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Daihatsu Applause (1990 - 1996)

APPLAUSE FOR THOUGHT? (some text hidden)


Introductionword count: 160

The Japanese have long been clever lateral thinkers. Adept at taking an undeveloped concept and spotting the potential for leveraging a big profit they seemed onto a winner with the Daihatsu Applause. Market research had shown that hatchbacks sold cars due to their versatility, but many buyers wanted the security of a boot. Daihatsu came up with an ingenious solution. The Applause looks like a saloon, but pop the rear 'bootlid' and you'll find it stretches up to the roofline, making the car something of a stealth hatchback! Others have since realised that this was a neat trick, take today's Skoda Octavia for instance. The Applause never received much of an ovation with UK buyers and you may have more luck discovering the Ark of the Covenant, the Chinguetti meteorite and Lord Lucan's car keys before you find an example in your preferred colour, condition and trim level. Nevertheless, as a used buy, it's certainly not run of the mill.

Modelsword count: 10

Models Covered: 3/5dr hatchback, 1.6 petrol [L, Xi, GXi, GLXi]

Historyword count: 134

When the Daihatsu Applause first hit these shores in 1990, the reception wasn't so much lukewarm as absolute zero. Why would the British public want a rather oddly proportioned hatchback masquerading as a saloon when the Rover 200, the Peugeot 309 and the Ford Escort were vying for their attention? There were two versions launched, both with Daihatsu's 16-valve engine - at the time quite an advanced piece of machinery. The 1.6L used a carburettor, whilst the 1.6Xi was fitted with fuel injection and a catalytic converter. The injected version developed 105bhp and 99lb/ft of torque. In 1993 the carburettor version was dropped, the range then consisting of two mechanically similar models, the GXi and the plusher GLXi. The Applause soldiered on in this form until chronic buyer apathy finally asphyxiated it in 1996.

What You Getword count: 226

If you like grey plastic, the Applause will be your idea of motoring nirvana. Despite boasting an advanced engine, the Applause harks from a time when Japanese interiors resembled the last memory of a man trampled by a bull elephant. Greyout everywhere, with only some rather bland upholstery to break up the visual sterility. Whilst the feng shui may have been slightly wonky, there couldn't be too many problems with the Applause's practicality. The driving position lacks adjustability but this isn't too much of a problem because it's very good in the first place, and the low waist line of the car gives an airy feeling and helps visibility. Headroom is, as expected, fine all round, but taller passengers won't want to spend much longer than it takes to develop cramp in the back of the Applause. The Applause GXi was fitted with colour-keyed mirrors, electric windows and mirrors, central locking, a rear spoiler and an adjustable steering column. Steady now. The GLXi added some cross spoke alloy wheels, body coloured door handles, a rear wash/wipe and an RDS stereo cassette, which together would be worth the additional £75 in most people's book. Some owners will have plumped for the optional air conditioning on this model, but they're so few and far between that being choosy could mean no round of Applause for quite some time.

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Category: Compact Family Cars

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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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