The Honda Acty is perhaps one of the best known and most popular Kei microvans/trucks. They have been in production since 1977 and are still going strong to this day, but that will soon come to an end. In 2021, Honda will stop producing the might Acty as new regulations are making it very hard for the company to turn a profit on these pint-sized workhorses.
Honda designed the Acty to be a tough and dependable vehicle that can be had at a very affordable price, meaning that a lot of the “luxury” options commonly found in other vehicles were left out. Some of the options you could spec the Acty with were power steering and A/C, all of which would come standard in regular passenger vehicles.
We’ve created this in-depth buying guide to give you a better understand of this iconic vehicle and provide you with as much information as possible before you go out and get one for your very own. Countless hours were spend sifting through numerous articles and documents to bring you the most comprehensive and detailed guide currently available.
Pros and Cons
- Compact size
- Good gas mileage
- Can be had in a 4×4 drivetrain
- Came is several configurations
- Small cabin
- Compact size
- RHD only
- Not as popular as other Kei trucks/microvans
- Finding replacement parts in North America is difficult
Weak timing belt. It’s a problem that is very well documented. A lot of owners have reported that the timing belts wears of even fail prematurely. When purchasing your Acty, we recommend a timing belt and water pump change, even if the previous owner said it has been done recently; better safe than sorry.
Broken radiator overflow tank. These overflow tanks are located under the bed and in front of the rear wheels. This means that they are constantly in the way of flying debris and more often than not, they get damaged. It is reported as the most common broken part on these Kei trucks. The best thing to do is to build a case around it to protect it from any sort of future damage.
Electrical issues. As with any old vehicle, the electronic systems do get worn out over time and the Honda Acty is no different. One of the most commonly reported electrical issues for the Acty platform is that the ECU capacitors get swollen up and often explode, causing issues with the ECU itself.
It’s commonly known that the Acty is amongst the cheapest Kei truck/microbus you can buy. We have curated a list of the most expensive and the cheapest examples currently available through our various dealers here at JDMBuySell.com
In the world of Kei trucks/micro vans, there are a few names that are constantly fighting for the top spot. This section is dedicated to the Acty’s competition. Each vehicle has its own set of pros and cons, and we suggest you do your research before you make your final decision.
- Subaru Sambar (Read our Subaru Sambar Buying Guide)
- Suzuki Carry Truck
- Daihatsu Hijet
- Mazda Scrum
- Mitsubishi Minicab
- Nissan NT100/NV100 Clipper
Models and Specifications
First Generation (1977-1988)
When Honda introduced the first Acty in July 1977, it was nothing more than a basic work truck with a small two-cylinder 545c.c. engine that produced only 28 horsepower and 30 ft. lb. of torque. As the years progressed, a people carrier microvan was introduced and even a four-wheel drive platform was added. By 1983, the utilitarian Acty was now producing 20 horsepower and 33 ft. lb. of torque.
Second Generation (1988-1999)
The 11 years that this generation was in production saw quite a few improvements being itroduced to the Honda Acty. To start off this generation, Honda introduced a who new three-cylinder SOHC engine that initially put out 34 horsepower and 33 ft. lb. of torque. Additionally, the four-wheel drive version was no longer available with an automatic transmission.
1990 was the year that a bigger and more powerful engine made its debut. The new 656c.c. engine made a respectable 38 horsepower and 40 lb. ft. of torque which made it possible for the RWD versions to get up to 71mph (115 km/h), while the four-wheel drive versions only managed to reach a top speed of 65 mph (105 km/h).
Moreover, Honda realized that their customers wanted certain creature comforts such as reading lights and radios in their vehicles, all of which were offered as standard in their competition’s trucks. They obliged and added those items as optional extras, along with some cosmetic features such as body colored bumpers and different interior choices.
Third Generation (1999-2009 truck) (1999-2018 van)
As Japan changed is safety regulations a few years before the release of the third generation, Honda had enough time to go back to the drawing board and redesigning the Acty. The Japanese government initiated a set of new safety laws that in turn gave the Acty a slight hood bump.
And keeping up with typical Acty fashion, the new generation received a new engine that went on to produce a total of 52 horsepower and 45 ft. lb of torque from an inline-three gas engine. In addition, all trim levels except for one were available with the popular four-wheel drive option. Due to increased demand, Honda even introduced version called the “Acty Attack” version, which was the basic work truck with the four-wheel drive option and a lockable differential. This trim was intended for farmers and other customers that worked where roads were optional.
Fourth Generation (2009-2021)
No, we can’t see into the future, but Honda did announce that they will be retiring the Acty lineup in 2021 due to Japans overly strict Kei vehicle requirements.
In December 2009, the famed automaker introduced the final version of their long-running Acty line. This time around however, it was only available as a truck as the van versions were no longer in demand. Surprisingly enough the horsepower was restricted down to 44, and the overall length was shortened as well. The good news is that there is still a four-wheel drive option available.
2018 was the 55th anniversary of the Acty, and to celebrate that Honda introduced a special version that was based on the “Town” trim and added their own touch on it. As we mentioned above, come 2021, the Acty will cease to exist as mandatory improvements must made to all new vehicles, thus raising the cost of production, and not leaving room for any profit.
Absolutely! If you are a small business owner or someone who doesn’t need a big vehicle to get around in, the Honda Acty makes a great workhorse. The additional 4WD system means that you can go pretty much anywhere
Yes. In fact, during our vigorous research we have only uncovered very few common issues with the Acty (see common issues).
Somewhat. Since these trucks were not sold in North America, so getting spare/replacement parts can be a little tricky. The good news is that they were built in huge numbers and as more and more people are bringing them stateside, common parts will become readily available.
No. The Acty was never sold in LHD countries. Fortunately, they are small vehicles with great visibility, so driving on the right side is not difficult.
Each vehicle comes with their own set of pros and cons and we suggest doing your research and see exactly which one is right for you, but the one thing we can tell you is that the Honda Acty is far more reliable than just about any other Kei truck/microvan.
How to Import a Honda Acty
Read our ultimate guide, How to Import a Car from Japan.
Can you make this guide better? Are you a huge fan of the Acty? If so, please contact us.