The Daihatsu Copen - a Suzuki Cappuccino for the 21st century?
Britain's cheapest roadster has been given a massive engine boost, after Daihatsu chopped the 660cc engine in the Copen for a 1.3 twin-cam. The Copen was conceived under Japan's K-car rules for short micro cars with engines under 0.7 litres, and its right-hand drive status meant it was imported to the UK market. Performance has increased (6mph and 2.2sec faster) while the price has actually dropped to £10,995 - down from £12,500 in 2004. That's not bad for a two-seat roadster complete with a folding hard-top. That tin top folds away electrically in just 20sec.
So what exactly has Daihatsu done to the Copen?
To meet European Type Approval, engineers in Japan slotted the 86bhp 1.3-litre four-pot from the Sirion into the Copen's engine bay. With 19bhp and 15lb ft extra, the revised model can now crack 62mph in 9.5sec, but still averages 47mpg thanks to longer gearing. In a world of ever-bulkier small cars, the Copen is a breath of fresh air. Although 27kg heavier than its 660cc predecessor, the new model tips the scales at a featherweight 850kg. There's little to distinguish the new Copen; the only clues are a small rear spoiler and a few new colours. Despite that low price, standard kit includes twin airbags, 15-inch alloys, air-con, remote locking, electric windows and roof, plus a CD player.