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Daihatsu Copen (2003-2010)

COPEN SEASON (some text hidden)


Introductionword count: 154

When shopping for a used roadster, most buyers like to play it safe. They'll look at a Mazda MX-5, an MG TF or possibly a Fiat Barchetta if they're feeling a bit adventurous. The trouble is, there's a whole lot more fun to be had if you could just broaden your view a little. Those who do a lot of city driving will often find these cars straining at the leash a bit in town, often resembling energetic dogs that just want a bit of space. Better to choose something that can take the cut and thrust of city traffic in its stride and offer the added security of a hard-topped roof. That's where Daihatsu's Copen comes in. You may never have heard of it and if that's the case, you're forgiven. It's not been a sales hit in the UK and as a result, used buyers can snap up some low mileage bargains.

Modelsword count: 7

Models Covered: 2dr roadster, 660cc, 1.3 petrol

Historyword count: 162

We have Japanese K-car regulations to thank for the Daihatsu Copen. The same set of taxation rules that brought us fun tots like the Honda Beat and the Suzuki Cappuccino have given us a car that offers the same recipe but updated for a post millennial clientele. The first K-car to be imported with a folding hard top, the Copen was a little more expensive than other cars of its ilk but some customers reckoned it worth the additional outlay for the benefits in safety and security the metal roof bestows. Introduced in June 2003, the Copen has been largely unchanged since launch. In July 2004 a Vivid limited edition model was offered, featuring red paintwork, heated cloth seats, a leather Momo steering wheel and a rear tonneau. This retailed at £12,995 on the road. The original 660cc engine was replaced in the spring of 2007 with a less buzzy 1.3-litre unit. This delivered better economy and performance, prices were under £11,000.

What You Getword count: 385

The Copen looks good value, especially when one considers that many of its customer base will be young professionals looking for a second or even third car. It may well prove a little too cutesy for some, but with only 1,000 cars imported per year, there's still an element of exclusivity about this car. You might expect said element of exclusivity to prop up residual values nicely, but the fact that the Copen has been on sale in Japan for a while and is priced from around £8,000 means that a few have reached these shores as grey imports but not in the sort of numbers to seriously undermine the car's UK valuations. Importers know that there is other fare that will sell far more easily than the quirky Daihatsu. The Copen's chassis is based on a truncated version of the Cuore hatch and it feels agreeably stiff, the seat of the pants driving position giving the little Daihatsu a genuine sports car feel, although the Momo steering wheel may be a little too large for those with prop forward thighs. The gearbox is fun to snick the lever through and overall packaging is helped by the fact that the Copen utilises a compact front-wheel drive layout. At just 3,395mm long, it is simplicity itself to nuzzle into a tight parking spot. The roof is the Copen's party piece and the car looks good with the hardtop folded or deployed. Fabricated from aluminium, it's a lightweight structure and it flips neatly up and down, courtesy of a series of electric motors, in 25 seconds. There are two catches on the header rail to flip and then a dash-mounted button does the rest. What's more, a proper metal roof makes a lot of sense in the city proving a less tempting target for knife-wielding idiots. A more basic version of the roof is offered in Japan which may well help to explain some of the price differential, watch out for imported models featuring it. The interior is nicely, if a little unadventurously, styled and features a compartment behind the seats for odds and ends. Otherwise the boot space is briefcase-sized, due to the fact that the roof 'cassette' impinges into the luggage bay. If you commit to driving with the roof up, you'll achieve more room.

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Category: Convertibles

Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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