Each year, there are tiny cars you may never knew existed becoming legal for import to the US as their 25 year import ban expires. Kei cars, limited in power, displacement and size, are afforded special tax breaks in Japan to promote space, fuel consumption, and emissions economy. To compete in this category, manufacturers had to get creative and the result is a lot of cool in some little cars. Find this 1990 Daihatsu Mira Turbo Tr-XX Limited for sale in Marion, IA for $6,499 via craigslist.
In 1990, Japanese Kei cars received a bump in displacement from 550cc to 660cc. While limited to 63 HP, these cars can get around in fine fashion because, of course, they don’t weigh much. The addition of forced induction means that much of this power is present throughout the torque curve.
There are a couple of downsides to owning one of these morsels of awesome here in the US of A. First, you will not have the parts and services availability of a Ford Focus. It may benefit you to see if the Daihatsu mini-truck network can offer any help with this matter, as the Daihatsu Hi-Jet mini-truck is no stranger to US soil. Second, you will have to get used to driving like the mail carrier: from the far side of the cockpit. Yes, the location of your left limits will not be as intuitive as they were before. You will need to learn to operate the switch-gear with your left hand and the BK drive-thru will require you to set the parking brake.
The upsides to ownership are plentiful, though. Curious onlookers? Check. 8K+ redline? You got it. Parking? Too easy. Functional hood scoop? Oh, yeah. Dimensions that make a new Mini seem like a battleship? Present. Shoot, this little hatch even has A/C.
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