Kei cars are just one of the million reasons why we love Japan. This vehicle category was created by the local government back in 1949 and its regulations still require the engine to be 660cc or smaller, which brings healthy tax and insurance benefits to owners. Kei cars account for about a third of the domestic new car sales and, in 2018, the four best-selling models in the country were all kei cars – the Honda N-Box, Suzuki Spacia, Nissan Dayz, and Daihatsu Tanto. Wait, not a single Mitsubishi here? That could change very soon.

During the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi has revealed the Super Height K-Wagon concept, which is basically a near-production prototype of a new kei wagon for Japan. Offering sliding rear doors, the vehicle has been designed for drivers who “want to go more places and longer distances.” At a glance, it probably looks like just yet another boxy mini car, but there’s more to it than that.

Gallery: Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon Concept

The mini estate (or shall we say the mini MPV?) incorporates Mitsubishi’s latest design language with a dominating Dynamic Shield front end with a coated steel bar perpendicular to a horizontally-themed grille. While the company says “its side view exudes power,” the side profile looks very traditional to us and embodies all the key characteristics of a kei car.

A small CVT engine should deliver “brisk, stress-free road performance in low-speed and high-speed zones,” while an e-Assist package of safety and assistance systems should make work behind the wheel less stressful. The range of technologies includes a single-lane driver assistance on motorways, an emergency braking system, and collision prevention assistance for pedal misapplication.

Mitsubishi doesn’t reveal its plans about when the Super Height K-Wagon concept will morph into a production model, but we assume it won’t take long until we see the kei wagon cruise the narrow streets of Japan.

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The SUPER HEIGHT K-WAGON CONCEPT is a next-generation super height Kei wagon that caters to drivers who want to go more places and longer distances. Offering the wide-open passenger space of a super height Kei wagon, it delivers the performance and functionality required in that vehicle category but with a design that expresses the unique flavor of MMC's SUVs.
(1)  Design that expresses powerful SUV flavor
MMC's Dynamic Shield front design concept was used for the front face, with a coated steel bar perpendicular to a horizontally-themed grille.
Its side view exudes power, with a cabin silhouette that utilizes a long wheelbase and sculpted, active character lines. At the same time, the side sill garnish and wheel arches were made black to accentuate the character and uniqueness of an SUV.
Designed with a color scheme to evoke the personality of drivers who want to be active outdoors, its body color is a two-tone combinations of olive green and white, with the silver roof rails. The wheels incorporate the same colors as body, producing an all-around unified appearance.
(2) Comfort at the top of its class, with a sophisticated interior
Offering the wide-open passenger space of a super height Kei wagon, passenger space was maximized in the back seats in particular with family use in mind. With the largest rear door opening and back seat legroom in its class, passengers have plenty of space to relax.
Its chic, premium interior uses brown as a main theme, with orange appearing ubiquitously as a secondary color. Synthetic leather is covered with diamond quilting for the seats to create a high quality feel.
(3)  Brisk road performance with advanced driver assistance technology and safety equipped with a high-performance engine and CVT, the SUPER HEIGHT K-WAGON CONCEPT delivers brisk, stress-free road performance in low-speed and high-speed zones.
Incorporating the e-Assist preventive safety technology package—including MI-PILOT single-lane driver assistance on highways, a braking system that mitigates damage from collisions, and collision prevention assistance for pedal misapplication—that qualifies for Support Car S Wide safety classification by the Japanese government, MMC has eased the burden on the driver while providing safety and peace of mind to all passengers.