1990 Daihatsu Mira J 4WD 650cc gas from Japan
A fun, practical car for very little money
One drive shaft and one front wheel bearing was replaced at 68,000kms.
The heater core stopped working at 68,000kms.
I purchased this car in Nagano, Japan.
In Japan, this car sells as a "yellow plate". This is a category for vehicles with engine sizes of 650cc or less. Yellow plated cars are subject to lower registration charges and insurance costs. Because of this, owning this car in Japan has been considerably less expensive than owning my Jetta when I lived in Canada.
The car is great on gas, usually averaging 4 litres per 100kms. The driving I do is usually over large mountains, up winding roads, and I am not afraid to give the engine plenty of revs, so I feel the fuel economy is impressive.
The car is also very practical, considering its small size. Four adults can comfortably fit, and the rear seats fold down to allow a large cargo area.
For such a small, simple form of transport, I find the car surprisingly comfortable. I have made many trips lasting 2 hours or more, and have not had reason to complain about the comfort.
I am most surprised by what a wonderfully enjoyable car this is to drive. The small size of the vehicle allows for spirited driving on the narrow twisty roads here in Nagano-ken. The engine sounds gruff, but provides sufficient pep to move the light car along quickly.
Handling is predictable, and the vehicle will under-steer when pressed.
In the winter time, selecting 4WD has allowed the car to traverse the worst snow conditions here with ease. Selecting 4WD does reduce performance a little. 4WD is selected by depressing a button on top of the shifter.
The interior of the car has stood up very well. The materials used for the interior do not show noticeable signs of wear. I particularly like the small 3 spoke steering wheel, which is simple and sporty.
This is the easiest car to park I have ever driven. This is due to excellent visibility and the cars small size.
I do have a few minor annoyances with the car.
There is no tachometer in our Mira.
There is a small compartment on top of the dash with an inexpensive plastic lid. This lid rattled. I solved the problem with a little foam taped along the edge.
The cup holders are rather shallow and ineffective at holding a beverage.
Engine and road noise are as you would expect on a car in this class, at this age. However, it is not unreasonable, and does not interfere with conversations.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th January, 2005