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Daihatsu slips new Sirion into showrooms

Saviour: all-new Sirion is expected to be Daihatsu's top-seller, priced from $15,490.

Daihatsu's all-new Sirion looks a tastier morsel in thelight-car corral

25 Feb 2005

THE national media launch of Daihatsu’s crucial new-generation Sirion light car was aborted this week after Australian Design Rule-related issues held the five-door hatch on the side of the road.

These issues, relating to access to a child restraint tie-down point, have not held back deliveries to dealers around the nation, however, and the car will be available for sale as intended on March 1.

The new Sirion will be a vital new entrant for the Toyota-backed brand, the sales level for which has sunk to around 5000 per annum in recent years as nameplates such as Rocky, Applause, Feroza and Delta have disappeared and cars like YRV, Terios and indeed Sirion have failed to win admiration en masse.

While the Charade mini has had a positive influence on sales, this all-newSirion, which represents Daihatsu’s first joint-venture development with Toyota, will have its work cut out for it.

Priced from $15,490 – $4000 clear of Charade – the hatch will go head-to-head with Suzuki’s Swift launched last week and other formidable entrants in the cut-throat light-car segment including the Getz, Barina, Fiesta, Jazz, Rio, Echo and Mazda2.

Two models are offered, SX and Sports, and both come with air-conditioning, dual airbags, electric mirrors, remote central locking, driver’s seat height adjustment, four-speaker CD stereo, 14-inch wheels (on 175/65 series rubber) androadside assistance for 36 months.

Anti-lock brakes, front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length curtain airbags and a tachometer are included in a $1980 package for SX, while Sports models have the ABS and tacho fitted standard along with alloy wheels, front foglights,‘sport’ headlights, ‘sport’ rear combination lamps, colour-coded doorhandles and, for the interior, chrome doorhandles.

The side and curtain airbags are available for $1650 on Sports.

Both models use a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine featuring variable valvetiming and delivering 64kW at 6000rpm and 120Nm at 3200rpm – much-improvedfigures over the outgoing model’s 40kW/88Nm 989cc three-cylinder engine, thoughdown 11kW from the former 1.3 Sirion GTVi.

A five-speed manual gearbox is standard and a four-speed automatic available for another $1500.

Fuel consumption on the ADR 81/01 test standard reads 5.8 litres per 100km for the manual version, which has a kerb weight of 965kg.

Other than boasting improved visual appeal, the all-new Sirion has an improved drag coefficient of 0.31Cd – down from 0.36 on the previous version and said to be a contributing factor toward lower fuel consumption and wind noise.

73 center imageThe suspension has been redesigned, though the basic configuration of MacPherson struts up front and a semi-independent torsion beam axle at the rear remains.

A new vehicle-speed-sensing electric motor is used to assist the rack and pinion steering, while the turning circle is 8.6 metres. Front brakes are234mm diameter discs, with 180mm drums used at the rear.

Resting on a longer 2430mm wheelbase (up 85mm), the new Sirion has an increased track front (1460mm, up 65mm) and rear (1465mm, up 100mm) and its larger dimensions have liberated more interior room to the tune of 105mm in length, 110mm in height and an extra 70mm in width.

All five seating positions have a heightadjustable head restraint and lap-sash seatbelt, the rear outboard belts have an automatic locking retractor and new front seat design and material aim to reduce the likelihood of fatigue.

Modifications to the structure are further claimed to improve refinement and crash protection. Drivers are handed a three-spoke steering wheel with step-less height adjustment, the seat trim is black on both models and more than adozen storage locations are included in the cabin, including four cup holders and two bottle holders.

The rear bench reclines as needed, has a 60/40 split and can be folded-down flat.

The SX model is expected to make up 80 per cent of sales.

2005 Sirion pricing:
Sirion 1.3 SX (m) $15,490
Sirion 1.3 SX (a) $16,990
Sirion 1.3 Sports (m) $17,990
Sirion 1.3 Sports (a) $19,490

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