July 14, 2024

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Transforming Japanese micro-camper optimizes space like a world wonder

We continue to be amazed by how much functionality Japanese kei camper builders can squeeze into the tiniest vans on Earth. Oka Motors takes it to yet another level with its recently remodeled Miniature Cruise Cozy. The ingenious indoor/outdoor layout transforms in several directions, enabling a 134-inch-long Suzuki Every van to transport, feed, clean and sleep up to three occupants. The cabin-filling bed converts into a dinette and sofa, and the long, slim kitchen block extends in width to create a bunk bed, supporting everyone from solo digital nomads to small adventurous families.

We’ve seen the Suzuki Every feature in a camper van conversion before, and we were impressed when that converter managed a very simple single-sleeper with some light sports gear storage and little else. Oka Motors has stepped up to make the Every a full, truly “Cozy” two- to three-sleeper camper, without even adding on a pop-up roof. It started the revised conversion by eliminating one of two rear seats to clear room for new camper equipment, giving the van three-person capacity on the way to and from camp.

The Suzuki Every only measures 340 x 148 x 190 cm (L x W x H), but Oka Motors makes the most of every square inch

The Suzuki Every only measures 340 x 148 x 190 cm (L x W x H), but Oka Motors makes the most of every square inch

Oka Motors

With the extra space left by the removed rear seat, Oka is able to give the Cozy the long, driver-side kitchen block it previously lacked. It makes that kitchen a critical multifunctional element in pulling the entire cabin design together.

The kitchen block looks simple and traditional enough at first glance but packs some extra capabilities thanks to multiple slide-outs and expansions. The block runs the length of the rear cabin with help from a flip-up counter extension up front. It sets campers up with a long countertop and under-counter microwave, providing hinged hatch door access to a rectangular sink and an 18-L top-loading fridge box.

The Miniature Cruise Cozy includes an 18-L fridge that can be accessed from inside or out

The Miniature Cruise Cozy includes an 18-L fridge that can be accessed from inside or out

Oka Motors

But the Cozy kitchen is not merely a kitchen. The flat, level countertop doubles as a 69.7 x 22-in (177 x 56-cm) loft bed with help from the flip-up cabinet faces on either side of the microwave and a few drop-in side support panels. Top it with an inflatable sleeping pad, and it’s a cozy extra bed. At under 5 ft 10 in long, taller folks will find their feet dangling off the end, but it’s a cozy option for those who measure shorter than that cutoff.

The kitchen block runs most of the length of the cabin with help from a flip-up extension

The kitchen block runs most of the length of the cabin with help from a flip-up extension

Oka Motors

The loft bed isn’t the only bit of slide-out trickery on the kitchen block. Hop outside the van around the tailgate, and the fridge slides out for quick outdoor access. Below the fridge slide, a second drawer stores the loft bed expansion panels and doubles as a worktop for holding the portable gas stove. The multipurpose dining table can also attach to the outside of the fridge slide to create a side table or tailgate dining area, keeping drinks stable with its sunken cupholders.

The sofa-bed is just as multifunctional and convertible as the kitchen. Using its multi-cushion design, campers can create a long passenger-side sofa with backrest, good for general relaxing, eating or doing some remote-office work while using the counter as a desk. Flip the two large cushions around and they become dining benches on opposite sides of the removable table that clings to the kitchen block. Tilt the cab seats forward and the rear cabin can be filled out with all the cushions, becoming a 71.6 x 33.5-in (182 x 85-cm) bed.

The dining table becomes a side table with the cushions rearranged into a lengthwise sofa

The dining table becomes a side table with the cushions rearranged into a lengthwise sofa

Oka Motors

The bed probably stretches the definition of “double” a little too far, even for a Japanese kei camper, so it might be difficult to call the Miniature Cruise Cozy a full-blown three-person camper. Older Miniature Cruise Cozy models had a proper double bed that stretched the full width of the van. Still, the main Cozy bed could probably sleep a parent and a young child, allowing the van to accommodate the entire family of three. Or the lower bed could just serve as a single, working with the loft bed to sleep a pair of buddies on a hunting/fishing/biking/camping trip, no need for them to share a bed.

It looks like the main Miniature Cruise Cozy bed could fit a petite couple (very cozily), but it would be better for a single person or perhaps parent and child

It looks like the main Miniature Cruise Cozy bed could fit a petite couple (very cozily), but it would be better for a single person or perhaps parent and child

Oka Motors

The rear Miniature Cruise Cozy sofa frame houses the dual 85-Ah battery setup and 1,500-W inverter, and buyers can upgrade to a 200-Ah lithium battery. Oka does not offer a toilet option as far as we can tell (there are limits to how much you can stuff into an 11-foot-long tiny van, after all), but the kitchen sprayer pulls out the driver-side sliding door to double as an outdoor shower.

Oka introduced the remodeled Miniature Comfort Cozy in February. Its website lists base price at ¥3,272,500 (approx. US$28,275). The 4WD model starts at ¥3,404,500 ($29,425).

The 13-minute video below is in Japanese, but it provides some helpful footage showing how the various Miniature Comfort Cozy components work with someone on board.

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Source: Oka Motors (Japanese)