Daihatsu Handivan Reviews from Australia and New Zealand

1981 Daihatsu Handivan

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership1994
Most recent year of ownership1995
Engine and transmission Semi-Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired36000 kilometres
Most recent distance56000 kilometres


Quite costly for a first car


Broken welds on drivers seat.

Exhaust manifold broke twice.

Blown head gasket at 40,000 km.

Transmission oil leak at 50,000 km.

Broken CV joints at 56,000 km.

General Comments:

This car is very good on fuel and worth looking out for.

However don't buy the semi-automatic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th July, 2003

31st Aug 2003, 23:04

How does a semi-automatic work? I've heard of it, but never worked WHAT it is exactly.


4th Mar 2006, 05:24

You're all wrong, a semi-automatic is when the human makes contact with the gear lever and triggers off a sensor down in the shaft that engages the clutch for you. It was on the 60-70s Beetles and still around today in slightly different mechanical ways. It is a tricky system that takes computer chips etc. to run, better off with a pure manual or straight automatic. (Unless you own a Ferrari or similar)

1981 Daihatsu Handivan 0.6 unleaded petrol

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 0.6 unleaded petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired150000 kilometres
Most recent distance158000 kilometres
Previous carMitsubishi Colt


Super-reliable cheapie


The exhaust system was pretty much the main culprit. Both muffler boxes were quite holey (but that is not the fault of the car manufacturer).

I suppose the alternator has a very noisy whine (if you tune the AM radio between stations), other than that it charges like a bull (I have quickly jump started many other more expensive cars with this little beauty).

The seat belts are a bit of a pain as they usually twist and get jammed in the dispenser (you know the thing the seat belt goes through and turns freely at any angle).

General Comments:

It is slow off the mark, but is mega-reliable and 'runs off the smell of an oily rag'.

It is a little bit 'squeezy' inside, especially if you have a passenger.

Cheap as chips to run in all aspects. Tyres, petrol, license and registration are almost cheap enough even for a child to own. Makes an excellent first car for the undemanding young driver.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th April, 2003

Average review marks: 6.6 / 10, based on 2 reviews