Mitsubishi has launched the second-generation eK Space and eK X Space kei cars in Japan, and it goes on sale alongside the eK Wagon and eK X models that were introduced this time last year. This is essentially a rebadged Nissan Roox with a Dynamic Shield face, or basically a shrunken version of the Nissan Serena.

As implied in the name, the two new debutants offer better cabin space thanks to their raised roofs. Both four-seater variants measure 3,395 mm long, 1,475 mm wide, 1,780 mm tall, and a wheelbase of 2,495 mm. That’s a 140 mm increase in height over the standard eK Wagon and eK X, while the optional roof rail adds another 20 mm.

On the outside, the eK Space gets halogen reflector headlights, dual sliding doors, 14-inch wheels, and six exterior colours, plus three more dual-tone colour schemes. Features include hands-free sliding doors (works by kicking the underside of the car), revealing an entry point that’s 650 mm wide.

For rear passengers, the rear bench slides up to 320 mm, and the floor-to-ceiling height is 1,400 mm. Mitsubishi says this amount of space allows children to change clothes while fully standing, which is cheeky yet impressive at the same time. The automaker also claims that the eK Space’s rear legroom is class leading, and on top of that, there are rear blowers with Sharp’s plasma cluster technology.

Depending on the variant, the cabin comes with water-repellent fabric upholstery for the seats, passenger seatback tables, convenience hook, touch controls for the air-conditioning system, leather-wrapped steering wheel with push-start button, paddle shifters, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

The sportier, crossover-esque eK X Space wears the full Dynamic Shield corporate face, and even comes with adaptive projector LED headlights, skid plates, dual-tone alloy wheel design, and a rear spoiler. The exterior colour palette is more extensive, featuring seven monotone colours, and six dual-tone colours, including this Olive Green metallic with white roof and black roof rails.

The interior specification equipment is pretty much the same here, but the upholstery material is more premium to reflect its upscale appeal. Fabric seats are standard, but more expensive models get a synthetic brown leather/fabric combo with red contrast stitching.

Now, for powertrain options, both models are powered by an electrified 659 cc three-cylinder petrol engine, which is available as a naturally-aspirated or turbocharged version. The NA unit makes 52 PS at 6,400 rpm and 60 Nm at 3,600 rpm, whereas the boosted mill makes 64 PS at 5,600 rpm and 100 Nm from 2,400 to 4,000 rpm. Both engine options are assisted with an electric motor that generates 2.7 PS and 40 Nm of torque, but this is mainly to help the kei car with accelerations.

A seven-step continuously variable transmission is standard (range-topping models get shift paddles), as are features such as electric power steering, engine start-stop function, variable valve timing, battery assist system, and energy recuperation system. There’s no performance figures, but just keep in mind that both cars teeter around the one-tonne mark.

In terms of safety, Mitsubishi’s My Pilot safety suite is available for more expensive variants, and it comes with adaptive cruise control and lane keeping function. However, standard features include collision prevention assist, lane departure warning and lane departure prevention, automatic high beam, automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, as well as front and rear cross traffic alert.

Each of the eK Space and eK X Space is available in three variants, with prices starting from 1,399,200 yen (RM56k) to 1,859,000 yen (RM75k). Prices exclude options and accessories. Since launch, Mitsubishi said it has received over 5,000 orders, of which 65% chose the eK X Space, and the remaining 35% went with the eK Space. Do you like the way they look?

GALLERY: 2020 Mitsubishi eK X Space

GALLERY: 2020 Mitsubishi eK Space