Daihatsu is the oldest car manufacturer operating in Japan, and it is perhaps for that very reason that they have yet to fold, like so many other car companies have done. There are strong incentives to keep the company up and running; however, in past decades Daihatsu has found far more business in Tokyo, where its compact, boxy cars are ideal on crowded city streets, than it has elsewhere in the world. Still, there are plenty of people who own and enjoy their Daihatsu vehicles, and the Daihatsu YRV is a particular favourite.
A drawback for many consumers with the Daihatsu line is the fact that they have ceased their operations in many markets across the world, including Europe, citing the fact that they have experienced major losses in the past several years due to the comparable value of the Japanese Yen to other currencies across the world. The company did end its operations here in 2006, so there are no new options available for these vehicles, and though they are relatively cheap to buy, the difficulty in finding parts may make consumers rethink whether or not they want to purchase one of these cars, especially since the Daihatsu YRV was itself only produced from 2000 to 2005.
Unlike other Daihatsu models in the line, the car company listened to the needs of foreign car buyers when designing this vehicle. It is a little less boxy and a little more stylish, which means it’s a little bit more popular among the average car consumer. While it is not necessarily fun to drive, it is certainly efficient, though the power provided by its small engine leaves a little room to be desired. The wedge shape means it’s not only stylish on the exterior, but roomy on the interior. There’s a lot of space to stretch out for both driver and passengers.
It is not, nor does it attempt to be, a vehicle that is fun to drive. Daihatsu has a long history of modelling their car line on the idea of efficiency, only offering 3 or 4 models to consumers, many of which are only available in Japan. The Daihatsu YRV pushes the idea of efficiency even further in its attempts to be a small car with extra room on the interior and extra height for added visibility on the road. The result is a car that is relatively comfortable. It offers a decent if not powerful drive, and that, overall, is difficult to complaint about — and equally difficult to praise.
All in all, the Daihatsu YRV is a small car that has tried to stray away from the typical small car features, and it has succeeded relatively well.
The Daihatsu YRV engine is a little underwhelming. They come standard with a 1.3L, 4-cylinder engine that also provides double overhead cam shafts, fuel injection, and variable-valve timing. With power of 64kW at 6000 revs and torque of 120Nm at 3200 revs, drivers will not feel much of the boost in their drive, but the engine itself runs smoothly, and it is a relatively quiet ride. Important to note is that about 90 per cent of the peak torque in this car is available to the driver from around 2000rpm, so that may enhance the driveability of the car somewhat. All in all, the engine performance is not terrible, but it is nothing special either.
Daihatsu is a car company modelled on an ideal of efficiency, so perhaps it is not surprising that what you see is pretty much what you get when it comes to the Daihatsu YRV. The equipment was relatively up to date among vehicles that were being released in the early 2000s, with a CD player coming standard on all models up until the line was discontinued here.
There is only one trim level available, so every car that is on the market right now will have the same kit unless the previous owner made additional improvements after their purchase. Some models do come with the Daihatsu all-wheel drive system, called 4trak, and there are automatic transmission options available which include a built-in ‘steer shift’ function.
The biggest competitor to the Daihatsu YRV is the Toyota Echo in a hatch trim. It has the same efficient size as the Daihatsu YRV, but it’s a little bit more stylish and, more importantly, there is a whole lot more to offer with the engine. The Toyota Echo is a hatch that has been popular with drivers since it first hit the market, and it’s not difficult to see why. The 1.5-litre engine with cam shafts and fuel injection has 80kW at 6000 revs and 145Nm at 4200 revs, giving it an edge on the Daihatsu YRV. And more importantly, the Toyota Echo hatch is still in production, which means that older models that can compete with the Daihatsu YRV on price are available as well as newer models that can offer a little bit more reliability and easier access to parts that may be needed for repairs.