2000 Daihatsu Sirion 1.0L 3 cylinder
Cute, reliable and cheap to run
The windscreen was replaced just before we bought the car and it has leaked ever since. We get water dripping in on the passenger side whenever it rains, but pretty sure this is thanks to a dodgy replacement, not the car/model itself.
The button for the driver's window is a bit worn out. The switch doesn't pop back up fully after you push it down, so it is trying to keep winding the window down when you let the switch go. This causes something to overheat/cutout. When you pull the switch up to put the window back up, nothing happens. You need to joggle the switch back into the neutral position and leave it a minute for the cutout to reset, then the window will close fine. It took us a couple of months to figure out why sometimes you couldn't close the window; now we know, it's not really a problem. Also it will occasionally start winding the window down if you go over a nasty speed bump or something, again due to the tired spring in the switch. I looked around, but can't find a replacement for the switch, which is a bummer.
The alternator bracket was cracked clean through when we got it, so there was no tension on the belt and it was squealing its damn head off. I removed the bracket and got it welded back together, and it's been good ever since. I have no idea how the heck the damn thing broke in the first place though. It's a thick plate of steel, and it was snapped in two.
We picked this up second hand for $1,000 as a cheap run-about for the wife to go to/from the train station each day for work. It was in pretty rough shape body wise, not a single panel was straight and it was covered in scratches and marks, the bumpers looked like it had been used as a dodgem car, but it was all we could afford at the time, and supposedly cheap to run. We expected to replace it in 6-12 months when we had a little more money to spend. That was a little over 2 years ago.
Since then, we have replaced 2 tyres which were barely legal when we got it and fixed the alt bracket; THAT'S IT. I'm ashamed to say, we have never even had it serviced. I do check the oil and water from time to time, but they have never needed to be topped up. Despite all that, it has never skipped a beat.
OK, it's certainly no race car, but we never wanted it to be.
The wife drives it everyday about 20km round trip to the station and back, plus other little trips to the shops, etc, and the tiny 40lt tank of fuel lasts her over a month. I think this was the car they had in mind when they coined the phrase, "it runs on the smell of an oily rag". Honestly, the fuel economy is utterly insane. It's cheaper to run than a hybrid Toyota Prius!
We have done some longer trips in it too, but it is certainly no 'family car', especially if you have a pair of teenage boys in the back, but it CAN do the longer trips if you need it to. You do feel it getting blown around a bit on the highway, especially of you have a roadtrain blow past in the opposite direction.
I have just replaced my Holden Rodeo 4x4 with a smaller, more efficient, comfier Subaru Impreza, and decided to look around for something new for her, but her Sirion has been so cheap to run and so reliable she just won't let it go. Until now. I found a 2004 Sirion for sale for $4,000. The body is in very good condition, much better than her old basher. The new one is a manual, which she would prefer, and would be a little more fuel efficient than her existing auto. The new one is the blue that she loves, instead of the 'champagne' (we call it dirty silver) of her old one. It has the same little 1.0lt motor, except, get this, it has a factory turbo! Never in my wildest dreams, could I have imagined this with a turbo, but they did it. The turbo apparently provides slightly better fuel efficiency than the standard 1.0lt, and delivers more power than the 1.3lt 4 cylinder version.
Once I showed it to her online, it was love at first sight. She thinks of it as 'her same little Sirion' but prettied up, with a manual gearbox and a turbo added on.
We are going have a look at the new one tomorrow night, and crossing our fingers that it is every bit as reliable as the old one.
The old one will be going out on the footpath for sale for about $1,500. I'm sure it will serve some student, pensioner, housewife or some other budget conscious person, for some years to come.
I guess the best review a car can get is:
Would you buy another one?
Our answer: Hell yeah.
We are just getting a newer, prettier one, otherwise we would be keeping it.
And we'll get back every cent we spent on it to boot.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st December, 2015