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Car reviews - Daihatsu - Sirion - 5-dr hatch

Our Opinion

We like
Value, equipment, engine performance
Room for improvement
Automatic transmission, driving dynamics, premium unleaded, refinement

10 May 2001

DAIHATSU launched the all-new Sirion in July, 1998. The diminutive four-door marks a return to form for previous baby-car leader Daihatsu.

Cute and fresh describes the inspired, upright design of the quirky Sirion.

Toting an all-new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, twin cam, multi- valve engine that sings its heart out, a well stocked equipment list and a low price tag, Sirion is an understandable sales success.

Dual airbags, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pretensioners and frontal offset and side impact beating bodywork are standard. Anti-lock brakes are optional.

Plus, in a crash, the doors unlock, the hazard flashers activate and the fuel supply is cut.

Inside there are two vanity mirrors, electric windows front and rear, power door mirrors and plenty of storage bins. A height- adjustable driver's seat and rear speakers are about all you will miss.

The hatch lifts to reveal a wide, surprisingly spacious boot, complete with a space-saver spare stored under the cheap-looking boot carpet.

The dash is functional and quite nicely laid out. Seats are covered in office chair-issue cloth bearing a snazzy if restrained pattern.

If the interior is a little more downbeat than the exterior, the levels of fit and finish lift the spirits.

But the test car's build quality was suspect with a multitude of squeaks, rattles and groans when under way. Body rigidity may be suspect because the front doors creaked every time the car was accelerated from a standstill.

The gearbox also whined intrusively - particularly annoying when the constant thrum of the busy, gutsy, three-cylinder engine was factored in.

The apparently paltry 40.5kW peak at 5200rpm and 88.3Nm at 3600rpm is enough for the Sirion to buzz around effectively in town. At 800kg all up, it is little wonder.

The ride is pretty good - the long wheelbase helps - and the steering is direct although the Sirion is not a class-leader for straight-line stability as it is easily nudged off line by bumps and lumps in the road. At parking speeds the weight of the non- assisted steering also becomes noticeable.

Overall, the Sirion is a spirited Japanese baby car that oozes value and charm. It is not perfect but if you stay in town, it is probably all the car you will need.

- Automotive NetWorks 05/07/1999

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