Daihatsu says that its Mira Tocot is designed for women, but we kind of want one. The styling is appealingly somewhat retro, and reminds of the Nissan Pao. It has the same utilitarian look and comes in cool throwback colors, and as most kei cars now are tall boxes the Tocot still retains a charming hatchback profile.
The Mira Tocot replaces the Mira Cocoa, one of several variations on the Mira kei car. Because kei jidosha regulations are so strict, limiting not only engine displacement and horsepower but the car’s overall length, width and height, companies rely on interesting design to differentiate models. As a result, cars like the Mira Tocot shares almost no body panels or exterior lighting with other Mira models, even though underneath the skin they are largely the same.
With round headlights, an available contrasting canvas-texture roof, and panel design that recalls bead-rolled steel, it harkens back to a simpler time in car design. The Daihatsu logo isn’t even on the grille, which can be color-matched with the roof. Colors include Sunny Day Blue, Ceramic Green, and Lemon Squash Crystal Metallic.
Inside, the dashboard is cheerful and simple, with white and tan inserts that lighten up the cabin. Even the seats are two-tone, which is a big improvement over typical US-market economy cars, which thrust you into a sea of gray plastic.
Builders of kei cars have to adhere to a formula so there’s little point in going over the specs. To save from having to look them up, though, the Mira Tocot is powered by a 660cc inline-3 making 58 horsepower. It’s available in front- or all-wheel-drive, and a CVT is the only available transmission.
We know the Mira Tocot will never be sold in the US, but its charm extends across oceans. If only our entry-level cars had this much appeal.