- Daihatsu Sirion, 2007
The new Daihatsu Sirion is a totally differently proportioned car to its predecessor and more closely matches the Nissan Micra for length, width and height but with passenger space rivalling the considerably longer Honda Jazz.
For example its front and rear tracks - at 1,460 and 1,465 mm - are 65 and 60 mm wider than before. The Sirion's length of 3,600 mm is actually 95 mm shorter and even 20 mm less than the Ford Ka.
However, the wheelbase of 2,430 mm is 85 mm longer than the old model and the 1,665 mm width is 70 mm more and even 5 mm greater than the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Micra and Fiat Punto. Height grows by 100 mm to 1,550 mm - 10 mm greater than the Micra.
Especially short front and rear overhangs, a higher seating position and a gently tapering roofline provide surprising space yet cleverly mask the height.
The car looks especially wide and squat - helped by the strong swage lines over the wheelarches flowing into a protruding rear bumper. The overall effect is of a confident, well-balanced design exuding quality and solidity.
An especially impressive drag coefficient of 0.31 Cd confirms the new Daihatsu Sirion's efficiency and aids fuel economy and top speed while reducing wind noise.
As Yoshihiro Fujibayashi, Studio Leader, Styling Division, Daihatsu Motor Co, Ltd said: "We tried to give the car sculpture-like dimensions and a sense of quality. Look at the handsome, chiselled face around the headlamps, the animated and dynamic side view and the rear combination lamps integrated into the bodylines.
Impressive Interior Space
The new Daihatsu Sirion has occupant legroom and headroom from the next-size-up. Its interior width of 1,400 mm is 70 mm greater than before and 10 mm more than the Toyota Yaris.
A 590 mm seat height allows easy entry and exit aided by wide-opening doors. The rear doors, for example, open to 80 degrees.
The interior length of 1,830 mm is 20 mm more than the Yaris while the interior height is also greater than the Toyota.
Luggage space is also impressive. With both rear seats up it measures 225 litres (VDA) compared to 205 litres for the Yaris. However, with the seats folded, this rises to 630 litres - 80 litres more than the Toyota.
The new Daihatsu Sirion boasts two of the world's most efficient 1.0 and 1.3 litre petrol engines, combining strong driveability with ultra-low fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
Both offer punchy throttle response at town speeds, reducing the need for constant gear-changes, yet are especially sweet-spinning on the motorway, allowing the keener owner to exploit their eagerness to rev during brisker driving. Both are also Euro4-compliant.
All-New One Litre
The three cylinder, twin-overhead camshaft 1.0 litre is all-new and is bigger than before with a 998 cc capacity (was 989 cc), and a slightly smaller 71 mm bore and longer 84 mm stroke (was 72 x 81 mm).
This gives greater low-speed torque or pulling power, while the Dynamic Variable Valve Timing (DVVT) allows a wider spread of high-end power and low-speed flexibility.
The new 12-valve 1.0 litre's maximum power of 69.3 PS at 6,000 rpm is exceptionally high for its size, while the 69.3 lb.ft torque is also impressive - especially at an accessible 3,600 rpm. The compression ratio is 10.5:1.
Featuring compact combustion chambers and an offset crankshaft, this engine employs resin-coated pistons and low-tension piston rings for reduced internal friction.
Both head, block and even oil-pan are made from lightweight but rigid aluminium, contributing to low vibration and quietness.
Unrivalled Performance, Economy And Emissions
No rival can match the new Daihatsu Sirion 1.0 litre's performance, fuel economy and low emissions.
The top speed is a remarkable 99.4 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 13.5 seconds. Fuel consumption is an outstanding 46.3/64.2 and 56.5 mpg on the Urban/Extra Urban and Combined Cycles.
An exceptionally low CO2 emissions of 118 g/km means the car qualifies for a Road Fund Licence charge of only £75 for 12 months plus £38 first registration fee (AA band up to 120 g/km). This places it in a category largely dominated by hybrids - and the smaller Daihatsu Charade, of course.
Thoroughly Revised 1.3 Litre
The new Sirion's four-cylinder 1.3 litre engine has been thoroughly revised to provide stronger low-speed torque and a more useable power delivery in day-to-day driving.
Still featuring Dynamic Variable Valve Timing (DVVT) and twin overhead camshafts, this basic engine is also supplied to Toyota by Daihatsu for use in its Yaris supermini.
In the new Sirion's application, power is 87 PS (was 102 PS) but at 6,000 rpm instead of 7,000 rpm. Torque is the same 88.5 lb.ft but at a much more useable 3,200 rpm instead of 4,400 rpm as in the previous model.
With a compression ratio of 10.3:1, this compact, light, all-alloy engine has bore and stroke dimensions of 72 x 79.7 mm and - like the 1.0 litre - employs durable chains for its camshaft drive.
Top speed for the manual is 106 mph with the four-speed automatic only slightly slower at 102 mph. The former has a 10.9 second 0-60 mph time while the automatic takes 12.6 seconds.
Fuel economy is outstanding for both at 37.7/58.9 and 48.7 mpg on the Urban/Extra Urban and Combined Cycles for the manual and 32.8/54.3 and 44.1 mpg for the automatic. CO2 emissions are among the lowest in the Daihatsu Sirion's class at 137 and 151 g/km respectively.
World's First Self-Regenerating Catalyst
The new Daihatsu Sirion 1.3 litre features the world's first self-regenerating catalyst. This effectively extends the life of the catalytic converter, reducing maintenance costs.
It also is kinder to the environment as it keeps the catalyst 'healthier' over a higher mileage meaning the already low 137 g/km CO2 emissions do not increase as the engine becomes older.
This revolutionary technology works by providing a self-regenerating capability in the particles of the precious metal which normally degrades.
Using nanotechnology, the intelligent catalyst incorporates metallic ions of palladium, the most heat-sensitive of the metals used in a catalytic converter.
According to temperature and available oxygen, the particles turn in and out of a crystalline state therefore regenerating and prolonging the 'cat's' ability to clean exhaust gasses.
The new Sirion's suspension has been thoroughly proven on a variety of European roads and tuned for suppleness and stability.
The front employs MacPherson struts and coil springs while the rear uses the equally popular and well-proven semi-independent torsion bar system with separate coil springs. With almost vertically-mounted shock-absorbers, this reduces the transmission of road noise and makes the damping more effective.
Unusually for a small car, anti-roll bars are fitted to both the front and rear suspension, while the front suspension stroke is especially long to improve ride comfort. The front also uses ball-joints for its anti-roll bar which also enhances ride and handling.
Special features at the rear include a lengthened suspension stroke and more rigid bearings to improve stability.
To optimise fuel economy the new Daihatsu Sirion uses an electric motor for its standard power steering. This is more efficient than the conventional power-sapping hydraulic system.
However, many electric power steering set-ups are criticised for their lack of feel so Daihatsu's chassis engineers have ensured the new Sirion avoids this failing.
The result of their meticulous fine-tuning is a chassis which is absorbent, well-damped and provides reassuringly progressive body roll during brisk cornering.
Straight-line stability is especially strong and the steering self-centres well, avoiding the vagueness and lane-wander of some electric systems.
Class-Beating Turning Circle
Despite having one of the widest tracks and bodies in its sector, the new Daihatsu Sirion boasts a class-beating turning circle.
Coupled with excellent visibility and a seating position higher than the norm, parking is made that much easier - aided by rear parking sensors on SE models.
In fact, with a kerb-to-kerb turning circle of 9.4 metres, the Daihatsu Sirion is 0.4 metres tighter than the Ford Fiesta or Toyota Yaris, 0.6 metres better than the Vauxhall Corsa and a massive 0.9 metres more agile than the Renault Clio.
Top Level Safety Package
Every aspect of safety has been studied for the new Sirion with the aim of achieving 4-stars in the Euro NCAP tests.
The body was subjected to the world's most rigorous crash tests including full-on frontal and side-impact collision tests at 55 km/h, a rear impact at 50 km/h and a frontal offset collision test at 64 km/h.
In addition, the new Daihatsu Sirion was deliberately crashed against much larger cars to ensure its compatibility in 'real-life' accidents.
All main frame members are straight, joint rigidity is optimised and suspension mounts reinforced. High-tensile steel is used where needed and bonnet and bumpers are designed to lessen injury to pedestrians.
The door pillars and roof sides have special ribs which reduce possible head injury while both the brake pedal and steering wheel have been designed to avoid intruding during a frontal impact.
Standard on all models are driver, passenger and - unusually at this price - side airbags, while the front seatbelts have pretensioners and force-limiters.
The three rear seatbelts all boast three-point location plus ISOFIX for the outer belts. This gives better location for child safety seats. There are a total of five height-adjustable head-restraints.
The new Sirion's anti-lock ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes (ABS) are aided by Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). This optimises braking force according to the weight distribution of passengers and luggage.
Unbeatable Equipment Levels
There is no such thing as a 'basic' entry-level Daihatsu Sirion despite prices starting at £6,995 OTR. Every model has unbeatable equipment levels.
For example, standard for all - including the Sirion 1.0 S - is air-conditioning, a radio/CD player, ABS with EBD, power steering, four electric windows, front and side airbags and remote central-locking.
The Daihatsu Sirion 1.3 S adds, for example, rear speakers, electric door mirrors, driver's seat height adjustment, chrome interior door handles and a front passenger seat back pocket.
Extra equipment for the Sirion 1.0 SE includes alloy wheels and rear parking sensors while the Daihatsu Sirion 1.3 SE adds a pod-like rev-counter, colour-keyed exterior door handles and black window surround.
The Daihatsu Sirion also boasts highly competitive insurance groups of 4D for the 1.0 S, 5D for the 1.0 SE and 6D for the 1.3 - both helping reduce running costs.