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Car reviews - Daihatsu - Charade - TE 1.0 3-dr hatch

Our Opinion

We like
Pleasant, economical, durable
Room for improvement
Thrummy 1.0 three-cylinder noise, no performance powerhouse, bland styling

7 May 2003

DAIHATSU has long specialised in small cars and the Charade has been its mainstay since released in 1980.

The Charade has always been marketed as a functional and economical small car, rather than a fashion statement.

It built a reputation for reliability and sales gradually increased during the 1980s and early 1990s.

The G200 generation was launched in mid-1993 in three and five- door hatchback styles with 1.3-litre engines.

The Charade TE three-door hatch with 1.0-litre engine was released several months later to complete the model line-up.

The new model was a much improved car in many areas, including better front and side crash protection and being slightly larger inside than the superseded model.

Competition kept the new price down to bargain basement level so the TE comfort and convenience equipment is minimal.

Standard features are limited to an AM/FM radio/cassette, cloth trimmed seats and a heated rear window. Cost-cutting to match the Charade's rivals meant some "essentials", such as remotely adjustable rear view mirrors, were not fitted. Options were limited to air-conditioning and metallic paint.

A special edition model, the Toscana, was introduced in mid-1995 with more upmarket front seats and a better sound system. In 1996 minor styling changes were introduced to the front and rear ends and the interior trim was improved.

The three-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine has a single overhead camshaft and a carburettor is used to deliver the fuel, instead of more expensive fuel-injection.

The result is a power output of 38kW at 5600rpm and 75Nm of torque at 3200rpm.

The TE, with its light weight of just 805kg and small capacity engine, is one of the most economical cars available in Australia. Reasonable driving under good conditions can return fuel consumption figures which almost match the AS2877 test figures.

Another Charade strong point is its reliability and low service costs due to the well proven and uncomplicated engine and transmission.

Strong competition, particularly from the South Koreans, saw the Charade slip back down the sales charts but for people who want a small, easy to park city runabout which is cheap to run and maintain, the Charade TE will fill the role admirably.

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