Daihatsu D-Base is expected to reach production next year; kei car vans also revealed
Jim Holder
28 October 2015

This 94.1mpg Daihatsu D-Base concept has been unveiled at the Tokyo motor show. It is one of several vehicles unveiled that conform to Japan’s small kei car regulations.

Kei cars are restricted in size, engine displacement and power output, and are given tax and parking breaks in Japan as a result. The market for such cars is hugely important to car makers in Japan, where they account for almost 40% of all sales. Bodystyles traditionally range from sports cars and family hatchbacks through to transporter vans.

Blog - Why can't we drive kei cars in the UK

The D-Base concept shows the styling of the next-generation Daihatsu Mira kei car, which is known in Japan as one of the most fuel-efficient cars in the class. In a statement, Daihatsu said the D-Base is a “proposal for a new basic small car” and is being shown “to express the spirit of innovation in the next generation of environmental vehicles”.

To meet kei car regulations, it is 3.4 metres long, 1.48 metres wide and 1.49 metres high and powered by a 660cc three-cylinder engine. Fuel economy, which is boosted by regenerative braking, is claimed to be 94.1mpg on the Japanese test cycle.

Daihatsu is also showing three van concepts built to kei car regulations, called Hinata, Tempo and Noriori. All three sit on the same front-drive platform and are built to showcase the amount of space that can be obtained in such a compact vehicle.

The Hinata is said to be the closest to production and is tipped to replace the Daihatsu Move Conte that is already sold in Japan as a micro-MPV. The production car is unlikely to have the concept’s suicide doors or extravagantly carpeted interior.

The Tempo, which is taller, is designed around the theme of a catering van, while the Noriori has been created specifically with wheelchair users in mind.

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Our Verdict

Honda N Box

The Honda N Box is Japan's best-selling kei car, and is underpinning the firm's current upturn in financial fortunes

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19 October 2015
This doesn't look a million miles removed from the Sirion of a decade ago, although obviously it must be smaller and lighter. It's a pity we won't see it here, because judging by the popularity of the cars like Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo, Hyundai i10 etc, there is a definite demand for small minimalist cars. But does it really have regenerative braking as in a hybrid car, or just a smart alternator that only charges the battery when braking?

19 October 2015
LP in Brighton wrote:

But does it really have regenerative braking as in a hybrid car, or just a smart alternator that only charges the battery when braking?

I reckon the latter. As in VW Bluemotion Technology, which increases alternator voltage/battery charging on deceleration, and reduces it/charging on acceleration. But I also reckon that whilst this may sound good for maximising efficiency in test conditions, it does not translate into anything significant in the real world. One injudicious squirt of acceleration for a few seconds probably nullifies all those clever tech efforts of many miles!

19 October 2015
Instead of "The Base" it reads closer to "Debase." I am sure that is not what the manufacturer had in mind.

19 October 2015
Lots of styling features from other rival city cars, still oddly appealing. Maybe the time is right to bring Daihatsu back to the UK as a true Japanese small car brand.

20 October 2015
I know what you mean. It's quite a funky little thing, and I actually quite like this car's narrowness which would make it handy for parking. I can't see Daihatsu reappearing here, but maybe we'll see this car in a few years time badged as a Proton or Subaru?

20 October 2015
I love this stuff!

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