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Reader test: Daihatsu YRV Turbo

2011-01-10 08:35

NOT PERFECT, BUT...: Wynand's Daihatsu has a number of endearing qualities. His "party pieces", though, are its steering wheel-mounted shift buttons.

Wynand Steyn

I was looking for something reliable and out of the ordinary to replace my Renault Clio dCi, and after test driving the YRV my mind was made up.  

My car has a full service history and with 78 000km on the clock, the front discs, 1 console LED and battery were replaced. With services and parts being cheap, Daihatsus are very reliable and with Toyota part numbers all over the car I know that they won’t just up and disappear overnight.  

Being able to adjust the rear bench for more legroom or cargo makes the YRV versatile for loading all kinds of items. Rear passengers also enjoy the fact that they can adjust the backrest and tilt the seat to their liking.

I can easily load two mountain bikes (by removing the front wheels) and paraphernalia with space to spare. There is no luggage cover for added security.

Seats are comfortable and although the YRV looks small from the outside, there is more than enough space and headroom on the inside.

Plastics are good quality with rattles over coarse road surfaces.


The YRV has the following standard features: 1.3l intercooled turbocharged VVT, four-speed automatic transmission with steer shift, power steering, electric windows all round, electric mirrors, air conditioner, ABS with EBD, two front airbags, the driver’s seat is height adjustable, adjustable headlights and front/rear fog lights.

The radio/CD player and central locking/alarm is not factory fitted which seems a bit odd taking the YRV’s initial new purchase price into consideration.

The wheel and tyre combination is not standard; I replaced the Yokohama 195/45R15 with Michelin 195/50R15 to improve the ride.

The party pieces are the steering wheel-mounted shift buttons. The placement on the steering wheel could have been better, but in general use they are fine.

The normal auto’ box settings are not user friendly and it hunts when driving in town. Using steer shift is much better as shifts happen immediately and you can decide when to change up or down. It has a warning beep to remind you to shift up when it hits the rev limiter and won’t allow you to downshift if the revs will rise beyond 5350rpm.


At times I have to remind myself that it is only a 1.3l; standard factory figures are 95kW and 170Nm.

Out of the blocks there is turbo lag, but from second gear onward it pulls strongly and weighing less than 1000kg provides excellent performance.

Overtaking slower vehicles is easy and I often find yourself over the speed limit before you know it. You can hear the turbo spooling up and the kick in the back is very addictive, but this has a direct impact on fuel economy.  

On the open road keeping to the national limit, I average 14km/l. In town driving the average is between 8km/l and 10km/l. One year of ownership has been stress-free and I look forward to many more kilometres.

Inside Wheels24

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