1996 Daihatsu Sportrak Limited Anjou 1.6i petrol from France


Still reliable and excellent value for money


Front seal on rear removable roof leaks.

General Comments:

This is the second Sportrak I have owned, and I still own both. This 1996 Anjou is a lovely looking 4x4 with Rose metallic paint and contrasting grey roof and wheel arch extensions.

The comfort level inside, though adequate, is below the standard of the 1991 version that I have owned for 12 years. Even the carpets are thinner, if that were possible, and the seats narrower.

Beneath the bonnet, other than a lowered radiator with long neck, nothing has changed, with the 1598cc reliable lump still performing well.

Front suspension remains as before, but on the Anjou there are no adjustable shock absorbers and the rear leaf springs have been reduced from 5 leaf to 3 leaf. This may account for the more supple ride, and to be honest the adjustable shocks were a waste of time.

Externally the car has a more modern style at the front, but the standard of paint finish to the bumpers and the body is a lot poorer. The plastic wheel arches are secured using steel self tapping bolts and steel clips, and this combination encourages rust formation beneath the arches. I have repaired this and replaced the extensions using stainless nuts and bolts.

The Anjou comes with standard alloy wheels, which are very nice and because of the tyre profile, do not suffer from kerbing. Their finish is very good with no peeling to date.

Overall the car is still excellent value, but in comparison to the 1991 version, cost cutting is obvious, and a shame as these are very robust vehicles.

On the road, the engine is less eager when cold than the earlier version, which could well be a quirk of this car, but once warm is quite responsive. Overall, I feel the car would struggle more on towing, and will prove to be less robust than the earlier models of the same car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th August, 2007

1991 Daihatsu Sportrak ELXi 1.6 Injection from UK and Ireland


Fun and hardworking 4x4


Water pump was leaking when I got it - £29.

Head gasket blew due to the previous owner letting it overheat - £350 parts & labour.

General Comments:

This is a great little 4x4.

It handles brilliantly off-road and handles well on-road as well.

With a few tweaks it is surprisingly quick, 0-60 in under 11 seconds.

Lots of potential for a serious off-roader.

Roof comes off, excellent for the summer.

Fuel economy is around 32-36 mpg.

If it is looked after and serviced regularly, it will go on forever. I have seen one which covered nearly 300,000 miles, and it was still going strong!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st July, 2006

1993 Daihatsu Sportrak elxi 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Superb introduction to 4x4 motoring


Virtually nothing except two outside door handles broke; mainly my fault for being impatient with them! Otherwise normal wear and tear.

General Comments:

Although now discontinued, this is an outstandingly reliable and sensible offroader for anyone on a tight budget, giving over 30 mpg on the highway and with moderate insurance premiums.

Sportrak is a proper offroader with low ratio gears and selectable four-wheel-drive employing auto-locking hubs. With the right tyres, it is surprisingly capable in the rough, being the smaller brother of the acclaimed Fourtrak, though obviously not expected to match the bigger offroaders like Landcruisers or Landrovers in extreme conditions.

Its small size makes it a doddle to park and manoeuvre in town traffic.

It also has a certain aesthetic appeal with its rakish body lines.

Sportrak holds its own in modern traffic; it cruises well at motorway speeds and accelerates from 0 to 60 in just over 11 seconds. Noise is only a problem at top legal speeds.

As with all small SUVs, lack of luggage space can pose a problem; this is not really a family car. The seats are rather small, and most suitable for shorter, everyday journeys rather than long hauls, but the view ahead from the driver's position is excellent.

The only other real drawback is the ride; it is perfectly acceptable on good roads, but on country lanes at over 30 mph you feel you're in a speedboat. To younger drivers, however, this will probably be all part of the fun.

In theory, the back section of the roof can be removed to drive open-topped, but this is not advised; it is very awkward and the parts can get damaged.

Sportrak is tightly screwed together; things just don't break. The interior is plain with a Tonka-Toy, slabby dashboard that shouts 4 x 4. Everything feels solid; the doors shut with a lovely clunk.

Provided the proper servicing is kept up, this car runs and runs. Snobby critics tend to laugh at it, but unlike some more famous offroaders, its life won't be spent in the repair shop or outside your bank.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th April, 2006