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2004 Daihatsu Terios 1.3 Tracker £2,195

As I pen these words, outside my window snow is drifting gently down from the sky. So it’s fitting that our latest pick of Autoweb.co.uk’s for-sale classifieds is a small but tough and very capable terrier of a 4x4.

At first glance, the Daihatsu Terios looks just too small to be much use in battling across slush and ice. Not at all. Its four-wheel-drive and raised ground clearance is just the thing, and it’ll keep going after other larger and far more expansive cars are halted. This one’s offered by our friends at North Riding Trade Cars of Hutton Rudby, North Yorkshire, who, to judge from their location (on a farm) and the cars they offer, deal in plenty of second-hand off-roaders.

Daihatsu withdrew from selling new cars in the UK four years back after its import agents decided the £-yen exchange rate meant they could no longer turn a profit. The company continues, however, in its home market and in other countries. All of which means that spares for its UK cars are still readily available, while the company has retained a UK network of garages specialising in repairs. No worries on that front then.

Consider, too, that the Terios is indeed a very tough car. Its 1.3-litre petrol motor isn’t at 84bhp ever going to be quick when powering a 4x4 but it is dependable – it’s the same unit that's fitted to the Yaris and other small Toyotas. It’s not going to be that great for a long motorway journey because its tall, boxy shape results in plenty of wind noise and will also make it wander off line in a gale. That said, it will be fine for pottering around town in and on the school run, while it will really come into its own if asked to follow a muddy track – or an icy driveway.

Daihatsu Terios cabinDaihatsu Terior bootMeanwhile, its low price, cheap insurance group and handy dimensions also made it a  wise choice as a first car for a novice driver. The body and cabin are basic but tough, while containing everything you expect: central locking, electric windows and mirrors, airbags and a radio/CD player. This one has a full set of service records and has had just two owners from new: both things you are a would-be buyer want to see.

In short it has much to commend it and little to deter you. No wonder Terios-es are so popular with the rural set, something that’s reflected in firmish prices, even for older ones such as this. And it’s a car with little in the way of direct rivals. Only the Fiat Panda or Suzuki Jimny come close.

If I needed small but perfectly formed off-roader, this is one I’d buy, no doubt.

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