Daihatsu Copen Convertible review (2004-2010)
Cute isn't it?
Cute isn't it? Built to satisfy Japan's Kei class regulations concerning city cars the Copen is a bit of dinky-sized fun from Daihatsu. Look at it in profile and there's more than a hint of mini-TT about the Copen's styling, though with its folding hardtop convertible roof it's clearly been influenced by Mercedes' SLK roadster, too. Under that bonnet sits a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine, replacing the original, highly-stressed 660cc turbo. It’s quicker yet more relaxed - mate this to the snappy, positive gear change and you've got quite an entertaining package. In fact it's a hoot to drive. Whether you're slotting it through impossible gaps around town or buzzing down a country road there's never a dull moment. It's not all smiles though: motorways are a pain as it's noisy, the ride jiggles at speed and passing lorries look worryingly large.
The interior is a touch sober, especially compared to the exterior, and space is very tight if you're even slightly bigger than average too, the comically large steering wheel not helping here. That does limit its appeal somewhat, but if you're prepared to put up with the squeeze it's a fun car. It may be small, but it has surprising storage space, is easy to park, inexpensive and well specified. Air con, alloys and an electric hard-top are all standard. If you're looking for something a bit different and a bit frivolous, you might just have found it.