Nissan and Mitsubishi are expanding their collaboration with the launch of four all-new kei cars for the Japanese market.
The new kei cars are the Nissan Dayz, Nissan Dayz Highway Star, Mitsubishi eK Wagon, and Mitsubishi eK X. Production of the new mini cars is handled by the NMKV joint venture and they will be manufactured at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima Plant in Kurashiki, Japan.
Nissan and Mitsubishi launched the first generation of their jointly-developed kei cars in 2013 and have ramped up their collaboration since becoming Alliance partners in 2016.
For the first time, Nissan and Mitsubishi’s kei cars will offer semi-autonomous driving technology designed for single-lane use on highways. The Japanese automakers say the new models deliver “a markedly improved performance” thanks to their upgraded platforms, engines and transmissions.
Even though the four cars share key components and the tall, boxy shape (kei cars are limited by law to a length of 3,490mm (137.4in) and width of 1,490mm/58.6in), they retain their brand-specific design cues. The Nissan Dayz models adopt the marque’s V-Motion grille while the Mitsubishi eK vehicles feature the Dynamic Shield design philosophy at the front.
There are no surprises in the engine compartment, as segment rules stipulate the powertrain mustn’t be bigger than 0.66 liters and can’t have more than 64 hp. Thus, we expect the same naturally aspirated and turbocharged three-cylinder engines with 55 hp and 64 hp, respectively.
As before, a CVT will be standard, and customers will also have the option of an AWD system. The new Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK will go on sale in Japan later this month. Interestingly, we caught an early glimpse of the all-new Dayz in January, when a prototype was spotted testing in Europe, out of all places, though it won’t be available there.