How much road space do one adult and two kids need on the school run? The Renault Espace takes up 81.8 square metres and a Land Rover Discovery 103.1m. A used Daihatsu Terios will cast a shadow over only 60.1, the same as Toyota's baby Yaris. How can a proper 4x4 look this funky, be so manoeuvrable and yet so inexpensive? It's part of Daihatsu's aim to target buyers in the family hatchback market and offer them something completely different.
The 4x4 fashion market is still growing hugely, and the Terios has been one of a number of small 4x4s such as the Suzuki Jimny, Kia Sportage and Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin that have aimed to reap a share of it. The idea has been to steal sales from 'warm' hatches, mini MPVs and also from sectors where buyers were purchasing utility they didn't need. Part of the appeal is low pricing, and in the used arena this usually means nearly new cars at bargain prices. In this respect the Terios doesn't disappoint. Interested? Here's the background on Daihatsu's baby.
Though it sounds as if it could have been named after a mythical Greek God of Lifestyle 4x4s, Terios was in fact named after the Latin derivation of 'Ground'. In fact, ground zero for UK Terios sales was in August 1997, with two trim levels being made available, the base model and the Terios+. Both models shared the same 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine developing 82bhp. The following April saw the launch of a limited edition SE version, which was on sale until August.
Two months later, in October 1998, Daihatsu decided that the SE was, after all, a good idea, and installed it as a part of the range proper before withdrawing marketing support for it shortly afterwards. Since then the Terios range has remained largely unchanged, benefiting from a price cut of over £2,000 in autumn 1998.
The first major changes came in August 2000. This new model boasted styling that was a whole lot beefier, especially around the front end. There was a more aggressive looking grille, bigger bumpers, aerodynamic spoiler lips on the front bumper and revised headlamps. The most significant change however, was reserved for the engine - now a state-of-the-art 1.3-litre 16v all-alloy unit borrowed from Toyota's little Yaris. As well as revising the interior, Daihatsu also unveiled a different logic with trim levels. Out went the Terios and Terios+ designations: in came Terios E, EL and range-topping SL. A Terios Tundra special edition made a brief appearance but the range was thoroughly rationalised in April 2003.
The E model was dropped, the EL became the Tracker and the SL became the Sport. Prices were slashed and the Terios was in the best shape of its life. The all new Terios hit the streets in Spring 2006 replacing this model.