Daihatsu Copen: The Mix and Match Convertible
Fully kitting-out your car is a pipe dream for many auto enthusiasts, but with custom modifications come one-off car problems. Japan’s next-generation Daihatsu Copen skirts those issues in a simple and unique way that we could all grow to love. The tiny kei-car, which is still undergoing the final phases of testing, will feature thirteen fully removable and customizable body panels that can be interchanged to match the customer’s style. Dress it up, down, or however which way. It’s all an option. PHOTOS: Check out pics of the outgoing Daihatsu Copen
Like its predecessor, the Copen must abide by Japan’s kei-car regulations; designed to ease congestion and emissions in Japan’s cramped urban motorways. The regulations constrict size and engine capacity, which has historically led to unattractive rolling shoeboxes, but Daihatsu looks to turn this negative restriction into a positive asset.
The Copen’s front-wheel drive chassis has been strengthened and tuned to give a sportier feel. Performance comes in the form of a turbocharged 660cc engine, producing a kei-car limited 63-horsepower, and mated to a new five-speed manual or CVT gearbox. This doesn’t exactly sound particularly exciting, but in a car expected to weigh-in well below 1,800 pounds, it should be frisky enough to get from light-to-light in a hair-raising fashion.
PHOTOS: See pics of the Daihatsu Terios Offroader
In testing, the Copen achieved an incredible 59 mpg fitted with its CVT transmission and 52 mpg with the five-speed manual. Package those pick-and-choose looks with sky-high efficiency and you’ve got yourself a neat little car. Sadly, the US won’t be seeing any of these pint-sized convertibles any time soon.
PHOTOS: Check out pics of the Daihatsu Charade