The Daihatsu Pyzar, best defined as a compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) or people mover, was made available by the Japanese automaker from 1996 to 2002. A paragon of practicality and comfort, the Pyzar was popular both in Japan and abroad. The MPV’s body was based on the chassis of the Charade, also made by Daihatsu. The Pyzar was built with a rather unusual layout, and featured a 50/50 split folding bench seat in the rear, making it technically a 4-passenger vehicle. When this rear seat was folded down, the Pyzar had loads of interior space for luggage or equipment. Designed as an urban vehicle meant to carry heavy loads, the Pyzar accomplishes just that. The highly functional and reliable Pyzar is a great choice for anyone looking for a vehicle that blends form and function.
There were two generations offered by Daihatsu over the Pyzar’s 6 years of production. The original car was launched in 1996. Then, after 3 years on the market, the car got a makeover for the 1999 model year. This newer generation featured slight body alterations as well as a slightly more powerful engine under the bonnet. This second-generation Pyzar sold from 1999 to 2002, when the Pyzar was phased out of the Daihatsu line-up. A few years later, Daihatsu exited the market, gracefully bowing out after facing years of declining sales. However, many Pyzars can still be found in good condition on the used car market today, and they are prized for the impressive practically they offer combined with their small size.
Over the years, both generations of the Daihatsu Pyzar offered above-average safety features and standard kit. The handling and drive of the car are surprisingly smooth for being so boxy, and the car drives best in cities and suburbs. High seating and ample interior space offer comfort for 4 (or possibly 5) passengers. However, keep in mind that the Pyzar will not perform as well when laden with passengers and luggage. The high, square roof provides ample headroom. The car is generally reliable and durable, with many safety features standard. However, without proper maintenance and oil changes, Pyzars tend to break down often, so it’s important to look for a good maintenance record and test the car thoroughly before buying a Pyzar on the open market.
The Pyzar features a front engine, front-wheel drive FF layout with a transverse engine. The car was offered with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic transmission. A full-time all-wheel drive option was offered only in the Japanese domestic market, but may be able to be found here. During the first generation of Daihatsu Pyzars offered, the car featured a 1.5L V4 engine. The engine had an output of 66kW and 119Nm.
Then, in 1999 the car got a facelift and several small mechanical improvements. This second-generation Pyzar featured a 1.6L V4 under the bonnet with 67kW of power and 126Nm of torque. Both versions can be found today quite inexpensively on the pre-owned car market.
Standard equipment on early Daihatsus included central locking, power mirrors, and roof racks. Upmarket trims in this first generation added two-tone metallic paint along with alloy wheels. Both versions of the first generation came equipped with dual front airbags and seat belt pretensioners. In addition to the already impressive safety features, the Daihatsus were equipped with special technology that enabled the cars to unlock the doors and activate the hazard lights in the event of a collision.
In the second version of the Pyzar, power steering, electric side mirrors, cloth trim, 4-speaker AM/FM radio cassette, rear window wiper/washer, a digital clock, and rear folding seats all came standard in addition to the standard kit found in the original cars.
The Daihatsu faced some serious competition in the people mover segment. For example, the Hyundai Trajet, though larger than the Pyzar, still competed against the Daihatsu among the consumer base. The bigger Trajet featured a 2.7L V6 engine with an output of 131kW and 245Nm of torque.
Another multi-purpose vehicle that competed against the Pyzar was the Starwagon from Mitsubishi. The Starwagon featured a wide range of engines, including a 2.0L V4 version with an output of 78kW of power and 158Nm of torque. Both of these vehicles were larger than the Pyzar, which was among the only compact MPVs available on the market, and specially designed for manoeuvrability.