2002 Daihatsu YRV AWD 1.3 from Norway


Durable and fun


Nothing yet. Surprisingly well kept car for its age.

General Comments:

Driving this non-turbo 4x4 YRV is an absolute hoot. We originally purchased this 8 year old car with few miles on the clock as a backup for our AWD Suzuki Ignis, which performs fine. The YRV however is really as someone in another review calls it: a pocket money rocket, and much more fun to drive. Even in this non-turbo version.

Add low maintenance costs and Japanese durability: we are well pleased with this little motor. Will be sorry to see it go eventually, but am hoping to postpone this to the very distant future.

It is of course a small car, but it can easily seat our family of five, and the sliding backseat with adjustable reclining back is an absolutely ideal solution in any car. Why don't all car-manufacturers follow suit?

Our main reason for driving small 4x4's is the amount of snow here in wintertime, and knowing that your chances of getting home from work multiply by several factors when driving an small and light YRV up a mountain road.

Comparing its carbon-dioxide footprint with more modern cars doesn't even leave us shame-faced, because although it's an AWD, it can still compete with any of them in real life (not your factory figures...) miles-to-the gallon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th September, 2010

2003 Daihatsu YRV Radical 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Japanese engineering and longevity at cheap price - shame about the Radical model spec though!


This car was owned by the dealer from new as a courtesy/loan car, and has had hundreds of drivers and shows some signs of abuse, but has a full history and runs like new.

I have carried out the following works to undo 6 years of loan car use:

Numerous trim rattles - I have removed and refitted three door trims and tightened/lubricated as necessary, removed the stereo and secure the wiring connectors to the dash frame with tape, tightened a few screws/bolts here and there, and realigned the knocking boot lid/catch. The car is finally rattle free.

Standard tape player (!) had awful muted sound, which I thought would mean replacement of both the unit and speakers, but when I removed the dash top speaker covers, the problem was instantly solved as the covers only had a tiny hole for the sound to escape. With the covers missing, it looks ugly but sounds good.

Windscreen chip repaired and wiper blades replaced.

All locks/hinges/catches lubricated and adjusted.

Wheeltrims removed, sanded and resprayed with Halfords wheel trim paint to look brand new.

Tyres rotated and balanced plus tracking done to right the off centre steering wheel.

Brakes stripped and calipers lubricated, handbrake adjusted, oil and filters changed.

Rear wiper spindle to glass rubber seal missing, so asked windscreen fitter to mastic it watertight - not pretty, but it works!

No faults really considering the age, just maintenance and considering the type of use/abuse of six years as a loan car, the car is in excellent reliable form.

General Comments:

Comparing a 2003 YRV to my previous 2008 1.0 Sirion is perhaps unfair as technology has moved on, but I am pleased with the car now the obsessive fettling is complete. The swap was necessitated by renovation funds being needed for our new house.


The Radical spec is total poverty spec, and I had not realised that most of the standard YRV kit is deleted on this cut price special edition - (I had also mistakenly thought the Radical 2 was a later model without the air-con) - the Radical deletes central locking, electric mirrors, rear electric windows, air-con, rear parcel shelf, rear headrests, foglights etc etc so is actually an extremely basic utility model. Even the seat height adjuster is deleted, making it too low for my wife!

If buying again, I would look out for a 1.3 Premium with the glass roof as there is no real difference in normal prices, and the Radical is tiring without central locking, and the lack of essentials like a rear shelf and headrests is a step too far.

Driving wise, it has many good points, particularly the very strong and silky smooth (0-60 10 sec) 1.3 engine and slick gearbox, the magnificent visibility and strong brakes. Narrower cabin than the Sirion, but bigger boot.

Points that were apparent straight off were the odd steering, which requires a huge amount of turning for a small amount of turning the wheels, and the hard ride, coupled with lots of roll under cornering. It is bizarre that a car aimed at younger drivers with a quick powerplant has lazy, vague steering, and lots of roll, which is at odds with the jolty ride.

The car looks good, is quiet and refined on a motorway, and returns 41-48mpg (using posh 98 unleaded) and surprises with the effortless pull and decent ratios of the 'box. On the back roads, the power makes you forgive the dynamic weakness, but I do tire of the jolting (which doubtless caused most of the trim rattles to occur).

I paid £1530 from a main dealer including a new MOT and service and full valet, which for a tidy 37,500, 6 year old Japanese hatch seems good. I have run it hard across a variety of conditions, including fast down unmade roads, and at very high speeds, and it runs faultlessly.

This car was bought by me over the phone from the dealer that supplied the last three Daihatsus to me, and I knew I could trust, so was bought on price, history and future reliability, rather than as a car to enjoy.

I do rate it, and now enjoy it driving it more than I ever expected, even though the spec is truly appalling. As a car model, the YRV has many good points - but make sure you compare the specs before you pay for it!!!

If I had to replace this for whatever reason, I would look at another YRV, but maybe the Premium, F-Speed or 130 Turbo to get the things I am missing. There seem to be a lot of good low mileage 2002-2004 YRVs about for under 3k now, and I could recommend one in the right spec - I will probably swap it when I miss the air-con too much...

After owning newer Daihatsus - Copen, Materia and Sirions I am far more pleased with it than I thought I would be, and impressed with how tight and precise it all is still after six years as a daily loaner. If anything, it has reinforced my respect of Daihatsu engineering further as it runs as well as my 2008 car did.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd March, 2009

26th Mar 2009, 14:21

After more use, I have now got more rattles:

Dash clocks trim surround-wedged with a glove but needs a proper fix.

Driver's door panel.

Bootlid lock/catch.

I think the bumpy roads and tracks that I travel along, coupled with the hard suspension, conspire to shake the car to bits.

It drives like new though and pulls amazingly well in any gear. Every time my wife drives it, she commments that it goes like hell, and she has to watch the speedo like a hawk.

I am pleasantly impressed with it, but the lack of central locking on this base model is starting to irritate... I could recommend the YRV, but not the Radical base model special edition. Thing is though, that the car is so good otherwise I am happy to keep it for now.