I seem to have a bee in my bonnet with these little pocket rockets lately, and this yellow and black striped turbo is the reason why. I guess you could call this little Daihatsu a sleeper as it would put up a fair fight against cars twice its size – you’d need to remove the TURBO 130 decal though, perhaps opt for the silver version.
Whenever I decide on writing an article I try and get to the bones as to why I have chosen a particular topic, and if it’ll be a little different or interesting compared to all the usual supercar stuff out there. Why would I feature this little Japanese mechanical bumble bee after previously writing about a Nissan Micra? I mean, why?
After a few minutes I came to the conclusion it wasn’t the aesthetics of these little boxes that did it for me; neither were the practicality or economic running costs (this is coming from a teen who thought a 1983 2.3-L turbo Mustang was a sensible ride… during the late 90s in the UK).
No, what it boils down to is the technology of these tiny engines. The Japanese just know how to shrink things and make them work – they always have done. They’ve been turbocharging small cars for decades and it’s taken a while to catch on stateside, but with all these eco people ranting and raving about the planet, manufactures are now developing ways to maintain bhp figures whilst making it more economical to run.
Ford have their EcoBoost technology, managing to squeeze out 99-bhp from it’s 3-cylinder 1.0-L unit, whilst Chevrolet have a 1.4-L turbocharged unit producing 138-bhp. Even the Italians have made an effort, Alfa Romeo now offering a 1.4-L turbocharged engine producing a whopping 176-bhp.
Whilst this is no WRX or EVO, the little Daihatsu can hit 60-mph in 8 seconds, that’s quicker than a 2004 Alfa Romeo GTV, a Jaguar XF Sedan and a Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI Sport.
For the sleeper enthusiast it serves as a great platform for either tweaking what’s already available or fixing a slightly bigger turbo and trying to reach the 7 second territory of the bigger hot hatches.
That’s it for tiny Japanese cars for a while… I hope.