For example, Urban/Extra Urban and Combined returns are 35.8/50.4 and 44.1 mpg compared to the Ford’s 26.6/44.1 and 35.8 mpg.
The Copen’s CO2 figure is 151 g/km against the StreetKa’s 189 g/km – meaning a company car tax liability of 16 per cent versus 23 per cent for 2004-2005.
However, many buyers will be more enchanted by the Copen’s cute looks. For others, its cool exclusivity will clinch it as annual sales are expected to be under 1,500 units. Enthusiasts, meanwhile, will be seduced by the Copen’s agile, involving handling and perky performance.
Initially intended for domestic production only, the diminutive Daihatsu was first seen in the UK at the 2002 Birmingham International Motor Show. It proved such a crowd-puller that 1,500 potential customers expressed an interest. This enthusiasm persuaded Daihatsu in Japan to investigate its export potential.
Largely thanks to the perseverance of Daihatsu’s UK management, the Copen is now being exported in right-hand drive form only to such diverse markets as Australia and Germany.
Disarming Looks With A Charming Party-PieceThe Copen’s disarming, cute looks perfectly express its fun image, with a rounded, teardrop design, minimum overhangs and oval front and rear lamps.
Its cockpit is especially inviting and intimate without being cramped. In fact, despite qualifying as an official Japanese mini-car (K-Car), the Copen has ample interior width and space for those exceeding six feet in height.
The Copen’s major ‘party-piece’, of course, is an electrically-operated folding hard-top – very similar to that on a Mercedes SLK – offering excellent security and weather protection.