Daihatsu Terios -

Used Car Review

IF you really want or need a tough 4x4 but don't fancy the big bills that can come with larger models, why not drop down a size or two and go for the Daihatsu Terios.

The company stopped selling cars here about eight years ago, but the various models are available secondhand, and with Toyota engineering for engine and drivetrain, plus a well-made and hard wearing interior, the Terios is a good bet.

Even smaller off-roaders like this, when they're fitted with proper four wheel drive, will cost more to run than an ordinary car because they have more weight to lug around.

But if you regularly drive on fields or unmade roads, or face winter snow and ice, you probably need that all-wheel drive traction.

Small 4x4's are few and far between, and fewer of them are as tough as the Terios, which I have taken through some horrendous muddy tracks across areas of nearby forestry land.

In a group test about ten years ago, it kept up with a Land Rover Discovery up hill and down dale.

Its main competition is probably the Suzuki Jimny, but that doesn't come with five doors as standard, and it can't match the Terios on performance either.

The only other competitor is the Fiat Panda 4x4, but that is much lighter in weight, and would also be hard pressed to keep up with the Daihatsu.

The last Terios available here - between 2006 and 2010 - had a single engine on offer - a 1.5 litre petrol producing 103bhp. There was no diesel option.

The petrol offers fair performance on the road, covering the 0 to 62 miles an hour sprint in 12.6 seconds, and going on to a top speed of just under 100 miles an hour.

But although it's pretty smooth, it has to be worked hard to get best performance, and that makes it rather loud and raucous.

The standard gearbox is a five speed manual, but a four speed auto was also available.

The Terios is a good car to drive, with light controls and good seat adjustment. There's not much body roll and this helps towards sticky cornering also helped by good feedback from the power steering.

The suspension is pretty firm however, and that makes for a lumpy ride over poor surfaces, or the speed needs to be kept down!

The four wheel drive system a permanent, unlike many others, which have drive to the front wheels most of the time, only bringing the rears into play when the going gets slippery.

Fairly small size means the Terios is manoeuvrable off-road and easy to get into tight parking spaces.

The interior has space enough for four adults, and those in the rear can recline their seatbacks to get even more relaxed.

A three model line-up starts with the S, which has aircon, four electric windows, central locking and electric mirrors.

SX spec adds alloys, parking sensors, trip computer and heated screen while the SE comes with similar spec and the automatic gearbox.

Pay about £3,300 for an '09 09-reg S, or £4,200 for an '11 60-reg SX.

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