• May 21, 2006

Long gone from the U.S. marketplace, Daihatsu continues to do quite well in other markets, particularly with Toyota's recent cash infusions. The handful of Charade owners still in the U.S. likely wouldn't recognise the current model, but in case Daihatsuphiles are wondering how the brand is fairing, Autoblog presents the revamped Charade, now hitting UK dealerships.

The restyled urban runabout receives a new front clip and redesigned suspenders, including a front anti-roll bar and adjusted dampening rates. The Charade also boasts modestly higher equipment levels, including air-conditioning and newly ventilated front disc brakes. The Charade's range has been rationalized as well, with the SL trim spec falling off the order sheet, though three and five-door variants are still in the cards, as are manual and automatic transmissions.

Likely best left in the its native city environs, the Charade and its 1.0-liter engine reportedly tops out a skosh below 100 mph, but does so while being particularly frugal.

[Source: Easier UK]

 



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Two things that are killing the SMART in Europe:
      1. Although being quite safe with its coconut-shaped roll-cage body, the first SMART ForTwo rolled over too easily. Mechanical changes to prevent this involved slowing down the steering and some suspension work; these changes made the car less zippy and the steering to be somewhat ponderous at something like 4.1 turns.
      2. SMART company has its roots in the brainchild of the SWATCH watch company. M-B was reluctant from the get-go to be more than 50% involved financially, but their position was stressed when SWATCH had to give up their share, causing M-B to make the hard decision to either toss the idea or make it feasible. The subsequent ForFour and SMART Roadster did indeed drain some R&D from M-B, a drain that was not returned with the alacrity or the enormity that M-B had counted on, making the SMART idea even less palatable than before.

      Anyways, about the Charade, it's a nice car with an unfortunate name, popular in Europe where there are cities all over the place. In USA, we really only have maybe 4 or 5 cities where cars like this make sense. 85-90% of us want cars that are better suited to the open road but still capable of being parked in the city. For most Americans, a mini or micro car will be the second if not third car. Because of this, anything over $12,000 just isn't affordable enough. Especially since it is essentially a single-purpose car compared to our SUVs, which can in the city, on the beach, in the suburbs, across the median, through the woods, and so on. It doesn't matter that most SUV drivers don't use it that way, I'm just underscoring that American consumers are somewhat smitten with multi-purpose automobiles.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This has to be the only case of a new car NOT getting bigger, heavier, and thirstier, with each succeeding generation. If anything, this pic makes the new Charade look smaller than the one we were offered in the '90s.
      Re Bob Erikson, apparently you haven't heard. In Europe smart is chopping models from it's lineup so that now, about all that's left is the original model of the smart, the ForTwo...or whatever it's called. The U.S. market was "supposed" to get a small SUV that never made it into production. As I understand it, the smart roadster/coupe has already been eliminated with the smart 4 door sedan soon to follow. NOT a good sign.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think the "who cares stuff" stems from the fact that this has no impact on Autoblog's mainly North American readership, and it's not even about any car that MOST readers would find interesting.

      Why don't we get any notice when any number of other econoboxes not available to us get redesigned? Why do we get informed about the redesign about a car that most of us wouldn't want to buy even if we could?
      • 8 Years Ago
      So what's the word on the Smart? Are they going to cert it and it M-B going to bring it here?!

      I've heard so much good about it and I've seen a wicked crash test. I could live with one.

      It'd sell like mad for 15K but hopefully it won't suffer the MINI sindrome ($30K).
      • 8 Years Ago
      Re Bob Erikson,
      as I have read in many overseas mags, M-B sees smart as a (huge?) drain of funds, relative to the (quick?) payback management was hoping for. One of the ways the second and subsequent generations of the smart was supposed to save money/become cheaper to build, was through engineering partnerships with Mitsubishi/Hyundai just as the original smart had. (Mitsubishi based a minicar called the Colt, on the same...but modified platform as the smart. Mitsu is also supposed to have helped a bit on engine development.) With M-B and Mitsu parting company, there is no longer a partner to share development costs. It doesn't help that the Colt is perceived to be as good or better than the smart in nearly every area, except maybe gas mileage.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I agree with bringing over the Copen. The thing is too cute. Don't know how mechanically sound they are, but I think people would dive all over them, given the good response to the Yaris and similar competitors.

      Don't call it a Daihatsu though. The name doesn't conjure good memories over here.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The real problem with Smart is that MB bought into an unrealistic projection (Swatch's) of what the market for a two-seater was in Europe. It turned out to be less than half of what they projected. Therefore, their infrastructure, marketing, etc, costs were too high, and MB lost 2.5 billion. They thought for a while that the solution was to expand Smart with additional cars, to create a whole new brand of lower cost cars. They realized that was going to be too expensive and risky, so now ttey've pulled in their horns. The next gen Fortwo will be cheaper to make, and will use a Mitsubishi engine. As much of the infrastructure and other costs as possible will be absorbed by MB. And if a buyer for Smart came along with the right offer, voila: Smart is off their hands.
      • 8 Years Ago
      No one cares. Don't turn this into autobloggreen by posting up stuff that has nothing to do with anything and is of no interest to anyone.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz........
      • 8 Years Ago
      THIS IS A REFRESH OF A CAR NOONE CARES ABOUT!

      The fact that I don't give a f*** has nothing to do with the fact that it's only sold overseas or that I "only love muscle cars " (I drive a Honda...), it's that this is NOT newsworthy. It might be if there was something newsworthy about it...like a new engine design (we have this same 1.0L sitting on a crate at work waiting to be dyno tested, my d*** is bigger), some new feature, advanced equipment for a mini car, etc. But no. It's just a regular tiny little car that noone in their right minds would possibly care about. It's just a refresh!

      It got a new front end and air conditioning STANDARD, stop the presses!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't really understand all this "who cares?" stuff. I always thought Autoblog, while definitely having a North American slant, deliberately appealed to readers from all over the world. So you don't like this story? There'll be another one along soon...