Nissan Figaro and Daihatsu Copen

* Funky yet frugal convertibles * Consider a used curious Kei car * We review the choices...

Nissan Figaro and Daihatsu Copen

Nissan Figaro
Produced '91
Engine size 987cc Turbo
Power 75bhp
Economy n/a
Size 3740mm x 1630mm
Used price range 3000-11,000

The retro Figaro is bigger than a typical Kei car, but still maintains a compact size and shape. It's a two-seater, came only as an automatic, and was available in four pastel colours. Nissan produced 20,000 Figaros in the single year it was on sale, and the car proved so popular that potential buyers took part in a lottery for the chance to buy one.

The Figaro was never officially sold in the UK, but enjoys cult status, and there are usually a good number for sale. It's also still possible to buy recently imported cars, as some dealers import and restore Figaros to order.

Daihatsu Copen
Produced '03-present
Engine size 1300cc turbo
Power 86bhp
Economy 47.1mpg
Size 3440mm x 1495mm
Used price range 4400-13,000

This modern interpretation of the Kei car is only just bigger than the Beat or Cappuccino yet, because it's a current model, you can still buy new and used examples.

Despite this, there aren't as many for sale as you might imagine, although they can sometimes be found at car supermarkets, as well as at franchised dealers. Ex-demonstrator models are also sometimes available.

As it's newer, it should feel more refined than the older alternatives, and it comes with a clever folding metal roof as standard. It should also prove more reliable than other Kei cars, and franchised dealers will be able to carry out maintenance work.