2000 Daihatsu Sirion 1.0L 3 cylinder from Australia and New Zealand


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.

General Comments:

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

29th Mar 2017, 10:36

Very nice review. Wondering if you would do a review for the new one?

2000 Daihatsu Sirion 1.0 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Great car, very reliable, but be ready for a bumpy ride! Lots of fun though


Almost NONE! Very reliable car.

However, blocking of the crankcase ventilation system is common - I had 6 cars with those engines (Sirions, Cuores, Charades), and on every one of them crankcase ventilation system was blocked due to sludge deposits in the rocker cover.

Symptoms - engine idles too low, causing vibration and complaints from your GF.

Diagnosis - with the engine idling (A/C and lights off), pull off tiny hose connecting throttle body and rocker cover. If the engine idles up - it is blocked. Remedy - remove the rocker cover and clean the passage.

Beware of the light weight of the car - I once had my coworkers playing a joke on me by lifting my Cuore and putting it ACROSS my parking spot.

General Comments:

Great car to get your sorry ass from A to B for a fraction of the cost of a "real car".

If you install some good gas shocks, lower springs, low profile tyres on wide alloys and a POD filter - you can even have fun while you're on the way.

Vibration of the plastic trim inside can be annoying - but if you fix the crankcase ventilation issue, it will 90% go away.

One more thing that I found useful - because these cars don't have any soundproofing, it makes a big difference when you remove the trim and spray the panels inside with deadening compound or liquid rubber. This will cost you $32 for 2 spray cans, but makes a lot of difference. You almost feel like you're sitting inside an Audi (almost).

The spare cardboard wheel cover/boot floor is useless and pathetic - I replaced it with Pyzar's wooden floor - feels as solid as a rock.

Special note on the cigarette lighter/power outlet. This is the worst design I ever saw. It's flimsy and weak, and eventually just falls out. The best and most sensible thing to do is to take it out and throw away as far as you can. Then replace it with a second hand unit from a more high spec Daihatsu or Toyota, preferably with the back light. I did it on my Sirions/Cuores; this is just a must. I realise there should be some cost cutting in producing a cheap car, but not to the extent that the unit does not fulfill its purpose.

Generally Sirion/Cuore/Charade is almost a perfect car and is loved by all - boys and girls, grandmas and grandpas, and shopping mamas.

Boys love it for its fast response (after mods).

Girls - for cuteness.

Grandmas and grandpas - for cheap petrol (have to quote "smell of an oily rag").

Shopping mamas - for easy parking and the space inside.

It is only hated by German car enthusiasts (and I was one of them, until Germans finally blew it) - because it beats any German ever-faulty junk hands down.

Conclusion - if you have your hands growing from the right place and look at this car as a do-it-yourself kit, or as a starting point for your creativity - you can modify it easily with amazing results. Think of it as a Lego project. You can't break it, it's too simple.

What I did with mine was pretty minimalistic, but made it totally different car to drive.

- Lowered springs.

- Gas KYBs.

- 165/55-15 Bridgestone Potenza tyres.

- 15" alloys.

- POD filter.

- Soundproofing.

- Modified shifter (was manual).

- Bigger bore exhaust (reasonable, not a cannon).

Bigger tyres are essential - I bought that Sirion in Melbourne and drove it to Sydney (almost 1000km) on the original 145-12" scooter-like tyres and it was a very scary experience - the car was all over the road, like a drunken fisherman's boat on a windy day.

I don't know what Daihatsu was thinking assigning 145-12" tyres to this car; it's not a scooter after all. My Piaggio X9 Evolution 500 has bigger tyres!

Anyway, if your car trips are more than a 20 meter drive to that corner dairy and you occasionally get on the highway - you NEED bigger tyres. Or a good surgeon.

A note on a steering - if you have a choice, get one with the power steering - it will last much longer and you will save money.

The basic no-power rack only lasts around 50,000 km, and then you have to replace or overhaul it.

All in all - a good reliable car, which needs some improvement to make it safe and enjoyable to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th November, 2014

8th Feb 2016, 23:21

Bumpy ride - not at all.

This reviewer put non-standard wheel and tyres on the vehicle. The non-standard parts gave him the bumpy ride.

Standard Sirion (14" 185/70/14) wheels and tyres inflated to 28 PSI give a perfectly comfortable ride.

For better economy, tyres can be inflated to 29 PSI.

Note: NOT 32 PSI as the car is only 850kg!

32 PSI would only be if the car had 5 sumo wrestlers inside.