Automotive

Transforming Japanese micro-camper optimizes space like a world wonder

Transforming Japanese micro-camper optimizes space like a world wonder
The Oka Miniature Cruise Cozy has a unique bunk bed layout that uses the kitchen as a sleeping platform
The Oka Miniature Cruise Cozy has a unique bunk bed layout that uses the kitchen as a sleeping platform
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Under-frame storage space
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Under-frame storage space
The Miniature Cruise Cozy includes an 18-L fridge that can be accessed from inside or out
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The Miniature Cruise Cozy includes an 18-L fridge that can be accessed from inside or out
The cushions and removable table easily arrange into a vis-a-vis dining layout
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The cushions and removable table easily arrange into a vis-a-vis dining layout
A width expansion piece turns the kitchen block into a loft bed for one person
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A width expansion piece turns the kitchen block into a loft bed for one person
The dining table becomes a side table with the cushions rearranged into a lengthwise sofa
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The dining table becomes a side table with the cushions rearranged into a lengthwise sofa
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
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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
The sofa can be a dining area, work space
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The sofa can be a dining area, work space, entertainment lounge and more
The kitchen block runs most of the length of the cabin with help from a flip-up extension
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The kitchen block runs most of the length of the cabin with help from a flip-up extension
A hinged lid exposes the sink, which includes a pull-out sprayer that works as an outdoor shower
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A hinged lid exposes the sink, which includes a pull-out sprayer that works as an outdoor shower
Miniature Cruise Cozy campers can use the cushions to make a dining bench with or without cushioned backrest
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Miniature Cruise Cozy campers can use the cushions to make a dining bench with or without cushioned backrest
The kitchen includes an under-counter microwave, a set of shelves and an overhead cabinet
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The kitchen includes an under-counter microwave, a set of shelves and an overhead cabinet
The fridge slide-out provides easy outdoor access
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The fridge slide-out provides easy outdoor access
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In redesigning the Miniature Cruise Cozy for the 2022 model year, Oka eliminated the fourth seat to make room for its larger camping equipment set
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In redesigning the Miniature Cruise Cozy for the 2022 model year, Oka eliminated the fourth seat to make room for its larger camping equipment set
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Suzuki Every kei vans await conversion at Oka Motors shop
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Suzuki Every kei vans await conversion at Oka Motors shop
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
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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
A look at the Oka Miniature Cruise Cozy's 182 x 85-cm bed
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A look at the Oka Miniature Cruise Cozy's 182 x 85-cm bed
The Oka Miniature Cruise Cozy has a unique bunk bed layout that uses the kitchen as a sleeping platform
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The Oka Miniature Cruise Cozy has a unique bunk bed layout that uses the kitchen as a sleeping platform
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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

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

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

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

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

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)

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1 comment
1 comment
tokyotea
If you watch the video, the man who is doing the demonstration says he is 170cm (5'7") tall. I'm a 182cm (6'1") tall foreign owner of a foreign camper van in Japan, and can testify that someone my height cannot lie down in a kei van conversion comfortably, even if I'm the only occupant and lying diagonally. Also, if you read any of the auto camping and camper van forums in Japan, kei vans are well-known for having barely adequate (and usually squeaky) rear suspension that permits the van body to rock and roll around any time someone moves inside. Amorous encounters in a kei camper are rarely, if ever, kept secret from the rest of the campground.