Used Daihatsu Terios 1997 - 2006 review

Category: Small SUV

A nice idea but it leaves a lot to be desired

Daihatsu Terios (97 - 06)
  • Daihatsu Terios (97 - 06)
  • Daihatsu Terios (97 - 06)
Used Daihatsu Terios 1997 - 2006 review
Star rating

What's the used Daihatsu Terios 4x4 like?

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.


A nice idea but it leaves a lot to be desired

  • Probably the cheapest car with 4x4 style
  • The cabin is narrow, and the Terios' ride and handling are well below par

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.

Ownership cost

What used Daihatsu Terios 4x4 will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Daihatsu Terios 4x4?

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.

Our recommendations

Which used Daihatsu Terios 4x4 should I buy?

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.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Daihatsu Terios 4x4?