Chances are you’ve probably never heard of Japanese kei cars. This is the microcar segment that has strict regulations in terms of dimensions and engine capacity. To some extent, these cars can be considered on par with European A-segment city cars, even if they carry a very specific vibe. And we really admire them.
We’ve written about the cool new kei cars many times, but we’ve never seen models from this segment race against each other. Now, thanks to a new video from Carwow, finally we can enjoy a proper kei car drag race with five equally cool and cute models for the Japanese market. You’d be surprised how similar these models are despite their very different appearances.
Let’s start with the cars in the video. These are the Daihatsu Copen, Autozam AZ-1, Suzuki Alto Works, Suzuki Cappuccino and Mitsubishi Minica Dangan. Each of these cars has a 660cc 3-cylinder turbocharged engine under its hood with a regular peak power of 64 horsepower (48 kilowatts). However, there is a difference in torque – Daihatsu has the top figure at 80 pound-feet (108 Newton-meters), while Mitsubishi has just 55 lb-ft (75 Nm). All of the other competitors in the drag race had 63 lb-ft (85 Nm) of torque.
All five cars have a five-speed manual gearbox. The Copen is driven by its front wheels, while the Autozam AZ-1 has a mid-engine and rear-wheel drive layout. The Suzuki Alto, in turn, is powered by all four wheels and the Mitsubishi has the same power distribution. Cappuccinos are RWD. Copen is the heaviest and Alto is the lightest.
Now, after knowing the most important numbers, which car do you think is the fastest? We’re obviously not going to spoil the results, but as shocking as it may sound, it’s not a very tight drag race. Even though the cars all have the same output, there are serious differences in their quarter-mile times.