7 Reasons Why Kei Cars Are Perfect If You Live In Japan

Kei cars have been around for a while, but are they really worth it? With so many options out there, what makes these small vehicles such a good choice for Japan’s drivers? The Kei car class has been in place since 1949 and is a result of Japan’s high gas prices and congested cities. These vehicles have been designed for the unique needs of Japanese drivers.

Why Kei Cars Are Perfect for People In Japan

These vehicles offer 7 distinct benefits that make them perfect for Japan. Let’s take a look at these advantages:

Easy Navigation in Busy Roads

Japanese roads can be quite crowded and traffic is often very dense. These tiny, four-wheeled vehicles that typically max out at 660cc are perfect for navigating through traffic. You can also park them easily in Japan’s tight parking spaces, which is a problem in many countries with large vehicles. If you live in a big city like Tokyo, these little cars might just suit your needs.

Low Maintenance

With 660cc or less engine sizes, these cars do not need as many expensive components like bigger brakes or more powerful airbags. These savings translate into lower maintenance costs over time. They also produce lower emissions which reduces air pollution levels when driving in Tokyo or Osaka.

kei cars
These small cars are low-maintenance. (Credit: Ten-nen Gas / Wikipedia Commons)

Fuel Efficient

A number of Kei models can get up to 60 miles per gallon which means saving money at the pump. The fuel economy is better on these cars so it’s cheaper to drive them around town.

Low Retailer Price

Because of being small, the price of Kei models is lower than a regular-sized car. You can purchase one at around $10,000, which is much lower than a typical commuter car like Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

Also, you have to pay taxes and tolls for driving on many Japanese roads but not for these cars because of their smaller engine.

Moderate Insurance Costs

In many cases, the insurance costs of these cars are lower than average because of their small size. Aspiring drivers may be eligible for low-interest loan assistance through their local government office if they qualify under certain conditions, such as being younger or having a low income.

No Annual Registration

Kei car owners can also benefit from other perks such as there is no need for an international driver’s license to drive these cars. Also, you don’t need to register the vehicle annually with the government.



There are plenty of Kei models available from renowned manufacturers like Honda, Suzuki, Daihatsu, Toyota, and others. So, if you want to have options regarding designs and engine capacity, there are many. However, the performance won’t vary much from one model to another.


Kei cars are perfect for those who live in Japan because they’re economical and cheap to buy, operate, and maintain due to their small size. The fuel consumption is not too bad when compared with larger vehicles, which means they come out cheaper on the pocket. They are perfect if you enjoy driving but don’t want the responsibility (or expense) of owning a larger model.