Utmost Serene and Scything Calm the Farmer Fells the Green

 I miss Daihatsu. They withdrew from the European market a few years ago after offering a suite of small and interesting cars which few really liked.


There are a few importers of Japanese-market cars in Dublin which is why one can find rarities like this vehicle and, sometimes, unrecognizable saloons slipping past in the distance. I planned to drive the 4 km from my south central Dublin base to a dealer just over the river Liffey so I could enlighten loyal DTW on the topic. After 15 minutes of driving I gave up and turned back: I could foresee the trip turning into a 2.5 hour road battle. Driving in Dublin is appalling.


This pleasant vehicle is the second generation Terios, launched in 2006. Daihatsu didn’t go mad on the engine front: a 1.5 litre petrol engine powered the 2wd and 4wd versions.


In 2006 Car magazine ran a Q&A review which is barely worth reading. The RAC were more charitable: “The Daihatsu Terios isn’t the most obvious of compact 4×4 choices but its compact shape and good ability both on and off-road make it a desirable option. It’s certainly not a gas guzzler and if you like the look of 4x4s but don’t want to be plagued by environmentalist do-gooders telling you what you should be driving, the Terios is a good compromise.” Perhaps more usefully they say “Body roll in the bends has been successfully curbed and on the flat, you shouldn’t be reaching for the travel sickness pills. It’s one of the few 4x4s that you’d take for a drive on tarmac just for the fun of it.”  In a sense this is the same formula as the Nissan Juke.

The Terios is a very neatly and consistently styled car. The headlamp and bonnet and front wing arrangement deserves especial praise. It seems as if the lamp is a natural element and works without seeming to force a strange cut-out. Mercedes could have used the rear window and side glass on their execrable M-class. This car is a fine design delivered by a marque from which nobody expected it.


Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

10 thoughts on “Utmost Serene and Scything Calm the Farmer Fells the Green”

  1. Diahatsu had a cracking kei car import in the Charade of 2004 that had the punch of an old Mini Cooper while being roomier even though of similar length plus it was eminently more comfortable and civilised.
    At six foot two I could easily sit behind myself with leg room to spare but the kei car size restrictions dictated it be a four seater due to its narrowness, an advantage when carving through congested areas.
    I once remember someone tailgating me in this scenario when they had to pull an emergency stop realising the gap was too narrow to procede! Ah the joy of a car not much wider than a big bike with panniers.
    The Charade had a Jewell of an engine for such a low end car with features like variable valve timing, 4 valves per cylinder, efi, ohc’s all in a sub 1 litre triple capable of reaching 60 in ten sec and topping out at 100.
    It was refined and quiet with a compliant ride while being adorned with various luxuries such as electric power steering, windows and locking, fell into the lowest emission class and returned around 60mpg, what more could one ask?

    1. That all sounds admirable which means I’d have to get over the appearance which I find chibbling. Could I suggest a compromise, the 2000-20005 YRV which manages an original and pleasing appearance and many of the endearing features you refer to? It had a 1.0 and a 1.3 litre engine (with and without a turbo), 2wd or 4wd and manual or auto transmission. I saw one in Austria, come to think of it. Production ceased in 2005.

  2. A compromise too far for me as I never particullary liked the YRV plus I think it has a four cylinder not the triple I favor that is more efficient especially in the lighter weight kei package.
    I never liked the older Charade either, only the finely honed and chiseled kei version near the end of production which was shockingly quick to reach cruising speed because of low weight, good aero and that engine, it really was a surprising package to behold. Yet another Diahatsu product I tested for approx 6 months was the Move, another kei class product that was innovative but didn’t impress in the dynamics department.

    1. The Grand Move and Move, the Charade, YRV, Sirion, Terios: what do we see here if not a company boiling with a creativity in direct proportion to the constraints of small car production. The self-exile of Daihatsu from the EU market can only be regretted. At least one in ten who bought a boring Corsa, dull Fiesta or dreary Clio might have found life more enjoyable with a Daihatsu or Suzuki. Daihatsu needed better marketing; the product were often gliny smart.

  3. As mentioned in an earlier thread, I am a fan of this Terios, a really coherent design that meets the brief spot on! Thanks for covering it.😁

    1. You are welcome. Isn’t very precisely sufficient? The degree of designiness is in proportion to its scale. If a big name brand had offered something like this it’d have been a showroom hero.

  4. I am more impressed with Richard’s remarkable ability to work out of his south central Dublin base in somewhere that is not Copenhagen in Denmark than in this entirely forgettable CUV. Perhaps this ability is reflected in the article tag line: “I miss Daihatsu. They withdrew from the market … (due to) cars which few really liked.” Kind of like Slewzuki here after patron GM hopped in the toilet bowl and flushed itself away in 2008. But Daihatsu is a Toyota property so will soldier on regardless.

    1. Bill: Generally my stamping ground is Jutland. I originated in Leinster, though and so periodically visit the Strumpet City. This photo dates from February, a treasure I have saved up to tide DTW over the arid summer months.

    2. The nerve of some people. Arid summer months? I think the word you’re searching for Richard is fecund. A veritable treasure trove, I might go so far as to offer. Honestly!

    3. Eoin: naturally I was not referring to DTW being arid; it is as prolific and richly informative as ever. The aridity I had in mind related to summer weather which is drier and warmer than, say, winter. I regret wholeheartedly any repulianity or confusion caused.

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