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What Car? says

1 out of 5 stars

For Probably the cheapest car with 4x4 style

Against The cabin is narrow, and the Terios' ride and handling are well below par

Verdict A nice idea but it leaves a lot to be desired

Go for… Terios EL/Tracker

Avoid… Terios SL/Sport

Daihatsu Terios 4x4
  • 1. The cabin is very narrow - two people side by side will rub shoulders
  • 2. Ensure the coolant has been checked regularly. If not, there could be problems
  • 3. Exhausts can perish after just 18 months if the car is used primarily for short trips
  • 4. The boot is tiny - if you want to carry anything of any size, you need to fold down one of the rear seats
  • 5. The ride is very choppy on anything but the smoothest surfaces
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Daihatsu Terios 4x4 full review with expert trade views

In theory, the Terios sounds sensible: real off-road style in a city-friendly package. And, while that much is true, it falls down in many important areas.

For a start, its size is a problem – the cabin is horribly narrow, and two people next to each other can’t help but rub shoulders. To make matters worse, the boot is tiny. So, if you want to carry anything of any size, you need to fold down one of the rear seats, making the car a three-seater.

If you thought that was bad, things get even worse when you start driving. Performance is pedestrian; the ride is dreadfully choppy on anything other than a perfectly smooth road and the combined assault of road, wind and tyre noise makes long-distance, high-speed trips hard to bear. A small consolation is a tight turning circle and some ability off-road.

Trade view

John Owen

This is what happens if you boil-wash your 4x4

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Throughout the Terios’ life, it only ever had one engine. Originally, it used a 1.3-litre unit from the Charade supermini, but after the October 2000 (00/X-reg) face-lift, it was replaced by a new 1.3, based on the Toyota Yaris’. While it’s still no ball of fire, it’s far more refined, stronger and a little more economical.

Before the face-lift, there were just two trim levels: Terios and Terios +, and we’d stick with the cheaper, basic car, although the air-con, alloys and extra safety on the Terios + may be tempting. However, if you’re buying a 2000 car, check the equipment carefully. From January 2000 to the face-lift, air-con became just an option on the Terios +.

After the face-lift, the trims were base E, EL and SL, and we prefer the middle option. The range reverted to two models – Tracker and Sport – in April 2003.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Old model has to be Terios+

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Although limited availability keeps used prices for the Terios quite high, it remains one of the very cheapest ways into a 4x4. Its most obvious rival is the Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin, but the Daihatsu is a much cheaper buy in the used market.

For fuel economy, too, the Terios looks a much better bet, especially if you buy a face-lifted model, as its engine returns 36.7mpg on the combined cycle, which is much better than both the Mitsubishi and the Kia Sportage.

For insurance, the Terios is the cheapest of the three, and while its routine maintenance costs are on a par with the Sportage’s, it’s much cheaper than the Shogun Pinin’s.

Warranty Direct tells us that repair costs on Daihatsus are no more costly than average, and that dealer labour rates are among the very lowest.

Trade view

John Owen

This is what happens if you boil-wash your 4x4

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Daihatsu is a small-selling brand, and the Terios one of its smaller sellers, so finding out exactly how the car behaves is tricky. Warranty Direct tells us that, in its experience, the engines are very strong, but that the coolant needs checking regularly and that exhausts can perish after just 18 months if the car is used primarily for short trips.

On the plus side, no recalls have ever affected the car and that Toyota Yairs engine should prove extremely reliable.

Lastly, if the owners’ reviews at whatcar.com are anything to go – almost unanimous praise for the reliability – buyers should have nothing to fear.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Old model has to be Terios+

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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