Another day, another Daihatsu.
Daihatsu’s concept cars have been many, varied and in a good many cases, quite bonkers. Which is not to denigrate either them or the company which inspired them. Ideas they had aplenty, the real shame was that owing as much to their straitened circumstances as a lack of corporate nerve (perhaps), much of the invention and wildly creative thinking never particularly manifested itself in production form.
As you can see, today’s subject isn’t one of the more outlandish concepts from planet Osaka, but it’s fairly interesting nonetheless. Daihatsu called it the D-Compact X-Over when they presented it on the motor show circuit in 2006. Fairly unremarkable looking I hear you say and frankly I’m not sure I’d necessarily disagree, but not only is it a concept I have never seen before, it appears to contain elements of other designs – although who influenced who is perhaps a matter of conjecture.
That it was styled in conjunction with Ital Design in Turin is immediately apparent in the vehicle’s taut forms and planted stance. Intended as a replacement to Daihatsu’s unloved (and arguably unlovable) YRV model, the compact crossover concept was powered by their 1.5 litre petrol unit. The cabin was a cheerful looking spot, trimmed in brown suede and orange patent leather, while chrome accents lent the instruments a more ‘high-end’ feel.
Here’s what Daihatsu had to say in 2006: “Based on the concept of ‘harmony with nature’, the D-Compact X-over was created jointly by Daihatsu and Italy’s Italdesign led by Giorgetto Giugiaro. This new concept crossover vehicle from Daihatsu features a glass roof that extends from the edge of the windshield to over the rear seats, a front end that is pleasant and friendly in appearance, and a sleek, flowing side silhouette.”
Leaving aside the nonsense regarding harmony and nature, what is notable is the reference to friendliness – what car manufacturer would dare speak in such terms now? On the subject of that front end, I see elements of Chris Bird’s 2003 Fiesta and its 2007 Mazda 2 sibling. But apart from the more sculptural surfacing in the flanks, what I’m seeing more than anything else is Volkswagen’s Up, the first concept of which was shown the following year and quite frankly, if Giorgetto hadn’t a hand in that car, I’m having everyone’s hat for tea.
A production version of the X-Over didn’t materialise, which appears to be either a missed opportunity or the fact that someone else took the basic theme and ran with it. Either way, I think it’s rather… harmonious?