The smaller 660cc imported Japanese cars have become fairly popular in the last few years thanks to the relaxed import restrictions. The imports were in a way encouraged by the previous governments to control and reign in the existing automakers in Pakistan by breaking their monopoly, and to increase competition. That led to all the colourful and interesting looking cars that you see nowadays on the roads. In this blog, we will be talking about the top 6 660cc cars that you can buy in Pakistan.
Before we start, it’s important to mention that these 660cc cars are known as Kei cars in Japan. Kei cars are basically “light vehicles” that are exempted from most taxes in Japan due to their small engine and body sizes. For a car to be classified as a kei car, it cannot be longer and wider than a certain measurement, whereas height of the car is not an issue. That is why you might have seen tall yet narrow kei cars like N Box and even many microvans on the roads. They were introduced in Japan to curb Japan’s extreme traffic congestion. Where bigger cars were taxed to even enter Japan’s metropolitan cities, these small 660cc cars were mostly free to drive and park where traffic was an issue.
Honda N Kei Cars
There are 3 more common 660cc cars by Honda Japan; Honda One, Honda N WGN, and Honda N Box. Where Honda N One is the smaller and sportier car with retro looks, the N Box is more of a, as its name suggests, a box like vehicle that is more of a people hauler with the most amount of interior room among the three. The middle car, the N WGN is the mix of the two and provides sporty looks as well as a decent amount of interior space without looking like a microvan; like the N Box.
All three of these cars come with most of the basic safety features as well as fancy features in the high-end variants. N One is kind of rare among these 3 whereas N WGN is the most common one. So if you are just looking for a vehicle that is not only nice to look at but has enough space for a small car, then Honda N WGN should be your preference.
Basic maintenance of these cars is cheap. You will get most of the basic parts from almost all big part stores. Body parts and specialty parts however are a different story.
You can buy a decent looking Honda N WGN for somewhere around the 2 million mark for 2016 to 2018 model depending on the condition and model of the car. If you go for older models, you can get some for as low as 15 lacs.
Suzuki Wagon R
Do not be confused by the name. We are only going to be talking about the Japanese Suzuki Wagon R which is also in some variants known as Stingray. Suzuki Wagon R Japan model provides comparatively bigger passenger room compared to smaller cars like Suzuki’s own Alto or Honda N One and others. JDM Suzuki Wagon R provides a very nice balance between passenger comfort and practicality. There is a good amount of space for not only hauling people but also for moving stuff thanks to its rear seating configuration.
There is a semi hybrid also known as mild hybrid version of Suzuki Wagon R as well that provides a couple of extra horsepower and better fuel economy. That Wagon R can easily do more than 25 km/l when new.
Suzuki Alto (Local and JDM)
When we talk about Suzuki Alto we must include both the Japanese as well as the local variant. After Suzuki Mehran was discontinued Pak Suzuki introduced the new 660cc Alto as its replacement and even though it has a hefty price tag, the car has become a success in the local market. in fact you cannot book Alto right now because of the backlog of bookings that are yet to be delivered by Suzuki
Where the local Suzuki is kind of basic and boring, the Japanese model comes equipped with all sorts of safety features as well as driver aids. In fact in the most basic Pakistani Suzuki Alto VX, you do not even get seat belts for the rear passengers whereas at least two airbags for the passenger and the driver as well as ABS is standard in all Japanese vehicles no matter how lower the variant is thanks to Japan’s strict legislation. If you look around inside the local Alto, you will find a lot of empty covered up button spaces on its dashboard that are actually various operational switches in imported Alto.
If you talk about the drivetrain of the vehicle in Pakistani Alto, you only get a naturally aspirated 660 cc engine whereas in Japanese Alto you can not only have the similar 660 cc naturally aspirated engine but there is a turbocharged 660cc engine as well that is definitely a lot of fun to drive. Transmission wise, you only get 5 speed manual or if you want an auto car you will have to get this Suzuki AGS system, whereas is in imported Suzuki Alto, depending upon the variant of the car, you can either have a 5 speed manual, a regular CVT transmission, or Suzuki’s AGS.
Good thing about having a local version of the same imported car is that parts are not going to be an issue. So you can just replace and swap parts from one car to another since they are basically the same.
660cc Microvans (Every Wagon – Daihatsu Hijet)
Maybe the odd ones in the list, but definitely on top if you are looking for practicality with some level of comfort. They offer space and durability of a loader with some comfort that may not be an option if you are looking for locally available vehicles with similar capabilities. The practicality these small vans offer is something none of the cars above can compete with. You get ample space inside whether you want to haul people or just some stuff. Kei vans are available by various car brands; from Daihatsu to Suzuki. So pick whatever brand you like and go for it. And considering how many options are usually offered in Japan, you can find all sorts of creature comforts depending on the variant. Most of these come with basic features like air conditioning, ABS, and better sound systems. Options like power windows and power steering, and having an option of automatic gearbox is also a huge plus. If want something fancy, you can even get some of these with an automatic sliding door.
Having a small engine, and sometimes with only 3-speed gearboxes, these vehicles are not suitable for long high-speed motorway travels. These vehicles are mostly built to transport payload, whether its people or just some stuff, therefore the engine and gearbox are designed to cater that need. So maybe not go on a high speed motorway trip on one of these if you don’t want to break your car. But for local city driving, these work great.
One area where these small vans fall behind from their 660cc siblings is that the fuel consumption of these cars might be high due to their drivetrain configuration; low-end power for hauling payload.
Daihatsu is the sister company of Toyota. So you can be sure that the company provides quality and reliable cars just like Toyota itself. If we talk about most Japanese small cars that are on the roads nowadays, the Mira is definitely in the top 3. Among all the Suzuki JDM cars, Mira is one of those vehicles that has been able to capture the attention of Pakistani auto consumers.
Like others, you get a 660cc engine and a CVT. Now with the new generation cars, you also get the option of a mild hybrid or semi hybrid drivetrain as it is in other vehicles like Suzuki Wagon R Stingray. As for the parts of Mira are concerned, it is going to be a bit hard to find body panels or body parts of the new car just because they are already quite expensive to buy and there is not much after sales support in the used car market. Like many other cars on the list, the regular maintenance is not a problem, but in case of an accident or if you need a specific mechanical/electrical part, that is going to be an issue.
Newer 2017 to 2019 model Mira is going to cost you from 2 to 2.2 million rupees. If you want something older, previous gen 2006-2008 Mira can cost around 1 million rupees.
The eK is maybe the odd one in the list here as it is from a car maker that is not very popular in Pakistan compared to, let’s say, Honda or Suzuki. On the other hand, it is a fact that Mitsubishi makes one of the best kei cars among its competitors. In fact, uptil a few years ago, Nissan was actually buying these 660cc cars from Mitsubishi and rebranding as their own until the company was bought by Nissan itself. EK Wagon can be seen with the Nissan Dayz badge as well.
The Ek Wagon has low ground clearance like Honda N One or the new Japanese Alto therefore going over bigger speed breakers especially when your car is full is going to be rough on your car.
The new EK Wagon has one of the best interiors among its competitors. The dashboard touch controls look sophisticated and futuristic.
You can find a good newer model Mitsubishi Ek Wagon for around 1.9 to 2.1 million rupees for a 2018 model. Old shape 2007 EK Wagons can cost around a million rupees mark.
There are a lot of variables that play a role in the pricing of a used imported car here in Pakistan, from the condition of the car to its auction sheet report to its model and variant etc. So do a thorough research before buying your next JDM Kei car.
Parts and Maintenance
As for parts and maintenance of all of these cars, you will have to keep a few things in mind. First of all the basic maintenance of all these cars is kind of cheap and is possible wherever you are in Pakistan (majority of the biggest cities in Pakistan). A lot of local and imported companies make basic replacement maintenance parts like air and oil filters etc for these cars. But the problem arises when you have some obscure variant of a JDM car with some specific projector headlight that gets broken when you rear end a rickshaw on your way to sabzi mandi on a rainy Sunday because you were distracted. That specific part is going to be a pain to acquire because of course there is no official support of these cars. Whereas your local scrap markets might have some basic or more common parts but it is going to be difficult to get something very specific. The side view mirrors of these cars often get stolen and it is kind of a trend that you lose your mirror and then go buy the same mirror from the used parts market of your city for a couple of thousand rupees. Also sometimes the mechanical parts like something from suspension and steering or even an electrical component like a specific sensor can become a hassle to source out even if you are living in a big city that has relatively large auto parts markets.
Therefore it is better to buy a car that has relatively better after sales support even if you are buying an imported car then something novel and obscure. You will be able to find at least 80% of the parts of these cars. Even something as common as a catalytic converter can become a hassle to sort out especially if you are not willing to spend thousands of rupees on a replacement part.
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