Track days are expensive and decent sports cars pricey to buy, insure and tax. That’s why I decided to invest in the other end of the motoring spectrum and buy myself a cheap 4x4 for off-roading at the weekends.
With an £850 budget (including insurance), my choices were limited. Vitaras are great, but slightly out of my price range, Discos too costly to insure and Fronteras expensive to run.
And so it was that I stumbled across the petite Daihatsu Terios. It’s light (1050kg), narrow (thinner than my Kia Picanto long-termer in fact) and with an 85bhp 1.3-litre petrol engine, inexpensive to run, tax and insure. Decision made, eBay provided just the car.
Okay, with 160k on the clock, my £500 Terios has been around the world almost seven times, but the engine runs without fault. It’s also MoT’d until November and taxed for another two months. What could possibly go wrong?
This weekend Autocar picture editor Ben (who owns a VW Multivan Syncro) and I drove up to the Avalanche 4x4 facility in Leicestershire to get our vehicles muddy. It would be the first time to test the Terios’ off-road prowess and I wanted it to impress.
And would you believe it, the Daihatsu lasted all of 13 minutes before the nearside drive shaft exploded after a barrage of muddy craters, tight turns and wallops to the car’s unprotected underside.
This weekend I’ll drive back up in a Disco with a trailer to recover my new friend from a farm where we towed it to. Then, it’ll get new driveshafts, new mud boots (the road tyres are useless off-road), a wider track (thanks to wheel spacers) and a raised ride height to prohibit bottoming out and to protect the engine from deeper water.
eBay Terios, I’ve not given up on you just yet...