New Nissan Roox Highway Star Preview – Next-Generation Kei Cars Launched in Japan

By Steve & Tamami Laser

The old maxim, “Good things come in small packages,” applies to many varieties of consumer goods in Japan. From smart kitchen gadgets, to creative lunch boxes, to a unique segment of mini vehicles, called “Kei cars,” small things continue to generate big followings.

Nissan is rolling out its latest Kei car in Japan this month dubbed “Roox.” Filled with convenience, technology, and safety features, this next-generation model replaces the previous “Dayz Roox” that racked up sales of more than 600,000 units over ten years.

Offered in regular and Highway Star series, Roox shares its platform with the Nissan Dayz, a separate model that was introduced in Japan last year. NMKV, a joint venture between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, builds the Nissan Kei cars along with the Mitsubishi eK X and eK Wagon. While they share key components, these petite tall wagons have separate brand identities.

Boxy mini vehicles like the Roox may have small footprints, yet their cabins are remarkably roomy. Nissan says Roox seats four adults comfortably, offering 795mm of knee room for rear seat passengers, with a 1,400mm ceiling height above the rear seats. And there’s space for four 48-liter suitcases in the cargo area.

Powertrains include a normally aspirated 660cc 3-cylinder, 12-valve DOHC engine, plus a turbocharged variant, coupled to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), and a choice of two- or four-wheel drive. An available smart Hybrid system generates kinetic energy during deceleration and uses it to charge the lithium-ion battery. Stored power is used to turn the Eco motor as an auxiliary driving force for the engine, or reuse it for idle-stop to save gas.

Among the roster of available high-tech goodies is an Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection (above), Nissan’s advanced ProPILOT driver assistance technology, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive LED Headlight System, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Driver Alertness, and Front Vehicle Movement Alert.

Interiors feature a simple and modern design with available “greige” (gray and beige) plus black and mocha-based color schemes. The exterior color palette includes a dozen monotone choices plus five two-tones with Serenity Gold for Roox and Amethyst Purple and Atlantic Blue for Highway Star.

Roox features Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats for increased comfort on long journeys. The rear seats slide 320mm back and forth for seating flexibility. Levers are mounted under the seats for easy adjustment, and also on top of the seatbacks, for operation from the cargo area.

Available hands-free automatic sliding doors (on both sides) allow the doors to be easily opened when hands are full by swinging a foot underneath.

The Nissan Roox, Highway Star, Dayz, Mitsubishi eK Wagon, and eK X, are built by NMKV at Mitsubishi’s Mizushima plant in Kurashiki, Japan.

News source and photos courtesy of Nissan Motor Corp.

Vehicle features and specifications for Japan market models are subject to change without notice. 

Story (commentary) © 2020