The latest kei car to jump into the Japanese marketplace is the Daihatsu Sonica, which was released yesterday. Available in three trim levels, R, RS, and RS Limited, all Sonicas are powered by a 64-horsepower 658cc 3-cylinder turbo which is connected to a new CVT. The CVT is also brand-new and makes its debut on the Sonica. The car is available in both 2WD and 4WD configurations and is a fuel-sipper, as you'd expect. Depending on the drivetrain, it gets 54 mpg (2WD) or 49 mpg (4WD).
Stylewise, the Sonica is an attractive little hatchback, whose slab-sidedness is mitigated nicely through the use of an upwardly sloping oval shape for the side windows. While the R model is a bit of a stripper, contentwise, R and RS cars are available with dress-up parts like directional alloys, and get a leather-wrapped MOMO steering wheel as standard equipment. Because we're talking about Japan, there are plenty of factory accessories that can be added to further personalize the car. (Gold wheels? Yes!)
Dash layout is clean and simple, and buyers can choose from red or black for the seating surfaces. The car meets European crash safety standards and also incorporates pedestrian protection features as part of its design. Prices range from ¥1.13 - 1.475 million.
(Interior shots, press release after the jump)
19th June, 2006
Daihatsu Launches New Mini Passenger Car SONICA
DAIHATSU MOTOR CO., LTD. (Daihatsu) announced the launch in Japan of the new SONICA* mini passenger car on June 19.
The SONICA is a new concept car, developed in the pursuit of innovatively high quality driving performance for a small car. With target buyer focus on commonly known "freestyle couples" who place great importance on their own personalities and private time, this car anticipates recent lifestyle changes in Japan, as well as the shift of user preference toward smaller cars. The SONICA is the result of Daihatsu's continuing quest for passenger cars that give their users the driving enjoyment and cruising comfort they are seeking.
Key features of the newly launched SONICA:
Car body design that brings refreshment and excitement
- Low, long body configuration that conveys an image of comfortable driving
- Low floor, long and wide interior space
- Roomy interior that gently encompasses passengers; bench seats that make cruising enjoyable
- Turbo engine equipped with newly developed CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) achieves smoothly controlled yet powerful driving force, with low fuel consumption (2WD: 23.0 km/L*3, lowest among the class**; 4WD: 21.0 km/L***).
- Exhilarating steering feel, relaxing ride
- Low interior noise that accommodates lively conversation
**: According to Daihatsu's June 2006 survey for light vehicles with turbo engines
***: Based on 10-15 Japanese test cycle. Figures reviewed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
Monthly sales target in Japan: 2,000 units
Manufacturer's suggested retail price (excluding consumption tax): ¥1.13 - 1.475 million
(Photo shows 2WD/RS Limited grade of SONICA, priced at ¥1.35 million.)
All Grades (R, RS, RS Limited)
Overall length (mm) 3,395
Overall width (mm) 1,475
Overall height (mm) 1,470
Wheelbase (mm) 2,440
Seating capacity (persons) 4
Engine type KF-DET
Displacement (cc) 658
Maximum output (kW/rpm) 47/6,000
Maximum torque (N•m/rpm) 103/3,000
Power Train 2WD/4WD