5
A vast improvement over its predecessor, but the standard in the class has been raised so it still faces a battle to prove a compelling buy
28 April 2006

What is it?

The Daihatsu Terios is a stylish SUV that is environmentally friendly, or so Daihatsu claims. The Terios offers not only the lowest exhaust emissions in class, but a combined fuel consumption figure of 35.8mpg – pertinent for buyers, particularly in this political climate.

This should make ownership of this new soft-roader no more than expensive than running a small hatchback.

What's it like?

We have already driven the Japanese version named the Be-go, but this is our first drive in the UK-ready Terios, which differs by having no hill-descent software but a revised suspension set-up. And it rides impressively at low speed, with firm damping quickly limiting intrusions.

It doesn’t have the agility of a supermini and understeers in tight corners but the body, helped by the larger track, stays flatter and lurches a lot less than the old car. The hydraulically assisted steering has weight but there is still very little feel.

This 1.5-litre SX model on test, with these two-tone wheel-arch attachments as standard, will be the biggest seller until a diesel variant (Toyota’s 1.4 D-4D) arrives late next year. Above 5000rpm, the four-cylinder’s thrashy note infiltrates the cabin, and relays some pedal vibration, but it pulls well enough. The five-speed maunal 'box is direct, if not a little slushy, and there is minimal driveline shunt for a permanent 4WD powertrain. A locking differential assists progression off-road but is ultimately hindered by poor ground clearance.

Back on bitumen, the raised viewpoint, wheel-at-each-corner stance and super short overhangs have created a car that is easy to navigate without sacrificing functionality. There is ample space in the back with split-fold rear seats, and a side-hinged door to access the boot.

Admittedly, that spare wheel cover is about as fashionable now as black ash furniture and the interior design may feel a little flat compared with the architecture outside, but it’s a solid cabin.

Should I buy one?

It’s worth considering. The new Terios betters its predecessor in every way, but it’s also about £4000 more expensive, and keenly priced competitors, such as the Fiat Sedici await.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run