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.