants were the S210P (1999 to 2007) and then the S211P (end of 2007 to November 2011). So, as you can tell from the chassis designation, the underpinnings were upgraded halfway through the model cycle, but the overall looks stayed basically the same during that time.
Here's an S211P 4WD model:
Now, see whether you can spot the difference as we move into the 10th generation with the S510P (4WD) model designation. Okay, ignore the color difference. The changes in the body shape are more subtle. See if you can spot them ...
And now the latest 11th generation, launched right at the end of December 2021. The model designation stays the same (S510P for the 4WD model), and there are some major changes under the skin (such as the CVT transmission mentioned above), but can you see how the exterior has been altered?
So the new 11th generation model retains the S510P designation of the 10th generation, as well as having very similar looks, perhaps with a bit more aggression with the more squared-off fog lights in the front bumpers. It's all a matter of taste, but for many people the 10th generation is still arguably the best looking Hijet truck of recent years.
Hijet Pickup Regular Cab Body Colors
Now, we can't consider looks without talking about body colors. After all, even though the biggest selling color in Japan would be boring old white, there are some really great niche colors that give these Daihatsu mini trucks a presence that UTVs can't match.
First of all, here are the colors that were available for the 10th generation S510P Hijet in its final iteration. The most popular of these in the US market was green (also sometimes referred to as khaki) and you can still find may almost brand new or very lightly used Hijet regular cab models for sale here in these colors.
Now with the arrival of the 11th generation S510P Daihatsu Hijet, the color selection available for the regular cab model with the fixed bed has changed slightly again. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that the very striking Mist Blue Metallic and Mint Metallic colors are now gone, being replaced with the rather dubious Ice Green. Of course, it's all a matter of taste, and perennial favorites Green Metallic, Orange Metallic and Black still remain. Silver Metallic is also rather underrated. It may seem like a rather boring metallic option, but the very slight bluish tinge combined with its sheer brightness makes this a good choice also.
Here are the color options for the regular cab, fixed bed 11th generation Hijet:
Hijet Pickup Regular Cab Interior
This is all very interesting, and for sure, how your vehicle looks is important to you. It says something about who you are, and it's just a big object sitting around your property, so you may as well like the way it looks.
But, most of the time when you're actually using your Japanese mini truck, you're not going to be looking at the outside. Whether it's Ice Green, Orange or White won't make a whole lot of difference. But you will be spending a lot of time on the inside, either as the driver or as the passenger. So let's take a look at the interior, and also at some of the car-like amenities you get for standard on mini trucks which are either not available on, or beyond the dreams of a UTV.
As you can, it's a well-designed space, made with practical, durable materials surrounded by a tough steel safety shell. What you can't see from the photo is that this interior is 4 feet 5 inches wide, making it the widest interior of any mini truck on the market.
Here's a couple of other things you can't see, but which speak to the practical nature of this mini truck:
- The fabric seat covers are both extremely hard wearing and also waterproof. A very important factor when you are getting in and out a lot in all weathers.
- Speaking of getting in and out, the doors open the widest of any mini truck brand -- 67 degrees in fact -- giving you a 3 foot 6 inch opening for genuine ease of access.
And there's more ...
- Get easy access or start the engine with the push of a button with key-free access and engine starting. (Some models)
- 5.5 inches of front to rear sliding adjustment for the driver's seat (the most for any kei truck) so you can easily find the most comfortable driving position.
- Some models have push-button electrically retracting "fold-in" door mirrors -- great when parking in narrow spaces.
- Some models have power windows (and the rest have manual wind-up ones).
- There are multiple adjustable vents to direct that cool / warm air from the standard AC / heater to exactly where you need it to be comfortable. And, of course, you can have it blow on the windshield to keep it from fogging up.
- You've also got lots of places to store things around the cabin, not just in the glove compartment. Need somewhere for your phone? Check. Make sure your keys are safely stored where you can find them? Check.
- And if you're taking a bottle of water with you, or you're coffee mug, there's a cup holder for that.
It bears repeating (so here goes) that you'll find the cabin of your Hijet mini truck to be much closer to what you're used to in your regular pickup truck in terms of comfort and utilities than you would that of a UTV.
Hijet Pickup Regular Cab Engine And Transmission
Well all of these exterior good looks, fancy colors, and interior conveniences and comfort won't mean a whole lot if you can't go anywhere with it. So what about the power train -- the engine and transmission -- in these Hijet regular cab models?
The engine is the same engine you find in all the Hijet body styles. It's Daihatsu's KF-type 3-cylinder water-cooled engine with electronic fuel injection, a compression ratio of 10.8, producing its maximum power at 5,700 rpm, but with max torque coming in at a lower 4,000 rpm. Lots of good pulling power to keep you moving and hauling over difficult terrain.
With the max capacity regulated by Japanese law to 660cc, Daihatsu hasn't made fundamental changes in the design over the years, but has evolved it gradually to make it ever more efficient. For example, the latest 11th generation models have start-stop technology incorporated in them which stops the engine wasting fuel unnecessarily when idling. The 10th generation Hijets were already able to get about 50% better fuel consumption than their UTV counterparts. With the addition of this start-stop tech, the Hijet mini trucks have pulled even further ahead, with the auto models in the 11th generation Hijets now getting 25% better fuel economy than the already frugal 10th gen Hijets.
Since these engines are designed for road-going vehicles (although mini trucks are sold for off-road use only in the US under Federal law), they are built to the NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness) standards you would expect for such a vehicle. It's not something you will notice all the time, but a smooth, quiet engine means less fatigue when you're out and about working on your property all day.
Having said that, they are pretty easy to maintain. Need to fill up with gas? They take your normal regular gasoline. Need to replace air or oil filters? No problem, the parts are redily available and fitting them isn't difficult. Have particularly cold winters? Make sure you use anti-freeze just as you do with any of your other vehicles. These Hijets aren't some kind of thoroughbred hypercar for rich people, so you'll find that it isn't rocket science and you can do all the regular maintenance yourself.
And where is the engine? Well, as you may have been able to guess from the body style, the Hijet engine is under the cab, mounted low just behind the location of the seats, giving this Hijet regular cab model an excellent weight distribution and low center of gravity -- all adding to the safety and off-road performance of the vehicle.
The final point to mention about the engine is that the engines in these Hijet mini trucks for sale in the US are all naturally aspirated. In Japan you will find there are some kei mini truck or van models that have turbo engines, but (unfortunately) those engines don't comply with EPA regulations, so cannot enter the US.
Here's a cutaway of the KF engine showing its inner workings.
The 9th and 10th generation Hijet regular cab 4x4 models had a number of different manual and automatic transmission options:
- 5-speed manual
- 5-speed manual with hi-lo range and locking rear differential (referred to as the "Farming Package")
- 4-speed automatic
With the introduction of the 11th generation model at the end of 2021, there were some major changes in the possible configurations:
- 5-speed manual
- 5-speed manual with hi-lo range and locking rear differential (referred to as the "Farming Package")
- CVT with rear differential
With the CVT transmission and latest engine in the 11th generation, the Hijet with the regular cab has 25% better fuel economy than the previous 4-speed auto model, in addition to the unquantifiable benefits of the smoother power delivery.
But there's something else you will spot which is new for automatic mini trucks -- the fact that you can now get the rear differential with the automatic transmission with this new 11th generation model. With the previous generations, only the 5-speed Farming Package had this. So, now, unless you really need every tool at your disposal for the most extreme off-road work, you won't need the hi-lo range, and so the Hijet regular cab with the CVT transmission becomes a very good choice.
Here's a cutaway showing the inner workings of that very CVT transmission:
First let's be really clear about something: Since all the mini trucks for sale at our independent dealers are for off-road use only, they all have 4WD, even though 2WD mini trucks are sold in Japan. (In the latest 10th and 11th generation Hijet Regular cab models, the 2WD models have the S500P designation, and the 4WD ones have the S510P designation, so you will only find S510P mini trucks for sale from these generations.)
The basic 4WD system has only changed slightly in recent years, and that was with the introduction of the new 11th generation model. With earlier generation models there's a button on the dashboard allowing you to turn the 4WD system on and off. Why would you want to do that? Well, powering all four wheels takes more energy than just powering two, so switching into 2WD allows you to save gas. If you're driving down a dry gravel track, 2WD is more than up to the job, so click the button to turn off 4WD. Drive off that same track onto a muddy field and a click of the button brings the 4WD system into life for better grip.
Here's where you find that button on the center dash console of the 10th generation model. As you can see, this model is an automatic:
Once again, the 11th generation Hijet takes this to the next level: Now, instead of you having to reach for a button every time you want to switch into 4WD or back again, the auto CVT model has a new "Auto 4WD" model. What this means is that under normal conditions, you can just leave the mini truck to make its own decision about whether 4WD is needed at any particular moment or not. If it decides it's not needed, it will automatically drop it into the more fuel-efficient 2WD setting. Only if you are doing some really strenuous off-road work will you feel tempted to use the "4WD Lock" override switch to force it to use 4WD all the time.
But, in all honestly, it sounds like this is like the manual model on your camera: Sure, the ad will sell you on all the ways you can take control of the photo-taking experience to make minute adjustments to get just the right shot, but the reality is that after playing with it for 5 minutes, you put it back into auto mode and let the camera do all the work. You may fiddle with this "4WD Lock" button a couple of times, and then just leave it in auto and enjoy letting your Hijet figure it out while you get on with what you need to get done.
Hi-Lo Switchable Range
If you're going to go for a 5-speed manual model, this is likely to be the reason why. I mean, why get the manual unless you're going to do the most serious kind of off-roading in the most extreme conditions? It's just a whole lot of extra work for no real reward otherwise. And if you are going to need that extra something to climb that ridge or negotiate that steep incline, then the hi-lo switchable range is that extra tool in your tool box to make sure it happens. The regular cab Hijet models that have this hi-lo range are the ones that have the "Farming Package". So keep your eyes peeled on our mini trucks for sale page here, and you'll be sure to find quite a few of them.
So, what does it do? It's really very simple. It just gives you a couple of extra ultra low gears to either magnify the engine power when climbing, or the engine braking when descending. Think of it as giving you lower gears below the first gear and you've got it.
Most of the time you won't need it. It will make your mini truck painfully slow if you're just driving along a gravel path. But go off the beaten track a ways and you'll be glad your Hijet has the extra trick up its sleeve when you need it. And when you do, it's so easy to operate with this little lever near the parking brake.
Hijet Pickup Regular Cab Load Bed
At 6 feet 8 inches in length, the floor of the Daihatsu Hijet regular cab load bed is the longest of any mini truck. This floor is just over 2 feet off the ground, and the sides walls which are 11 inches deep all fold down. Not just at the rear, but at the sides as well, making this Hijet truck a cinch to load and unload. And what a lot you can load. 1700lbs, in fact. That's a lot of stuff of all sorts of sizes you can shift.
You can fold down just the rear gate, the rear gate plus one side, or all three -- like this:
And if it's dark out there, don't worry. You can still get things done with the load area lamp turned on. That's it on the rear of the cab. A quick flip of the button by the wheel, and the LED lighting gives you a clear view of whatever you need to do back there.
Don't be surprised at how many practical features these mini trucks have. They've been honed over decades and millions of sales to farmers, fishermen and more in Japan. Generations of customer feedback have made these incredibly useful machines.
Buying A Regular Cab Daihatsu Hijet Mini Truck
Although we have been focusing exclusively on these models with the fixed load bed here, the same model with the same regular cab is also available with a dump bed. So, if you're interested in dump mini trucks click here to learn more about your choices.