The Formidable Kei Car just got better with the Daihatsu Wake
Make / Model: Daihatsu Wake
Description: It's hard to imagine that over 90% of the worlds driving population are still not driving a Kei car. I was standing tall with this group until a couple of years ago when I purchased my very first Kei Truck a Suzuki Carry.
Year Reviewed: 2019
Mileage At Review: 6,600
Engine Size: 660cc Turbo
Transmission Auto/Man: Auto CVT
Exported To : Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Others
Average Cost In Japan: 1.8 Million JPY New
Tell Us About The Drive/Parking/City/Highway: I am now an experienced Kei owner and proud to be driving one on a near-daily basis from my home in Chiba to Tokyo where I have some other business activities. With this experience, I can honestly give an honest and biased opinion about this great little big car with the wow factor.
Now keep in mind that I bought the Wake Turbo model which peeks out at about 56hp. It's also the SAII (safety assist 2) model which offers the most in safety one of these late-model little Kei cars will offer you for a price under $20,000 brand new.
What I required a Kei car for my trips to Tokyo is space. The Daihatsu Wake is the largest in its size. All of these Kei vehicles have strict government-imposed size and performance stipulations to agree to so Daihatsu has done a great job squeezing as much size as possible given the governing allowable dimensions. (Google It)
When you look at the Wake it's surprisingly bland-looking when compared to some of its competitors like the Honda N-Box and that Suzuki car with their big grills. The wake has the most understated grill and it looks just like a box with small wheels. What you quickly see is lots of glass. Yes, there are windows everywhere and the vision is excellent. Open the rear hatch and the first thing that hits you is more than likely the door that flys up at a speed faster than this thing can do Zero to 60 and secondly the space starting with headroom. The headroom is amazing.
Go around to the rear passenger compartment and put your tallest 186cm son is there and watch as he stretches out with no obstructions. The seating is more than ample for rear passengers and you can still get some daily groceries in the back. Fold the seats down to flat and you can sleep in there or pull out the floor and use it as a picnic table.
Getting onto the serious side and moving to the driver's seat you are quickly faced with the same reality of massive headroom and storage spaces everywhere. Thanks to those windows the external vision is excellent. Note though that this car came with no factory entertainment system so you have a large hole is the somewhat non-descript dash area. One grip of the leather-bound steering wheel and gear shift soon has you forgetting about the entertainment anyway.
Getting off and about around town is effortless. There is a little blue light telling you that the 660cc engine is still cold so don't turbo up too soon. As soon as that light has extinguished cancel the Echo idle and start your about town drive. The cars are small and nimble and no it's not lightning fast, however, 30klm to 60klm is an easy zone to move between comfortably.
You will soon notice how well the CVT gearbox works but its not as smooth as I would have hoped. Still its more than good and driving about the city is easily achieved.
As I do much open road driving this car needed to fulfill my somewhat demanding driving style as I have driven everything from Lamborghinis to Austin Healeys and my experience is vast but uneducated in written form.
I like to accelerate hard from zero and cornering at speed always puts a smile on my face. I have no interest in top speed times as they can't be reached in Japan. On these two factors mentioned the Wake will not set your heart on fire and it was never intended to. You cant travel in the fast lane easily at 120klm without pissing anyone off and the rev counter is at 4,000rpm which will climb to 7,500 without screaming.
Daihatsu claims that the Wake can get 2klm to the liter. We believe they were talking about 25Klm to the gallon Hahahahaaa as we have managed only 14.5 with my wife driving using echo idle. It's ok but not great by modern standards with new Hybrid Kei cars. I love this car no matter the fuel economy.
Reasons To Buy Or Not To Buy: If you can get one of these little big cars into your country you will soon become the envy of the town. Try to own one asap. You will be happy that you splashed out.
Car Age At Testing: 2019
Keywords: Daihatsu,wake,Kei car
Zero To 60 Times: 19 seconds + approx
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Video thumbnail URL:
Overall Score 0= Bad & 100= Great
- Design - 93%93%
- Performance - 40%40%
- Reliability - 98%98%
- Used Car Cost - 94%94%
- Drive - Open Road - 85%85%
- Drive - City - 98%98%
- Exterior Style & Spec - 85%85%
- Interior Style & Spec - 86%86%
- Value For Money 2nd Hand - 94%94%
- Technology at That Time - 93%93%
- Good Or Bad Re-Sale Value - 93%93%
- Does It Look In My Driveway - 88%88%
- Do We Like This Car - 96%96%
- Safety Features At That Year - 96%96%
- Economy - 90%90%
- 2nd Hand Reliability - 97%97%
- 2nd Hand Running Costs Per Year - 97%97%
It's hard to imagine that over 90% of the worlds driving population are still not driving a Kei car. The Daihatsu Wake is a Kei Car everyone should be driving.Summary
Drive one! Soak up the thought that has gone into making this great car so practical. It’s not going to disappoint you except in looks, a little economy and luggage space w.with seats up. Kei Cars are not fast and the Daihatsu Wake is proof of this. But if speed is what you’re after your a dick for buying one of these.
This car is the perfect commuter for the busy city and short runs on the expressway in normal traffic. If you want to travel with the family and luggage, rent a car.