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Diahatsu Copen Buyers Guide

Light, quirky and very well within one’s means, the Daihatsu Copen is not everyone’s car but certainly a car that would easily catch the taste of the eclectic enthusiast. While the Copen can easily catch anyone’s attention when on the road because of its funky exterior, certain lacks in practicality confines the car to only a specific market. As a convertible, car owners can bank on it for starters, but may soon find that other cars in the segment offer more than it can. Nevertheless, this car has its salient points that make it a fun vehicle to own and drive.

Pros

The lightweight Copen comes with a turbocharger petrol engine that makes it responsive and very easy to manoeuvre. The 2007 update also comes with an 86bhp engine that gives the car an extra oomph. It also carries an attractive 47mpg of fuel economy for owners who are looking to save more on gas. Handling is another of the Copen’s strong points. Body-roll is nil, and steering is highly efficient even on wet roads. While it’s not the biggest booster in the segment, its good manoeuvreability makes it a fun car to drive on country road.

One of the advantages of the Copen is its comfortable driving position and high adjustability. Visibility is also clear, but the rear can soon be problematic with the roof down. The passenger seat is also comfortable and can help make long journeys more tolerable. The Copen is best driven with the roof down because it enhances the driving experience. But lowering the roof and is also slow and tricky, and ultimately takes a bit of fun out of the equation.

When it comes to equipment, buyers will get a great deal for what the car is worth. All models come with air conditioning. Other standard features include power steering with height and reach adjustable column, twin airbags, alloy wheels, remote central locking, an electric-operated metal folding roof and more.

Cons

At first glance the Copen already shows telltale signs of impracticality: the small, curvaceous car can barely fit a luggage with the roof down. Cubbies, pockets and a glovebox in the cabin don’t do much to improve the storage capacity of the vehicle. Because of the petite size, Copen passengers may also soon feel cramped inside the car. This discomfort can be eliminated with the roof down, but elbow space is still limited. The cabin can also get noisy without or with the roof up, making for a not-so-peaceful drive.

Simply put, the Copen is more apt for singles than for families. The almost zero storage space also indicates that the car is not very reliable when it comes to transporting items. A commute to and from work is one of the best reasons to get the car, especially if the owner lives or works in the city where parking space can be a headache. In this context, the Copen can be the best and most affordable investment a first time car owner can make.

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A History of the Diahatsu Copen

The Diahatsu Copen is a kei car and 2-door roadster produced by Daihatsu Motor Co. The Copen was manufactured from 2002 to 2012, and it succeeded the Daihatsu Leeza Spyder. The concept for Copen was first introduced in 1999 at the Tokyo Motor Show. Copen was one of the smallest and most inexpensive in its niche. The small and compact Copen appealed to drivers who wanted the maneuverability of the kei and the versatility and style of the convertible.

Copen was first introduced in the UK in 2004, and has drawn a following since. In 2005 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Daihatsu introduced 2 trim levels, the 1.3l and the ZZ. A 2007-version for the European market carried a more powerful engine and better fuel consumption.

In 2011, Daihatsu announced the withdrawal of the Copen from the European market. Production was finally ended in August 2012, with a 500-unit 10th Anniversary edition marking its final sale. The reason behind this is declining sales and the strengthening of the Yen. The Copen was known as the last kei convertible to be on sale in the Japanese market. Plans for a successor are yet to be announced, but 2011’s Daihatsu DX kei-SUV concept and the Ultimate Edition Copen concept may be precursors to a new model in the future.

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