DA63T Suzuki Carry truck review

Introducing the Suzuki Carry kei truck

You’d be hard pressed to drive anywhere in Japan (countryside or city) and not see a kei truck. They are small, economical and extremely capable vehicles that lend themselves to a huge range of uses. You can read more about what kei means here, but for now let’s proceed with the Suzuki Carry truck review.

The Suzuki Carry is one of the most popular kei trucks and the DA63T iteration of the Suzuki Carry truck is the subject of this article.

The Carry line was first introduced in 1961 and is still going strong today. DA63T is the model code (the first part of the chassis number). The DA63T version that I’m covering here was introduced in 2002 and ran all the way to 2013. That’s a production run so long it would have the likes of BMW scratching their heads, but why change a winning formula?

Picture of DA63T Suzuki Carry right front quarter

I’ve chosen to review the DA63T version of the Suzuki Carry because this is the one I concentrate on for importing. For me it is the right balance of being old enough to be competitive on price and not require an IVA test, whilst at the same time not being so old that rust, slowness and parts availability become issues. Those last three things, particularly the rust, are generalisations. If you buy a Carry from Northern Japan, it will probably be rusty.


The engine is Suzuki’s K6A model. This is a 658 cc, 3 cylinder, 12 valve dual overhead camshaft petrol engine with a timing chain. It develops 49 horsepower.

Where is the engine?

Under the seats! You can probably tell from the pictures there isn’t enough space up front for the engine, so you’ll find it under the seats. Both of the seat bases can be lifted up (they hinge at the back) to facilitate easy access to the engine bay for checking the oil etc.

Despite the location of the engine the Carry does still have a bonnet, albeit the smallest bonnet I’ve ever encountered on a 4 wheeled vehicle. Under there you’ll find the brake fluid reservoir, washer fluid tank and coolant expansion tank. Also worth mentioning is that the radiator and AC condenser are under the bonnet too, in contrast to one of the Carry’s key competitors the Daihatsu Hijet, which has these components underneath.

Suzuki Carry truck transmission & 4WD options

Next in this Suzuki Carry truck review we start to consider the range of options available, starting with the transmission. It’s available with 5 speed manual or 3 speed automatic gearboxes, with 4 wheel drive available on each, as well as the standard two / rear wheel drive.

Four wheel drive

The 4WD system is one of the Suzuki Carry’s real strong points, especially in conjunction with the manual transmission. I say this because the 4WD system on the manual transmission comes with high and low ratio 4WD options. These aren’t available for the automatic, which just comes with a 2WD / 4WD switch.

The 4WD with automatic transmission is still a capable machine, but it doesn’t have the same options / flexibility / control of the manual transmission with high and low ratio 4WD.

With the manual transmission, the high ratio 4WD can be selected whilst on the move.

Picture of Suzuki Carry 4WD selector


Changing the Suzuki Carry tyres is a common modification. As standard it comes with 145R12 tyres. Where the aspect ratio is not specified, it is usually either 80 or 82, so the full specification of the tyres is 145/80 R12. Despite being quite narrow, some fairly impressive 4WD performance can still be achieved, helped by the Carry’s light weight.

However, the vast majority of Suzuki Carrys I see at auction in Japan don’t have tyres that look like they’d fare well in mud. Enter a huge range of questions, recommendations and choices around alternative tyres.

I’m no expert on fitting lift kits, huge wheels or caterpillar tracks (yes really) to these trucks, so I won’t be covering that here. Having said that, I thought it would be worth mentioning a few options for more aggressive tread patterns for the Carry.

The first option is to import some better stock sized tyres from Japan. There is a huge amount of choice, so finding some shouldn’t difficult, although you might baulk at the shipping costs. These can be reduced if you’re prepared to wait for shipping by sea / rail rather than air. My pick would be Toyo Open Country RT.

If they aren’t enough for you, I’ve seen several folk claiming that 23×8-12 ATV tyres fit on the standard wheels without chafing, so this might be something to consider. However, if you use your Carry on the road, make sure whichever tyre you choose (and there is a lot of choice) has the appropriate load and speed ratings for road use.


The suspension is very much in commercial vehicle territory, as you’d expect. By this I mean bumpy when empty and not keen on being pushed hard in corners, whilst at the same time being more than adequate for the intended use of the Carry.

It’s a leaf sprung solid axle arrangement at the rear and MacPherson struts at the front.


I think we could summarise the level of equipment in the Carry (and perhaps the Carry overall) as everything you need and nothing you don’t!

There is electric power steering, which makes for a really light steering action.

Most Suzuki Carrys have air conditioning. In case it isn’t obvious, this is a manual arrangement – no automatic climate control here!

ABS is available on the later models, although as far as I’m aware is not universal.

Picture of DA63T Suzuki Carry interior passenger side

Special mention must go to the pen holder, business card holder and radio, which isn’t unique to the Carry but which is a joy to behold due to its simplicity. There are no separate speakers, just a single speaker built into the head unit and a combined volume knob and on/off switch. Despite the small size, it can easily go loud enough to be heard over the engine and road noise.

I’ll end this section with a list of equipment the Suzuki Carry doesn’t have:

  • Electric windows.
  • Electric mirrors.
  • Central locking.
  • Alloy wheels (although some are available with aftermarket alloys).
  • Airbags. Although these were an option. It is possible to find a Carry with airbags, but they are very much in the minority in my experience.

The seats are covered with Japan’s finest hard wearing vinyl and the cushioning underneath is adequate, but you’ll likely find its limits if you take the Carry on a long journey.


The Suzuki Carry has an unladen weight of about 750 kg and a gross weight of 1210 kg. In Japan they are rated to carry a load of 350 kg along with 2 people.

The exterior measurements are: 3.39 m long, 1.47 m wide and 1.79 m high.

The load bed measures approximately 2 metres x 1.4 metres, with the truck bed sides being about 30 cm high.

Load carrying options for the Suzuki Carry

As you might expect, there are a range of configurations for the load carrying area.

Standard truck bed

The most common option is the standard truck bed. The sides and the back can all be lowered to make a completely flat bed if needed. The rear gate can also be lowered and held in a flat position by a chain on each side, to enable carriage of longer items that wouldn’t fit with the rear gate upright.

There is also a rack at the back of the cab, with lashing points (and stops to prevent things sliding off) to allow carrying long items like ladders.

The ladder rack and the tops of the truck bed sides all have thick plastic strips to protect the metal underneath from damage. However, these are often lost / damaged over the years, so don’t be surprised if your used Carry comes without them.

Picture of DA63T Suzuki Carry right rear quarter


A metal frame and canopy are available as add ons to the truck bed, if you want your cargo to be covered during transit.


The Suzuki Carry is available with a tipper / dump body on the back! These are quite rare and more expensive than the standard truck bed option. Some of them are a combination dump / scissor lift truck bed, which looks super useful.


They’re also available with a box on the back. This is usually insulated and in some cases has active cooling.

Camper van

Yes really! The Carry is available as a camper van. Personally I’d find this a bit tight, but each to their own!


The engine is really quiet and surprisingly smooth for a 3 cylinder unit. It gives pretty good performance for such a small capacity. 1st gear is really low and is really just for getting moving, particularly when laden. You could probably get away with starting off in 2nd gear most of the time, but go easy on the clutch! If you’ve been to rural Japan and seen some of the terrain these trucks encounter, you’ll know why they have the low gearing.

The gear shift is light and on the road, you quickly make your way up through the gears to reach 5th. Shifting down for corners, junctions and roundabouts, you’ll generally find that one gear higher than you’d use in your car is about right, so 4th where you’d usually use 3rd, and 3rd for 2nd.

The Carry seems very happy pootling along at 50 mph. It seems OK at 60 too, albeit with more road and engine noise. I think the maximum speed is ~75 mph but driving at 70 would be really thrashing it in my opinion. This is not a vehicle built for speed!

The manoeuvrability of the Suzuki Carry is fantastic. It’s so easy to reverse and it fits into a whole host of spaces that would be out of bounds for a typical UK market commercial vehicle. Special mention must also go to the turning circle, which is incredibly tight.

Longevity and Suzuki Carry common problems

It would be easy to assume that with such a small engine and light weight construction, the Suzuki Carry wouldn’t last long. Well I can reassure you that, chosen carefully, a 15 year old Suzuki Carry is still very much alive and kicking. They regularly come up at auction with over 300,000 km on the clock (~186,000 miles).

There are a few problems that I’ve seen come up time and time again. This isn’t an exhaustive list – ask me again when I’ve imported 100s of them!

Leaking / brittle expansion tank

This one happened to me. The expansion tank is behind the bumper but there are a few places where sunlight can get to it. Over time, this makes the plastic brittle and susceptible to cracking. Once this happens, the coolant gradually sloshes out and you risk overheating. If you need a new tank, I can get one for you. Please fill in this form to enquire.

Air conditioning not working

I haven’t dealt with this enough to work out the ‘usual’ failure pattern and I haven’t managed to guess from the commonly available AC system parts. However what I can say is that faulty AC is very commonly reported in the auction inspector’s comments.

Torn seats

The seam between the vinyl on the seat base and side of the seat can split.

Bashed / bent left rear corner

This seems to happen all the time! I guess it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking your Carry is so small and manoeuvrable that you couldn’t possibly hit anything. Lots of them seem to end up with bent left rear corners – presumably because this is the hardest one to see when reversing.

Missing truck side bump stops

OK, this is a minor point and quite cheap to fix, but the bump stops to prevent the side and rear gates bumping against the body when lowered are often absent!


The Suzuki Carry excels in many things, but I’d like to take a moment before finishing the article to mention simplicity. They are wonderfully simple: no over designed and over complex controls or features. No excess trim for vanity’s sake and a breath of fresh air to drive!

If you enjoy working on your own vehicles, working on the Suzuki Carry will be a pleasure for you. Everything is simple and easy to access. You could do an enormous amount of work on these with a screwdriver, some pliers and 10, 12 and 14 mm sockets.

If you need workshop manuals and diagrams in English, they are available:

Suzuki Carry DA63T electrical service manual

Suzuki K6A engine manual

Suzuki Carry DA63T parts diagrams


That’s it, this Suzuki Carry truck review is complete – I hope you enjoyed it!

The Carry is a great little vehicle with bags of personality and a whole host of uses. So far I’ve encountered: farm vehicle, forestry, rural milk round truck, gardener and general use in towns and villages with really narrow streets and small parking spaces. How would you use yours?

If you’d like me to import a Carry for you, please get in touch.

Here’s a video of a Suzuki Carry I imported recently:


  1. You know, I’m sat in my DA63T right now, staring at a pair of signs saying “SRS Airbag”. Not sure why you’d want to scare off customers!

    You should also tell them about the factory stock pyrotechnics!

    • Thanks for your comment. The vast majority of DA63T Suzuki Carrys (Carries?) don’t have airbags. They were an optional extra so yours must be one of the rare examples with airbags. I have updated the review to reflect this.

      It is not my intention to scare anyone off, just trying to help people understand what they’ll get (or not) if they buy a Carry. I have found that being open about a vehicle’s weaknesses as well as strengths is well-received by customers.

      I think the Carry is particularly popular for its size, simplicity, utility and off road ability, regardless of the airbags.

      Regarding pyrotechnics, I presume you mean the flare?

    • Not sure! Is the ‘door closed’ switch working properly? Or if it’s a different type of beep it might be worth scanning for fault codes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.