Mitsubishi eK Space is a vehicle with better space system. It is equipped with sliding doors on both sides and is a highly competitive kei car.
It is the second vehicle of the eK series created through the collaboration of Mitsubishi and Nissan. It is sold as Dayz Roox in Nissan.
The eK Space is given a facelift two months a year ever since its release. Its highlights are the improvement of fuel economy performance, and the expansion of the idling stop coast area, which is equipped on NA models, from 9km/h to 13km/h. It then became possible to have a quicker idling stop before stopping. The FF vehicle mode gas mileage is increased by 0.2km/liter, resulting to a total of 26.2km/liter. They incorporated the idling stop into the turbo vehicle for the very first time. It now has a 24km/liter gas mileage, improving by 1.8km/liter.
In addition to the manufacturer’s description, they added a two-tone color scheme, with the roof and the door mirror coated in different colors. The standard vehicle has undergone improvements, such as incorporating a customized black interior. It seems to have improve only in terms of the environmental performance, its interior and exterior.
So its running performance did not change at all? Wrong. Generally, a vehicle is constantly developed after its debuted, and the parts that do not appear in the specification are also evolving.
I test drove the standard eK Space. I must say, its city riding is indeed the best, and its moderate power and torque feeling remained the same. Its charm points, such as its auxiliary transmission with CVT which keeps a very low number of rotations and has a great soundproofing mechanism, its natural body roll feel, its body’s stable behavior, its manageability, its good set of electric power steering which strengthens its stability from around 50km/h speed, and its moderate lightness in low speed, have all remained as they were.
However, it feels like it has become more comfortable, as if it’s of the highest class.
Its quiet and stable feeling because of its heavyweight body have remained the same. The control in its vibration and sound, and its feeling when pushed up from the ground, have improved in terms of running on rough roads or crossing a bump. It shows a high class riding comfort that surpasses feeble compact cars and minivans. Therefore, in terms of city driving, you can run it pleasantly and comfortably indeed.
However, setting aside the long-awaited idling stop that is not provided with a tachometer in the NA model, there is no clear indication that it does not need further improvements. An icon that will show it works lits up, and a device that shows the text “in idling stop” on the display works in some vehicles. It became easier to stop the engine.
The space in the interior is its highlight. The rear seat overhead space is 290mm, and the space around the knee is 330mm, based on the driving position of a 172cm driver. Moreover, its riding comfort is excellent, and the front field of vision is refreshing, because the seat is placed higher compared to the front seat in an upright sitting position.
This eK Space is the most suitable vehicle for a dog ride. The floor by the sliding door and tailgate part is low, so it is easy to get on and off the vehicle. It is an appropriate area where you can place a dog, because of the rear seat’s arrangement which slides by a 5:5 division. The seat cover for the standard vehicle is waterproof (except for the vehicle with black interior); there is minimum risk of damage should an unfortunate event happen. As for the G grade, it mitigates sunlight to shine to the rear seat. A dog can comfortably and safely ride in it, because it is equipped with a sunshade roller that controls direct heat from the outside.
Furthermore, even if you put a dog at the rear seat or luggage compartment part, the cold air from the air conditioner diffuses quickly because of the rear circulator that is equipped only in this kei car, giving your pet a truly comfortable ride. (Be careful. Dogs are prone to summertime dehydration and heat stroke.)
Currently, you can only choose a customized turbo engine, that has just the right power performance, for the downsized model. However, rival manufacturers have also provided this on their standard vehicle. It’s just a matter of time that the turbo will be added to the standard model equipped with only an NA engine, which somewhat lacks power and torque.
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Naoki Aoyama| Automobile Journalist/ Dock Life Journalist
He became a freelance motor journalist after working as an editor for an automotive magazine. He started as a writer that specializes on automotive magazines, then general news magazines and websites. He also worked on publication of pet (dog) and overseas travel, pet and drive-related television program as well as events. He is currently, expanding his career as a dog life producer. He is selected as a committee in Japan Car of the Year.
(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)