Daihatsu Copen
Daihatsu Copen

On the face of it, the vital statistics don’t come across as impressive but the secret is in the size and weight, at just 850kg, the Daihatsu Copen feels faster than the figures suggest and the revised gearing of the snappy, short-throw, 5-speed manual ‘box makes the most of what is available.

With the larger engine, fuel consumption has improved by 3mpg for the combined measurement and is now 47.1mpg. The urban cycle is 36.7mpg and the extra-urban is 56.6mpg, while emissions have fallen from 151- to 140g/km.

But here is the surprise, while the power unit grew in size the price was reduced by £2,500. It has however, since risen a little to £11,495 on the road. There are no engine options or trim levels - the Copen is simply the Copen but there are a good few optional extras available.

The test car, for instance, was in metallic silver, which adds £350, Recaro seats add £895 and the Leather Pack (bright red in this case), comprising leather-covered and heated seats, matching leather door panels and handgrips on the MOMO steering wheel is an extra £500. The standard seats are of a similar sports style with integrated headrests but are cloth covered.

Standard features include, air-conditioning (how much do you need in a roadster?), electric windows, a rear wind deflector, a heated rear window, front fogs, lockable glove box and armrest console and a single CD/RDS radio with a removable face. The sounds are good but there are more options available including Satellite Navigation units.

Part of the Daihatsu Copen’s appeal is the shape. This tiny car looks, for the most part, the same from the front as it does from the back. The shape and size of the bonnet, fog lamps and headlights are echoed at the rear with the trapezoidal front grille being replaced by the same shaped rear number plate, sitting above the twin tailpipes. The most noticeable new addition is a small rear spoiler.

Despite being small, the cabin is not too cramped even with the roof up and there is ample scope for a six-foot tall driver behind the rake and reach adjustable steering column. However, being a roadster, it is all about the roof and the Copen’s electrically controlled hard-top folds away in just under 20 seconds, in a similar manner to that of the Mercedes-Benz SLK. Speaking of which, during the test, the Copen’s seemingly universal appeal was illustrated when a SLK driver pointed at the car, grinned and gave a thumbs up. Now, that doesn’t happen every day!

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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