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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For It's very cheap, and has an excellent reliability record

Against A few cars have had suspension problems, and some competitors offer a better drive for even less money

Verdict It's reliable and cheap to buy and run, but you are better off looking elsewhere

Go for… Five-door versions

Avoid… Auto gearbox

Daihatsu Cuore Hatchback
  • 1. Be wary of any cars for sale with brand-new tyres fitted. The seller may be disguising problems with the wheel alignment
  • 2. There's a good amount of head- and legroom all round, but only room for two in the back
  • 3. Before you buy, check for uneven tyre wear, which could show up wheel alignment problems
  • 4. Cheap materials make the cabin feel very low-rent
  • 5. The three-cylinder engine is fine around town, but a bit stretched at higher speeds
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Daihatsu Cuore Hatchback full review with expert trade views

There are better city cars out there for similar cash. The Daewoo Matiz is a far better car to drive than the Cuore, and the Hyundai Amica costs less. However, the Cuore is still a decent all-round package.

The space inside isn’t bad – there’s a good amount of head- and legroom, although shoulder room is tight, and squeezing three passengers into the back is impossible. Cheap materials make the cabin feel very low-rent, too, but on this sort of car you can’t expect much more.

The car drives well enough if you stick to urban roads – there’s enough power around town and the car's size makes it easy to exploit gaps in traffic. Take it out of town, though, and it feels floaty over dips and crests, and you'll feel every pot-hole only too obviously in the cabin.

However, running costs are as affordable as most competitors', and the Cuore has a good reliability record.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

One of the cheapest cars to own. Reliable but bland

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There’s only one engine available. The three-cylinder, 1.0-litre petrol unit gives a modest 54bhp, which is fine for zipping around town. And, even when you take it out of the urban jungle, it’ll just about keep up with motorway traffic, provided you don't come across any steep hills.

Early cars didn't have specific trim levels as such, so the only choice was between three or five doors. We’d recommend the five-door version because it gives easier access to the rear, and it gets power steering, central locking, electric windows and a split-folding rear seat which the three-door doesn’t.

The Cuore was face-lifted in 2002, and these later cars gave more choice. Three-door versions were offered in E trim, with twin airbags and an immobiliser, or in EL, which added power steering and a better stereo. Five-door cars came in SL trim, whose spec was pretty much identical to the previous five-door car.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Not many around, but Cuore+ 1.0 is the best for retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru

A used Cuore will be among the cheapest cars of this age that you can buy, and for good reason when it’s this basic. It has to be said, though, that some competitors offer more car and more kit for less money.

Running costs are very competitive. Early cars will return an average of 53mpg, which is pretty good for the class, and post-face-lift examples improve on this slightly. This is slightly better than you’ll get in a Daewoo Matiz, and is far superior to the Hyundai Amica.

Your insurance costs will depend on the age of the car. Older models are in group 3, but the facelifted cars are in group 4. Either way, it’s still fairly cheap.

Servicing costs aren’t as competitive, though. Although your Cuore will cost less to maintain than the Amica, you’ll pay considerably more than Matiz owners do.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

One of the cheapest cars to own. Reliable but bland

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The Cuore is a little car with a big reputation for reliability. Provided that it is serviced every 12,000 miles, the Cuore should prove pretty much bullet-proof.

Only the suspension causes problems on a semi-regular basis, but if you check for uneven tyre wear (a classic sign of suspension problems) when you buy, then you should be fine. Also, be wary of any cars for sale with brand-new tyres fitted.

Daihatsu also issued one recall on the Cuore, which affected all cars built in 1998 and 1999. It was possible that the horn and, more worryingly, the headlights could fail in a sudden and unexpected manner because of a fault on one of the electrical circuits. Preventative work was carried out free of charge by Daihatsu, but check the service history to make sure it has been done.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Not many around, but Cuore+ 1.0 is the best for retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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