Yet another Kei car in the making; possibly a replacement for the eK?

The 2020 Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon is a concept car that the Japanese firm unveiled at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. The show car previews Mitsubishi’s next generation of Kei wagons, most likely a replacement for the eK model sold on the Japanese market. The 2020 Super Height K-Wagon is a typical Kei wagon, featuring a boxy, tall body and bold styling features typical to these Japan-specific vehicles.

Exterior

  • Boxy design
  • Tall roof
  • Massive front grille
  • Two-tone finish
  • Detailed beltline
  • Vertical tailgate
  • Two-tone wheels
  • SUV-like wheel arches
2020 Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon Concept Exterior
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The Super Height K-Wagon looks like a very narrow minivan

The Super Height K-Wagon looks awfully familiar. That’s because it doesn’t stray far off the traditional Kei car design. Just like the production eK, which it will probably replace a few years from now, the K-Wagon is a tall and boxy vehicle with angular design cues, straight-cut doors, and a perfectly vertical tailgate. It basically looks like a very narrow minivan. And while it may seem strange compared to U.S. or European cars, this is a common design in Japan, where several local manufacturers compete in this market.

Up front, the K-Wagon features Mitsubishi’s familiar Dynamic Shield design. That’s basically a trapezoidal grille with the Mitsubishi logo in the center and flanked by thin headlamps on the upper section. The central and lower sections are flanked by grey trim that extends into the bumper to surround the lower headlamps. This feature is already present on production Mitsubishi vehicles. Down below, another trapezoidal grille, this time with the shorter side up, occupies most of the bumper.

2020 Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon Concept Exterior
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The K-Wagon has very short overhangs and an impressively long wheelbase given its size

The profile is pretty straightforward and typical to Kei cars. The K-Wagon has very short overhangs, relatively small wheels compared to the height, and an impressively long wheelbase given its size. The doors are as straight as they get, a simple and practical design feature specific to these vehicles. The side windows are taller than the usual car, which translates into excellent visibility and a luminous interior. The only notable character line is the straight beltline that extends from the headlamps to the taillights. The slightly beefed-up wheel arches add a bit of sportiness to this box on wheels.

The rear end is just a vertical tailgate that extends from the roof all the way into the bumper. The thin, vertical taillights and the horizontal silver trim between them are the only notable features here. A silver insert in the bumper mimics a diffuser, but the rear end is far from sporty.

2020 Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon Concept Exterior
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The exterior boasts an interesting two-tone paint scheme that combines an Olive Green body and a white roof. The wheel arches are painted black to give the K-Wagon an SUV-style look. The roof rails are finished in silver, while the wheels feature the same green-and-white colors as the body.

Interior

  • Looks kinda premium
  • Big infotainment display
  • Modern instrument cluster
  • Multi-function steering wheel
  • Two-tone dashboard
  • Two-tone door panels
  • Synthetic leather upholstery
  • Diamond quilting
  • Contrast stitching
  • Impressive rear-seat legroom
2020 Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon Concept Interior
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The instrument cluster behind it isn't digital, but it has a small screen for vital information in the center

The cabin of the K-Wagon is simple but modern. It features a big infotainment display on top of the dashboard and a secondary unit in the center stack. These displays include almost all controls that you need to operate the car’s functions, so it eliminates almost all physical controls. The secondary panel in the center stack is neatly integrated with the gear level, which sits higher in the stack simply because the K-Wagon doesn’t have a center console.

The three-spoke steering wheels includes all the controls you can find in modern cars and it’s also wrapped in brown synthetic leather stitched together with orange thread. The instrument cluster behind it isn’t digital, but it has a small screen for vital information in the center, between the two analog gauges.

2020 Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon Concept Interior
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The seats feature brown synthetic leather sides and a cloth center surface with diamond quilting

The dashboard features a two-tone finish. There’s a brown center section that matches the leather on the steering wheel and the seats and black upper and lower panels. The latter are made from plastic and look rather cheap, which is surprising given the "concept" badge attached to this vehicle. The door panels are finished in the same layout, as the specific black and brown surfaces trickle from the dashboard.

The seats feature brown synthetic leather sides and a cloth center surface with diamond quilting. The orange stitching seen on the steering wheel is also visible on the sides. In the rear, a similar bench offers seating for two. Yes, the K-Wagon wasn’t designed as a traditional five-seater, mostly because Kei cars are usually narrow. However, rear-passenger legroom seems huge given the size of this car and I’m pretty sure it can compete with compact sedans. Mitsubishi brags that the K-Wagon features the largest rear-seat legroom in its class, alongside with the largest rear door opening for enhanced passenger access.

Drivetrain

  • No actual info
  • Gas engine
  • CVT transmission
  • It could have a three-cylinder engine
  • No more than 60 horsepower
  • Modern driving assist tech
  • e-Assist safety
  • MI-PILOT technology
2020 Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon Concept Exterior
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The K-Wagon could be equipped with the 0.66-liter three-cylinder found in the fourth-generation eK

Mitsubishi was rather vague about the K-Wagon’s drivetrain. The only we get is that it "combines brisk performance from its high-performance engine and responsive CVT" transmission. This means that it features a gasoline engine, but the unit itself remains a mystery.

However, the K-Wagon could be equipped with the 0.66-liter three-cylinder found in the fourth-generation eK, which also mates to a CVT gearbox. This tiny engine generates 51 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque, which is more than enough for a vehicle this size and a curb weight that likely sits below the 2,000-pound mark.

Mitsubishi also says that it includes e-Assist preventive safety technology package with MI-PILOT. The latter combines "a single-lane driver assistance on highways, a braking system that mitigates damage from collisions, and collision prevention assistance for pedal misapplication."

Final Thoughts

2020 Mitsubishi Super Height K-Wagon Concept Exterior
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Kei cars are a strange breed for people who live outside Japan, but I find them quite interesting. Although their purpose is to provide an affordable means of transportation — taxes are much lower on top of the cars being notably cheaper — I think that they also look appealing and make great use of interior room. Sure, the boxy, tall design isn’t for everyone, but mainstream automakers could learn a thing or two about interior packaging in order to obtain more passenger room. Back to the concept in question, the Super Height K-Wagon isn’t exactly a show car in terms of exterior and interior design. This thing looks ready to go into production, which is a bit surprising given that the new Mitsubishi eK went in production in March 2019. Maybe Mitsubishi is planning to launch a new Kei wagon nameplate, which would be good for fans of such vehicles.

  • Leave it
    • Cheap plastics inside the cabin
    • No drivetrain information
    • What’s the plan, Mitsubishi?

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