Toyota, Subaru and Daihatsu debut all-new kei truck

For the first time in 15 years, an all-new Hijet, Sambar and Pixis roll onto Japanese streets.

Toyota, Subaru and Daihatsu simultaneously unveiled their new super-compact truck in Japan this week.

The Daihatsu Hijet, Subaru Sambar, and Toyota Pixis are identical aside from badging. All run on the same DOHC 3-cylinder engine, limited to 660cc and 63hp by kei vehicle standards determined by the Japanese government. A 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual are available, paired with either rear- or all-wheel-drive.

That may not seem like a lot of power, but the total weight of the vehicle is only 1,630 pounds for base two-wheel-drive manual versions. The lightest optioned version returns 46 mpg on Japanese driving cycles.

Kei trucks are hugely popular in Japan, and serve as everything from farm trucks to delivery vehicles in large, congested cities. Automakers invest heavily into kei vehicle development, as they typically have long lifespans. The bulk of the new Hijet/Sambar/Pixis development was done by Toyota's microcar specialist subsidiary Daihatsu. Notably, the previous-generation Hijet was sold largely unchanged for 15 years.

The Hijet has been in Daihatsu's lineup since 1960. The Sambar has been a Subaru staple since 1961, but the two were completely independent models until Toyota took a 20 percent stake in Subaru. In 2012, the last Subaru-developed Sambar was sold, after a 14-year run, and replaced with the last-generation Hijet. The Toyota Pixis is a relatively new affair, having only appeared in 2011.

Prices start at $5,757.

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