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Daihatsu Terios 2004 Review

The conspicuous lack of buttons and lights is soothing and doesn't seem to detract from the comfort of driver or passengers.

There are no tricks here. What you see is what you get. This little ripper could be more aptly called the Terrior: feisty, compact, reliable and ready to take on anything.

Terios is the baby of the 4WD brigade – both in size and price. It is in constant all-wheel-drive mode and proper 4WD is available at the flick of a switch. While I didn't get off-road with it, the constant rain in my driving week made even car parks almost a 4WD challenge – one the Daihatsu was well up to. I subjected the Terios to my usual weekly run of work, school and shopping, and added a few surprises to see how it handled itself. I was a little nervous taking such a small car on the Southern Expressway to Noarlunga but the trip proved I had little to worry about.

I felt no vulnerability and cruising at 110km/h was no effort for the engine – apparently the same used in the Toyota Echo. Dual airbags and side cab protection add to the feeling of safety.

And on the safety side, there are some nifty additions. If you crash, the fuel is automatically cut off, any locked doors are immediately unlocked and the interior and hazard lights activate.

Travelling with four people was a little challenging but only in terms of storage for a pram and all the subsequent paraphernalia. Like my weekly shopping, this was wedged into the modest rear storage but at least it couldn't all fall about the place – it was packed tightly.

The mysterious omission in this car is the cup holders. This is the first new car I've driven in the past two years of reviews that has no cup holders. While it's probably due to space restrictions, I can't say it was a great loss – just a curiosity. The absence of any other storage up front, apart from the glove box, was also a bit odd.

However, I was grateful for the absence of beeping warning signals for reversing, seat belts, keys in ignition and so on. There's no chance of backing into anything in this little space miser. Oh, the joy of parking in normal parking spaces with plenty of room to alight on either side.

However, I did find I was parallel parking about a metre from the kerb regularly as I adjusted to the Daihatsu's little frame.

The back seat is perfect for two. Three kids would be a squeeze and two large adults might rub shoulders.

This is not a big family car and doesn't pretend to be.

While there are a few more mod cons I wouldn't have minded, such as remote central locking, I was not inconvenienced by the Terios's back-to-basics approach.

It perhaps illustrates that many of the extras on pricier new cars are just that – complicating our lives unnecessarily.


Price $23,000


This is a low-fuss, low-frills terrier of a vehicle that doesn't pretend to be anything more or less.


Storage, please. There's nowhere to put CDs, drinks, coins ... anything.

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Range and Specs

DX (4X4) 1.3L, ULP, 5 SP MAN 4X4 $2,200 – 3,520 2004 Daihatsu Terios 2004 DX (4X4) Pricing and Specs
SX (4X4) 1.3L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO 4X4 $3,190 – 5,060 2004 Daihatsu Terios 2004 SX (4X4) Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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