Micro Macho Terrios
Sydney Morning Herald
Friday March 14, 1997
Daihatsu is shrinking the 4WD style-wagon ... even further.
This pint-sized, off-road flavoured five-door Daihatsu four-wheel-drive will go on sale in Australia in about June. It was discreetly revealed, wearing a badge that said MS-X97, at the Geneva Salon de l'Auto last week.
The official story in Switzerland was that the MS-X97 was a concept car, something whipped up in Daihatsu's design department and designed to gauge public reaction. Despite this, it was clear the micro-macho machine was ready for volume production.
When it's launched mid-year in Australia, it will likely wear a badge that reads Terrios. Seriously. What's next? Kevios? Waynios?
The Terrios is less than four metres long and looks taller than it is wide, because it is. Its length is closer to a short-wheelbase three-door Toyota RAV4 than the five-door. While the Terrios is substantially narrower than the RAV4 - which means shoulder room is likely to be tight - the Daihatsu is fractionally taller.
A clue to the Daihatsu's scale is that the tyres, which look quite large, are on 15-inch wheels.
Daihatsu claims that Terrios manages the Tardis trick of being larger inside than it looks from the outside. The little Daihatsu claims almost as much room in its cabin as a vehicle from the class above, a segment now dominated in Australia by the RAV4.
Petite dimensions help keep its weight to little more than 1,000 kg. It helps that the Terrios is built more like a car than a heavy-duty off-roader.
Terrios is powered by the same 1.3-litre four-cylinder as the Charade. Power peaks at 61 kW, impressive for its capacity. If in the future more power is required, the Charade's more powerful 1.5-litre engine will fit.
Like the RAV4, the Terrios will do without the additional low-range gearbox found in big, heavy duty off-roaders. Instead it has very low first gear for when the going gets really slow and steep. The Daihatsu has a simple full-time 4WD system.
Negotiations continue on price, but commonsense dictates a price tag in the vicinity of $20,000. Smaller and cheaper than anything else delivering a similar blend of off-road looks and car-like behaviour, the Terrios seems set to create a brand-new market niche.