Daihatsu Copen
Daihatsu Copen

Every home should have one of these - if only as a pet!

Since its launch in 2004, the diminutive and delightful Daihatsu Copen has won hearts and minds all over the place, to the point of attaining cult status. This cute little two-seater is capable of putting a smile on the face of the unhappiest person and, a search on a well-known online auction site, will show that such is their following, that some examples are still fetching somewhere near the original selling price.

And that makes the pricing of the new car something of a surprise. Originally, the Copen was powered by a 3-cylinder 660cc petrol engine, which is slightly bigger than my motorcycle. It had to be this way as part of the Japanese Kei-car or Keijidosha regulations, which limit physical as well as engine size. The latest (1998) regulations stipulate that the car can be no more than 3.4m in length and 1.48m wide because of restricted parking space, especially in Tokyo. Furthermore, the engine has to be less than 660cc and produce no more than 64PS

In the early days, Daihatsu Vehicle Distributors Ltd, the UK importer, managed to persuade Daihatsu to make the small, turbo-charged engine European Vehicle Type Approval compliant; the rest as they say, is history.

Small though the engine was, the Copen was fun, cute, responsive and with impressive performance. But not content to leave it at that, Daihatsu made some changes when it came to the second generation Copen, launched last year (2007). The main difference is that a new power unit has been shoe-horned into the tightly packed engine bay. It is a 4-cylinder, 1.3 petrol engine and the idea behind its introduction was to appeal to a broader spectrum of customers who might have been put off by the smaller engine.

For the technically minded, this unit is much the same as that used in the Daihatsu Sirion and features Dynamic Variable Valve Timing (DVVT) with a twin overhead camshaft and chain-driven cams, providing low speed pulling power and a high-rev response but the main benefit is that it lowers emissions and improves fuel economy.

It produces 87PS at 6,000rpm and 120Nm of torque at 4,400rpm, which is an improvement of 19PS and almost 20Nm. The top speed has increased to 112mph and the 0-62mph time is now 9.5 seconds rather than the previous 11.7seconds.

Published : 28/08/08 Author : Melanie Carter

Daihatsu Copen News

This is a 16-year+ news article, from our Daihatsu archive, which dates back to the year 2000.

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