Suzuki Every Passenger Van Japanese Mini Trucks

Suzuki's Every is one of the iconic passenger van-style Japanese mini trucks (the other being the Daihatsu Hijet Cargo) that is most famous in Japan as a workhorse of the Japanese Post Office -- darting down narrow Tokyo back streets, and climbing snowy mountain lanes to deliver mail all over the country. And it's not just great at delivering packages. The flexible rear seating arrangement means it has space for and extra two passengers back there as well.

So let's dive in and learn more about this Japanese mini van that started life as the Suzuki Carry Van back in 1964.

Suzuki Every: How It All Started

Suzuki's successful Suzulight Carry truck was joined by this predecessor to the Every -- the Suzulight Van -- in 1964. This FDB-type van had a tiny 359cc engine producing just 21 horsepower, but that was enough (at least according to the standards of the day) to move 2 people + 660lbs of cargo, or 4 people + 440lbs of cargo. Quite a miracle really, when you consider how little power it had ... but then it only weighed 1,280lbs, and drivers back then had much lower expectations when it came to speed and acceleration.

What is even more amazing is that (unencumbered with a load) it was rated at almost 59MPG, which is a pretty incredible level of fuel economy even now. Of course, the lack of airbags, headrests side-impact beams (and even seat belts) all helped to save weight, but clearly made it much less safe than modern Suzuki Everys.

Suzuki Suzulight Carry Van colorful collage

Anyway, it was an auspicious start. Plus, the Carry truck was cleaning up in the mini truck pickup market (it would end up king of the sales charts for 39 consecutive years), and the Carry Vans were making their mark in the mini truck van market.

In fact, this was such a popular model that it went through 7 generations from that start back in 1964 until right at the end of 1982, before the "Every" model name that we know and love today made its appearance for the very first time.

As you can see from this first generation Every catalog, Suzuki was working hard to change the image from that of a stolid workhorse to something a little more fun that would appeal to more than just the business user.

Suzuki Every first generation 1982 catalog image

Suzuki Every Passenger Van Interior

Skipping forward a few years (okay, a few decades) to the latest, most modern DA17V Suzuki Carry van ... let's start by exploring the interior.

Japanese mini trucks are, well, "mini" but smart packaging means that you still get a lot of space inside despite these restrictive exterior dimensions. It probably has something to do with the almost "brick like" rectangular shape of the Every van as well as the extremely neat packaging of the engine and transmission which ends up leaving so much room for both passengers and gear.

So let's have a look at the interior of this latest model, which launched in 2015.

Suzuki Every DA71V interior

The first thing you notice is that those are real seats with real seat belts. These are not the racing bucket seats you find on many UTVs. They're both comfortable as well as being a good shape for easy getting in and out. Plus, they have a lot of fore / aft adjustability, as well as being able to recline flat. These are small vehicles, but with that flexibility, you'll surely be able to get comfortable.

Then there's the rear seats. Yes, that's a bench seat, just like you'll find in it's rival the Hijet Cargo, but it's perfectly good for the kinds of short journeys anyone who's using this mini truck off road around a college or hospital campus, or a large manufacturing facility is going to actually be doing.

And check out all the things you can do with that rear bench seat folded flat:

Suzuki Every DA71V load area dimensions

What can you do with this space? Perhaps it's a little tricky to envisage, so how about we add some things as cargo to help. Now, obviously, you can fit a lot more than a carpet or some houseplants in there --  46 lots of 1ft 7in x 1ft x 11in boxes, to be exact -- but you get the idea of what this Suzuki Every Van is capable of with that rear bench seat folded down.

Suzuki Every van in cutaway showing how it can take various loads

And, to make this interior an even more pleasant place to be:

  • UV-cutting window glass all around.
  • Adjustable AC and heat.
  • Power steering.
  • Power windows.
  • Interior lighting.
  • Power door locking with remote unlocking and locking.
  • Many places to store things around the cabin, not just in the glove compartment.
  • And if you're taking a bottle of water with you, or you're coffee mug, there's a cup holder for that.

Suzuki Every Body Colors

So inside that cab is a comfortable place to be with lots of configurations that work great whether you're hauling people or stuff. But what about the outside? Well, Suzuki has a great range of surprisingly subtle colors that will give your Every van model a classy look.

(Just remember these Everys are shown on Japan-original factory wheels and tires, rather than full off-road tires, but you get the idea.)

Suzuki Every body colors

Suzuki Every Van Engine And Transmission

Suzuki Everys are great little workhorses for getting people and equipment moved around places like colleges, hospital campuses or similar properties. But how they do that is down to the engine and transmission. Now, just like the Daihatsu Hijet Cargos, these Suzuki Every mini trucks are limited by the same strict rules that govern all kei trucks built in Japan, so there's not a huge scope for engineering creativity. But let's get more into the details here, starting first with the engine.

Engine

The engine is the same engine you find in both the Super Carry and Carry models. It's Suzuki's R06A-type 3-cylinder water-cooled engine with electronic fuel injection and variable valve timing, producing its maximum power at 5,700 rpm, but with max torque coming in at a lower 3,500 rpm. Both the R06A in these Everys, and the KF engines in the Daihatsu Hijet Cargos hit their power peaks at 5,700 rpm, but the Suzuki engine hits the top of the torque curve 500 rpm lower than Daiahtsu's KF engine. We're not talking about axle-bending hypercars here, but even so, having max torque arrive just that bit earlier is one area in which the Suzuki beats out the Hijet. Either way, both still have lots of good pulling power to keep you moving and hauling over difficult terrain.

The R06A engines in these Every mini trucks are also a significant step up from their predecessor K6A engines, having 10% less internal friction. They were also the first kei vehicle engines to have VVT (variable valve timing), and were the lightest in the class when launched. However, with the DA16T now almost a decade old, this R06A engine has found itself outdone by the latest Hijet engine, with that engine's fuel-saving start-stop technology. It remains to be seen how Suzuki answers that when this DA71T generation Every is inevitably replaced in the near future.

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 isn't going to grate on your nerves so much 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 readily 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 Suzukis aren't some kind of thoroughbred Ferrari for rich people, so you'll find that maintenance isn't rocket science and you can do all the regular stuff yourself.

And where is that engine? Well, as you may have been able to guess from the body style, the engine is mounted low just below the seats, giving your Every an excellent low center of gravity, perfect for an off-road vehicle. The seats are easy to remove and, once you've done this, you have easy access to the engine if you need to change the oil or work on it.

You can't really see it very well when you get under the seats to access it, so here it is -- just the engine -- in all its compact glory. In its own way, the engineering on display is just as good as any you will find in a Swiss watch.

Suzuki Carry R06A engine

Transmission

While Daihatsu has two different transmission options (automatic or manual), Suzuki actually has three -- automatic, manual, and an odd hybrid of these two called "5AGS" -- more on that later). Let's begin with the manual.

Manual transmission

The Every mini trucks with manual transmission have 5-speeds, just like those from Daihatsu. Also, like Daihatsu, they have the transmission shifter mounted in the dashboard. It may take a little more getting used to, but one of the great things is that there's no transmission tunnel, meaning more space for legs and feet. You can even get in the other side and just slide across if you want -- there's nothing in the way.

Suzuki Every DA71V dashboard showing manual shifter

Automatic transmission

The DA17V Every iteration has a traditional 4-speed automatic, just like the older Daihatsu Hijet models used to have. However, Daihatsu has since (at the end of 2021) replaced the traditional automatic option with a CVT transmission. It remains to be seen what Suzuki does to counter this, but in the Hijet, the CVT gives significantly better fuel economy than was possible with the older traditional auto, so it wouldn't be surprising if Suzuki took that leap in the future as well. We don't know when a new Suzuki Super Carry mini truck will launch, but the DA17V is getting pretty long in the tooth and it wouldn't be surprising to see a replacement soon ... and to find that it also has a CVT instead of a traditional auto.

5AGS automatic transmission

These Japanese and their acronyms, right? 5AGS? What on earth's that? Well, first I'll tell you about the "AGS" part. That stands for "Auto Gear Shift". Ah, maybe it's becoming clearer now? And the "5"? That refers to the number of gears. So, the easiest way to think of it is that it's a 5-speed manual transmission which can shift automatically, which means it gets significantly better fuel economy than the regular auto, without sacrificing the convenience, plus it has the flexibility of true manual shifting as well.

Well that makes sense ... but what does it mean in real world driving? Well, you can choose between the different modes. Go full auto or full manual, it's up to you.

Sounds like a complex piece of engineering? Well, yes, it is:

Suzuki Carry 5AGS transmission

4WD System

Let's not continue without reiterating that all the Japanese mini trucks for sale at our independent dealers are for off-road use only. So, they all have 4WD, even though 2WD mini trucks are sold in Japan. Just like the regular Suzuki Carry pickup models, Suzuki Every passenger vans are also available in both 2WD and 4WD format, but if you want one in the US, then it's going to be a 4WD model for sure.

And similar to the older Hijet Cargo Vans, the DA17V Suzuki Everys have a button with which you can select either 2WD or 4WD. Most of the time, you can just leave it in 4WD as you move around your property. But sometimes it's going to make sense to switch it into 2WD to save some gas, simply because that extra grip from the 4WD system isn't needed -- for example, if you have a paved road, or a packed, dry dirt track. The 4WD button gives you the option of making that saving.

However, where Suzuki has been a little left in the dust, so to speak, is in automating this. Daihatsu's late 2021 new model release coincided with a new 2WD / 4WD switchable system that basically leaves the vehicle in charge of making this decision. So the mini truck would only be in 4WD for the times the conditions really warranted it. Obviously, this arrangement is a lot easier than reaching for the button to make the change manually, so it definitely helps the latest Hijet optimize for fuel economy. Again, it remains to be seen what Suzuki intends to to do match or better this.

Buying A Suzuki Every Van Mini Truck

Suzuki Everys are pretty rare here in Mini Truck Depot. To be honest, Daiahtsu Hijet Cargos seem to be the preferred passenger van mini truck option in the US, which is why you will find more of them for sale here. But if our mini truck dealers do have some, you will be able to find them here among the other van mini trucks. And if you can't? Contact us and we'll connect you with a dealer from whom you can order one.