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Daihatsu Charade 1993 Review

The new Daihatsu Charade is a budget beauty in the small car market.

When it was introduced a few months ago, the five-door Charade CS cost less than $15,000 before on-road costs. Now, thanks to the strong yen, it is not far away from $16,000.

But the Charade is not on its own. It was not so long ago that this sort of money bought bigger cars such as the Ford Laser, Toyota Corolla/Holden Nova or Nissan Pulsar. However, today you will have to pay over $20,000 to get even the cheapest versions of these Japanese-based cars on the road. If your budget will not stretch this far, and a compact car is adequate for your needs, you should seriously consider the Charade.

It is powered by a 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine which is largely carried over from the previous model, but with significant changes. More than half the fuel-injected engine's components have been re-designed and it includes revised cam profiles and intake arrangement. With four valves per cylinder, it develops more than enough power and torque to shift a car that weighs less than 850kg in the no-frills CS guise.

Getting the most out of the engine through the five-speed manual gearbox means keeping the revs high, but that does not mean you will be forced to wear ear muffs. Daihatsu has made noticeable improvements in the sound deadening, with the cabin surprisingly well insulated from engine and road noise.

Steering is better and, despite the lack of power steering, you don't need super-human strength to slip into parking spots. The Charade's handling and good adhesion encourage the driver to push hard, and it eventually develops understeer which can be easily controlled by the throttle. A good balance between handling and comfort comes from the MacPherson strut suspension. Fuel economy is a strong selling point for the Charade, with the manual CS averaging 7.5 litres/100km during a week's driving.

Inside, the driver's seat needs a longer squab to support the thighs properly, especially over longer distances. Rear-seat passengers have good legroom for this size of car, but the luggage area behind the hatch is small.

The CS price does not include power windows or electric adjustment for the external mirrors. But, overall, the Charade has more appeal than most of its rivals.

Daihatsu Charade

ENGINE: 16-valve, single overhead camshaft, 1.3-litre in-line four-cylinder, electronic fuel injection. 55 per cent of parts are newly designed, with revised cam profile and intake arrangement.
POWER: 62kW at 6500rpm, torque 105Nm at 5000rpm. Increased torque at low and medium revs, and higher geared top gear.
SUSPENSION: Independent by MacPherson struts with stabiliser bar at rear. Reduced steering effort for cornering, improved feel for straight driving.
BRAKES: Front discs, rear drums. Standard in this price range.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: Average 7.5 on test. 50-litre tank gives range of 600km+ highway driving.
PRICE: $15,945. (Auto $17,810).
OPTIONAL EXTRAS: factory air $1657, metallic paint $200.

Pricing Guides

$3,080
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$2,090
Highest Price
$4,070

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CS 1.3L, ULP, 3 SP AUTO $2,310 – 3,630 1993 Daihatsu Charade 1993 CS Pricing and Specs
CX Luxury 1.3L, ULP, 3 SP AUTO $2,640 – 4,070 1993 Daihatsu Charade 1993 CX Luxury Pricing and Specs
ST 1.3L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,640 – 4,070 1993 Daihatsu Charade 1993 ST Pricing and Specs
TE 1.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,310 – 3,630 1993 Daihatsu Charade 1993 TE Pricing and Specs