Not revered for its good looks, the initial Daihatsu Sirion was a bit of a dark horse on the roads. Cue 2005, the bigger, sportier and more elegant Sirion could spark a small car revolution.

Not revered for its good looks, the initial Daihatsu Sirion was a bit of a dark horse on the roads. Cue 2005, the bigger, sportier and more elegant Sirion could spark a small car revolution.

Following in its predecessors “cute and fun” steps, the latest version is all that in sleek new package as it follows current European trends with flared wheel arches and vertical rear light clusters. This very nifty design direction should also translate into added sales for this car which offers great value for its price.

The car comes with two trim levels, Sirion and Sirion Sport and a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. Prices are R99 995 for the manual Sirion and R109 995 for the automatic. The manual and automatic Sport are R109 995 and R119 995 respectively.

The Sport version comes with alloys, big rally-style fog lamps and a rear spoiler. Both models, available with five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions, use the same engine. The 1,3-litre four-cylinder DOHC produces peak power of 64 kW at 6 000 r/min and peak torque of 120 N.m at 3 200 r/min.

Though not guaranteed to win any robot-to-robot races, during the recent Kwa-Zulu Natal launch, the Sirion did not feel underpowered on the road at all, even with the airconditioning blasting.

The interior is well finished with good-quality plastics and ample storage space. One the recent Kwa-Zulu Natal launch we noted a roomy shelf beneath the fascia, door pockets and six cupholders! The new dash is quite funky with the rounded speedometer and rev counter, but the odometer’s housing was somewhat small and cluttered compared with the overall look. The steering column is height adjustable but we also noticed that unlike the previous model, the automatic no longer had shift buttons on the steering wheel.

The list of standard features is extensive and includes, power steering, tuner with CD player, electric windows and exterior mirrors, rear window demister and wiper, and front seat adjustment.

ABS, driver and passenger airbags, crash sensing fuel cutoff and a collapsible steering column are some of the standard safety equipment found on the Sirion.

All prices include a three-year/100 000 km warranty and a two-year/45 000 km service plan. Service interval are set at every 15 000 km.