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I was looking for a good value, sub - £2K car after vandals had recently written off my girlfriends previous car. The obvious Ford KA's, Corsas and puntos came up but to be perfectly honest they aren't very good (I have 3 years experience as a motoring journalist) I stumbled upon the YRV when I was looking for a Toyota Yaris (which just ended up out of my price range)
The YRV has the same brilliant 1.3 Toyota engine and gearbox as the Yaris so you can rest assured that the heart of the car is pretty bulletproof. The interior of this car is funky although the materials used are cheap (This is value car after all). The driving position is quite high so you have a great vantage point of the road ahead.
The car is both frugal and nippy, a pretty rare combination. Drivability therough the rev-range is excellent as the car pulls smoothly from 2.3k reves in any gear.
Quite a car of idiosyncrasies.
The angled design is all about angles because if you catch it from one angle (i.e. side) it looks young, sporty and refined (alloys, rear spoiler, angled lights) but from another (i.e. front) its boxy, unstable and pensioner-suited. From a third angle (the back) people genuinely believe it is an MPV with its generous height and individually lit number plate and roof line.
I'm in the young category that was supposed to put the Y in YRV and I liked the design (for the price) but seeing pensioners in the same model soon wore thin and the fragile front-on view sometimes gives me a scare! Nonetheless it has turned heads more than any other unmodified car I've had at this value and in continuing with the idiosyncrasies, while the exterior might provoke some debate, the view of the inside was unanimous.
Everyone who has ever been in my YRV loved it. The space is staggering and the rear 'stadium seats' (raised with extra leg-room) are repeatedly described (no prompting on my part) as the most comfortable back seats ever, combined with the glass panoramic roof (extra) made for a really incredible passenger view and experience that drew comment again and again, often with reference to the car costing far more than I bought it used, which is always flattering.
For the used price the extras are also unbeatable, all windows and mirrors are electric and full air con is brilliant, which also prompted surprised comment from four six footers enjoying the space and features on the long-haul down to the surfing towns of North Cornwall. However while passenger ride is always positive, the idiosyncrasies extend to the driver. First impressions are good with a nice driving height but comfort levels for the driver soon wear thin.
I found the possible seating positions became frustrating after time and after long journeys you appreciate not sitting in the car. The ride is also hard and whether this was deterioration or the general suspension design, but I didn't feel like many shocks were absorbed by anyone other than me - over every bump in the road! However, I accepted all that for some of the performance benefits I noticed like the understated acceleration and healthy sounding progress at top speeds on motorways. The car doesn't struggle with fast as much as you might think it would, and though fast cornering doesn't seem natural, next to my previous Fiat Punto, the YRV is certainly very willing.
Running costs are almost excellent, okay the parts tend to be slightly more expensive but you can offset that against it being much rarer to need them - until I got a YRV I thought going to the garage 3-4 times a year (Fiat Punto) and paying out over miscellaneous problems was the norm. Fuel consumption seemed quicker than expected given the green-car credentials but that might have been due to driving at speeds and it's to the cars credit there was no trade-off from faults and repairs given such usage. It just kept on going no matter how much I pushed it all summer and all winter.
If you take the whole package into account from the drive, to performance, to running costs to interior functionality and passenger experience, to exterior design (last but not least of course!) I am certain I could not have got a better car for the price so if you're young and on a sensible used budget that doesn't involve long-term credit, this is the most-fun, quirkiest-design and best spec you'll get pound for pound. The value is outstanding and can make someone spending many thousands more jealous. However if your ONLY concern is the drive and handling (and you have no mates... sorry passengers) or desire for functional comfort, then look at more mainstream hatchbacks (and pay more!)
Finally, just to reference one specific remark in several buyers guides, I also had a persistent water leak (the only problem I ever had with the YRV) so this must be a problem with these cars. It can be very demoralising to find the cabin full of water (I have some horror stories - one after being away for a week) but bail it out, put the heaters on and get over to your nearest Daihatsu-approved dealer. Their customer service is excellent and mine at least now know where to find some of the harder to find problem seals! Check obvious roof and door seals yourself before buying!
Whilst my own car was in for repair, I was given a Daihatsu YRV as a courtesy car, to be brutally honest it sucked big time! The YRV (Young persons Recreational Vehicle) is aimed at the Audi A2 or the Mercedes A-class market, from my own experience with the YRV their aim is way off! YRV spec. The car I was given was the range topping 1.3 16 valve premium trim YRV with ABS, Air conditioning, Alloy wheels and remote central locking. The ?Premium trim? is anything but premium, I have never seen a new car with so much plastic on the dash, door trim and anywhere else they could mould it on to. The dash has a horrible pebble dash type plastic covering it. When the sun was shining the pattern, (if you can call it that), on the dash reflected onto the screen making it a distraction and therefore a hazard for safe driving. The door trim was of the same pattern and very brittle, glove compartments on the doors were mean to say the least, I don?t have particularly large hands but I had a hard job retrieving anything I put in the compartment on the drivers door. There is a nifty wee drinks holder just in front of the gear stick which pulls out and is just right for holding small bottles of juice or cans. The driver?s seat was comfortable but lacked enough adjustment for me to get into my preferred position. You can raise or lower the seat by means of turning a knob on the side of the seat and the back rest goes back and forward by means of a lever, even with the back rest at its most forward position I still felt like I was leaning too far back to be comfortable. The rear seats can be moved forwards and back to aid leg room and to make the boot space larger. The boot was exceptionally small; anyone with a toddler would be hard pushed to get a buggy into it without putting the rear seats as far forward as they will go. The floor of the boot has two plastic trays which fold out flat when the rear seat is folded forward for lar
ger items to be accommodated. I found that when I put some shopping in the boot the plastic floor made the bags slide about no matter how carefully you placed them. The driving. The YRV actually handles quite well, the power steering was responsive and light, braking was sharp and effortless. The engine sounds quite loud but lacks power for nipping up hills and steep driveways (and boy is my driveway steep! it?s like a Disney ride and the kids love it when I drive down it at speed). Fuel consumption was rather heavy for such a small engine, I haven?t got official figures but compared to my own car (which has the same size engine) if seemed to fairly drink the petrol. Motorway driving was smooth enough although if you wanted to overtake you really had to build up to it before committing yourself. Wind noise was very noticeable at speed and at times drowned out the radio. The whole feel of the car when driving could only be described as ?tinny?, there were lots of rattles and knocking from various places. When the windows were wound down they rattled alarmingly. Good points The YRV does look quite good, in an ugly trying to be something it?s not way. About town it is nippy and functional (except if you want to use the boot for shopping) The seating position is quite high giving you good all round vision. Gear change is good. The moveable rear seats are a good idea and rear leg room is good for a car of this size. It has ABS. It has Air conditioning. The Alloy wheels looked good. Bad points Very cheap and nasty looking fascia and trim. The clock is small and nasty. Very noisy at speed. Seat adjustment limited. Poor quality finish to fixtures. Fuel consumption seemed heavy for engine size. Boot is extremely small and has plastic floor. I was glad when the garage called today to say my own car was ready, I was even happier when they de
livered my car home and took the YRV away for me, it saved me driving it back!