Product Type: Daihatsu cars
Newest Review: ... car. Value for money In my opinion this car is good value for money. My model is the Charade SL and is one of the higher models. It... more
Member Name: adam_d
Advantages: Cheap to buy, cheap to run. Good standard spec. Fun to drive. Extremely reliable.
Disadvantages: Early models had some driveshaft problems. Fair bit of body roll during cornering.
I've had my Charade 1.0 EL for a while now, and have to say that it is a brilliant, underrated little car.
In terms of practicality, the car seems tiny from the outside, especially when parked alongside other "small" cars. Inside, it is like a Tardis, with plenty of space for 4 adults. As equipment goes, it's no high tech machine, but comes well specced, with twin airbags, front electric windows, electric mirrors, power steering, central locking and a CD player.
The boot isn't the biggest around as you'd expect, but is more than enough for a couple of bags of shopping, and the seats are easily dropped. The rear bench literally can just be popped out if needs be. It also has a feature I can't remember seeing before, which is that the doors open at 90 degrees to the car when opened fully, making entering and exiting the car easier.
Reliability wise, there are no faults with the car, it feels solid, and doesn't feel as if there are going to be any faults. Has never had any advisory on any past MOTs either. During the last winter, even though it spent 6 weeks without being started due to me being ill, it started first time with no fuss, and still has the original 5 year old battery.
Running costs are where this car really shines. I frequently manage 55-60mpg, and once managed an average of 75mpg on a trip with a mix of motorway and town driving. Tax is £30 a year, so can't go wrong there. This is my first car, and the insurance is about as low as I could find. Servicing costs are also good, and consumables such as tyres and windscreen wipers are also very cheap.
The way the car drives was the biggest surprise for me. With the tiny little 1.0 liter engine I wasn't expecting much, but as the car is so light, it never feels underpowered, and doesn't even feel stressed by hills. The gearbox is nice and smooth, with a satisfying sort of "squidge" feeling between gears, and the engine itself is very quiet. You can tell it's a 3 cylinder, there is a small vibration at idle, but other than that, it's fantastic, very quiet.
It is also really fun to drive, with it being so small it handles like a go kart. The engine is very rev happy, and the pulls well throughout the rev range. It does tend to understeer when pushed hard, and has a bit of body roll, but that's not really what it was designed to do. When driven normally, it is comfortable and very easy to drive. If you need a cheap reliable runaround and don't want to sacrifice fun, this car should definitely be on your list.
The car also has a 4-star Euro NCAP safety rating, and has features designed to minimise the impact of low speed collisions, such as impact absorbing bonnet hinges. It does however, tend to be knocked about by strong winds on motorways, due to the light weight and flat sides.
All in all, the Charade is a fantastic little car, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Summary: A fantastic car not many have heard of. A cheap, fun, reliable runaround.