Its sort of wild that a sub-ten thousand dollar car can get more attention than a MK4 Supra, but Kei vans often do! These little runabouts can be effective marketing tools, convenient in-town haulers, or weekend cars. This 19XX Daihatsu Atrai is a fantastic example of a microvan. Sans the normal scuffs and dings associated with daily use, this Alpine White four-seater has a straight body and drives well. Best of all, the combination of a spacious interior, straight drive transmission, and zingy three-cylinder actually make it fun to hustle around.
Opening the driver’s door, and entering the cabin, a surprising amount of room can be found. Unlike many Kei trucks, this van is equipped with a high-roof and has tons of headroom. The gray headliner is taught, and devoid of any large blemishes, which is a good indicator this wasn’t used as a work van. Then again with only 18K miles it doesn’t come as too much of a shock. Unlike many of its competitors, the Daihatsu has a fairly plush interior. The well-bolstered front and rear seats had factory lace covers, which were removed, revealing the original upholstery. The purple, gray, and blue tri-color cloth combo really pops and creates a more upscale and fun interior. The dash lacks any major distortion and is free of cracks. The low height of it and cab-over design provide an unobstructed view of the roadway. Behind the front passengers, those in the rear seat will find center armrests that retract into the seatback and make travel more comfortable. Optioned with factory air conditioning, the second row actually has roll down windows to aid ventilation further. OEM rain guards also keep the interior window volume low, and the factory radio can pump in some tunes. The carpets show average wear, as do the interior plastics, but both have experienced some sun fading.
Much like a sports car, the Atrai features a mid-mounted 659cc gasoline engine sending power to the rear wheels. This EF-VS sings up to 6K and sounds really neat. The EF series motor has received a fresh oil and filter service, ensuring the little three banger is nicely lubricated for the next three thousand miles. The 5-speed manual transmission feels strong and shifts through the gearset effortlessly. Low overhangs and impressive ground clearance make for comfortable driving down unpaved roads and less than ideal road surfaces. The brakes can handle stopping this bantamweight van, and the steering is quite direct and nicely weighted. Grip comes from four new all-season tires, mounted and balanced by one of our expert technicians.
Kei vehicles are a unique take on transportation. Designed on a smaller scale, the Atrai delivers an oversized amount of fun, while still being functional, efficient and affordable.
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB complaint first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.