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A microvan is a van that fits into Japanese kei car classification or similar. In certain regions, these models are inexpensive and widely used for small business because of tax and insurance benefits; for example, in Japan they are exempted from a certification that there is adequate parking available for the vehicle. Some microvans utilize a drivetrain with the engine installed transversely, using front or all wheel drive, while others use a cab over approach where the engine is installed beneath the driver, while still utilizing all wheel drive or rear drive powertrains. Cab over variants usually share their chassis with kei truck derivatives from the same manufacturer.
The first vehicle to adopt the style of a van, with the engine installed in front of the driver was the 1970s Honda Life "StepVan".
In China, these vehicles are nicknamed mian bao che ("bread loaf van") because of their shape, in a similar fashion, in several Hispanic American countries these vehicles are called Pan de Molde, which means "bread loaf".
Most microvans have two swinging front doors, two sliding rear doors and a large tailgate. Seating can vary from two to nine (up to four in Kei car regulation); these seats are usually very thin and vertical to optimise room. The side windows in commercial-only versions of microvans are replaced by metallic panels and sometimes call also as 'blind van'. Some models also feature pickup truck variants with one or two seat rows. Engines usually have displacements under 1.0 litres; for example, Japanese microvans have a limit of 660 cc. On the Japanese market, there are microvans available with 850 cc to 1.6 litre engines.
The kei car regulation is used only in Japan, though other Asian automakers also design microvans with similar characteristics. The microvan are commonly known as "Kei one box". in Japan alongside with their pick-up version twins known as Kei truck.
Due to the inherent compact size, lack of crumple zones and low weight these vehicles tend to fare poorly in collisions with other vehicles and objects and as a result are not recommended to be driven at higher speeds.
The microvans low cost makes it a popular choice.
Subaru Sambar Van sixth generation
Honda Acty Van third generation
Suzuki Every fifth generation
Mitsubishi Minicab Van fifth generation
- Chinese Hero Cars: The Mian Bao Che - China Car Times
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