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Daihatsu Sirion (1998 - 2005)

SUITS YOU, SIR-ION (some text hidden)

BY ANDY ENRIGHT

Introductionword count: 109

Someone needs to have a word with Daihatsu. With the Sirion, they upset the applecart by offering a car priced and marketed as a supermini, but as big as many of the cars in the next class up. That sort of behaviour will not endear them to Seat Arosa, Nissan Micra and Volkswagen Polo owners. Getting more for your money is a used car motto, and on this basis, the Sirion looks like an interesting buy. It's certainly an individualist proposition. With its vaguely retro styling and strong fuel consumption showing, a used Sirion is worth looking at if low budget, stylish urban transport is on your shopping list.

Modelsword count: 17

Models Covered: 5dr hatchback 1.0 petrol [Base, +,E,Deluxe,EL,SL] / 1.3 petrol [EL,SL,F-Speed,4trak] / 1.3 Rally [Rally2, Rally4]

Historyword count: 208

The Sirion is one of those cars that probably shouldn't exist. Daihatsu has a small car range that includes the Cuore and Charade models, not to mention the Grand Move micro MPV for those who need more room. Finding a gap in this product range is a tricky prospect indeed, but find one they did. The Sirion was introduced in June 1998 as a model more spacious than a Cuore but still offering the benefits of the three cylinder 1.0-litre engine. In fact, with all of the niche models in their range, the Sirion is probably the most mainstream item, competing head on with its supermini rivals, at least on price. Upon launch, the range consisted of a base model and a Sirion+, with added equipment. The range then remained to all intents and purposes unchanged until October 2000 when a revised E and EL trim structure was introduced for the 1.0-litre version and a new 1.3SL version added at the top of the range. This had the option of clever F1-style gearchange controls. In mid-2002, the line-up was facelifted and smartened up inside. A 4-wheel drive '4trak' model was added to the range, as were hot hatch 'Rally2' and 'Rally4' variants. A new Sirion arrived in 2005.

What You Getword count: 325

The Sirion is so stylish it's debatable as to whether the effect was intended or accidental. There are 1950s industrial Japan design cues all around the car, with so much that is noteworthy and interesting. The stretched headlamps give the car an appearance of its hair being pulled back, and sit over a trim chromed bumper. This tapers off to a point along the Sirion's flank, guiding the eye back to the kicked-up bustle tail. Not even the Ford Ka could rival the Sirion for cafe society cool. All it needs to complete the look are some stylish wheels and a funky old-school colour scheme, like orange or lime. Equipment-wise, the Sirion makes a good case for itself. Both models have power steering, twin airbags, electric mirrors, an engine immobiliser and headlamp levelling, itself a rare feature in cars of this class. The Sirion+ adds side airbags, air conditioning, central locking and electric rear windows. Anti lock brakes, a four-speaker stereo, 14" wheels and tyres and a roof spoiler also mark the Sirion+ from its more humble sibling. Despite offering more space inside than many of its rivals, the Sirion is still quite a tight squeeze for five passengers. Four is a more realistic prospect, and even then, taller passengers will have to sit splay-kneed. Front seat comfort is aided by the standard fitment of adjustable seat belt anchors. This also helps prevent 'submarining' - the action of slipping under the belt in the case of an accident. Safety is a big feature of the Sirion range, especially so with the Sirion+. As well as its ABS, twin front and side airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners, the Sirion+ is also fitted with side impact beams, a door release system which unlocks the doors in an accident and also brake assist. This is a system which was pioneered by Mercedes, helping to apply maximum and prolonged pressure to the braking system if it detects a panic-braking manoeuvre.

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Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Small Runabouts

Performance
40%
Handling
60%
Comfort
70%
Space
40%
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