Daihatsu Sirion Car Reviews NRMA Motoring & Services

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Daihatsu Sirion Car Review

Author: NRMA Motoring Date: 1 August 1998

Life down in the bargain basement end of the new car market usually means accepting a few compromises and Daihatsu’s new three cylinder 1.0 litre Sirion is no exception.

On one hand, the Sirion scores praise for providing a fresh approach to small car motoring with its individual styling, for the fact that is has five doors (a rarity at the price), for the surprise inclusion of items such as power windows, power mirrors and central locking, for its keen pricing, and for its ultra-low fuel consumption.

On the other hand, the Sirion displays a disappointing lack of refinement in noise and harshness levels (the engine/drivetrain is quite rough when starting off on hills), it’s devoid of low speed torque (awkward in stop-start traffic), and it loses points for not having power assistance for the steering (it’s heavy when parking).

The Sirion’s launch pricing (applicable until December 1998) was $11,490 drive-away for the manual version and $12,990 drive-away for the (four speed) automatic. Given that dealer and statutory charges usually add about $1,800, that’s excellent buying.

As well as the power windows, mirrors and central locking already mentioned, the Sirion comes with dual front airbags, front seat belt pretensioners and height-adjustable upper anchorages, impact-sensing door lock release and fuel cut-off system, a radio/cassette (two speakers only), a rear window wiper/washer, remote fuel lid and rear hatch releases, a 60/40 split fold rear seat and full wheel trims.


Doesn’t rate well; the Sirion scored only 15 out of a possible 100 points in the NRMA’s vehicle assessment programme.

There’s no mistaking a Sirion on the road, with its splashes of brightwork front and rear, its unusually designed headlamps and its offset front number plate (to allow extra air to the radiator). Except for the number plate, I like the look; it’s distinctive and provides a degree of individuality that’s lacking in many of today’s cars.

Quality of finish looked good overall on the test car, though it was disconcerting to see an air gap between the front door frame and the body. There is also evidence of cost-cutting in some of the body fittings, such as a lack of a rubber wear protector mat under the driver’s heel, no trim on the inside of the rear hatch, and the moulded plastic hood lining.

The Sirion is a small car so you don’t expect heaps of space and though it can comfortably accommodate front occupants of average … size, rear leg room is tight for anybody other than smallish children.

Luggage space is competitive for the class, with enough room for most needs, plus the option of folding all or part of the rear seat for bulkier items. The rear cushion can be unclipped and removed completely for more space.

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The Sirion’s little three cylinder twin-cam multi-valve engine is willing enough, but its lack of low-down torque (and seemingly, a lack of refinement in the way the engine/transmission is mounted) results in some unpleasant harshness and juddering when starting off (in the manual version).

Once under way, the Sirion has no trouble keeping up with the general traffic flow and gets along happily enough at highway speeds. However, hilly terrain soon has you reaching for the change lever to drop down a gear or two, in order to maintain momentum.

Anyone used to a car with power steering should park a Sirion before buying. It’s not exceptionally heavy, but compared to power assistance, a fair amount of effort is required when manoeuvring in tight spots.

The Sirion handles acceptably well and its front disc/rear drum brakes are adequate for the car’s performance.


Buying a Daihatsu Sirion requires accepting a few compromises in areas such as noise and harshness, low-down performance, steering effort for parking, and occupant space.

In return, you get a car that’s not only great value in terms of its purchase price, but one that tops the small car class on fuel economy. With a three year warranty and Daihatsu’s history of excellent reliability, the Sirion can be expected to provide reliable, low-cost motoring for those who spend most of their time commuting around town.

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