Daihatsu Hijet Jumbo: A micro monster truck for £16,000?
Jonny tests the JDM Kei pick-up you never knew you needed. Keep reading to find out how this lifted curio fares on and off the beaten track.
It’s probably been a while since you’ve seen a Daihatsu out on the open road — and for good reason: they pulled out of the UK market entirely in 2011. But even if you can cast your mind back that far, you have to admit that none of the brand’s oddball offerings were ever quite as peculiar as the Hijet Jumbo.
Belonging to Japan’s native Kei class, this diminutive Daihatsu must comply with strict dimensional and engine regulations — hence the pocket-sized appearance and 660cc 3-cylinder nestled under the cab. That’s intriguing in itself, however it’s the Jumbo’s 4-inch lifted suspension, larger 14-inch wheels (it’s all relative), and knobbly Maxxis WormDrive tyres, that really catch your eye.
Taking to the tarmac for the first time, Jonny’s performance expectations are soon humbled when the Hijet fails to actually achieve 60 mph before the end of the test straight. Interestingly, though, the Late Brake Show presenter argues that the meagre 55-bhp output is all part of the Jumbo’s appeal. Much like the
Suzuki Jimny which featured earlier on the channel, Jonny enjoys extracting every ounce from the mini motor. Plus, he highlights “tiny engine, tiny fuel consumption”.
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Given the rudimentary body on frame design you might expect the Jumbo to ride like a washing machine falling down a flight of stairs. On the contrary, Jonny notes that “it feels like you’re floating” thanks to the increased suspension travel. Although, that high-riding, narrow wheelbase design doesn’t exactly lend itself to corner carving.
When the going gets tough the Daihatsu comes into its element. Navigating slippery bogs and traversing sodden bankings with ease, Jonny is impressed by how little phases the Kei 4x4. But, when it comes to deep water wading, you’ll need to watch the video to find out if the Hijet meets the same unfortunate fate as the sunken Lada from 2021.
With its cartoonish looks and genuine off-road ability, do you think the imported Hijet Jumbo will interest British buyers?