June 25, 2015 @ 06:16 PM

Legends and Legacies: Daihatsu Copen

The modern interpretation of the kei-sports car comes in the form of the Daihatsu Copen.

(image source: conceptcarz.com)
The modern interpretation of the kei-sports car comes in the form of the Daihatsu Copen. 
Alright so this might not fit in with the legacy part of our throwback feature, but the Copen is very much the similar to the Mazda AZ-1, Honda Beat and Suzuki Cappuccino. The Copen came a few years after its competitors were axed but the car is part of the famous kei sports car category that the other three fall into.
The Copen made its world debut in the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show as a concept, a few years before the official launch in 2002 as a production car. Although, it came along in the new millennium Daihatsu saw fit to give the car classic lines with a modern twist. So the Copen channels the 1950s, very unlike its already axed competitor that fits in with even in the modern day crowd.
Measuring at 3395mm long, 1475mm wide and 1245mm high, makes the Copen longer and wider than its counterparts but the car has a lower ground clearance at 105mm compared to the others. The first generation Copen initially had a 660cc turbocharged engine that meets the Japanese kei-car regulations but as Daihatsu had plans for the export market the turbocharged engine was exchanged in favour of a more emission friendly engine. 

(image source: convertiblecarmagazine.com)
So instead of a turbocharged engine that dispenses 63bhp at 6000rpm and a maximum torque of 110Nm at 3200rpm mated to a five-speed manual to power the front wheels, Daihatsu swapped out the turbocharger and replaced it with a more powerful 1.3-litre engine for the Euro market only. Of course, Daihatsu also had one version fitted out with an automatic transmission with both engine choices and sold in both continents.
The Copen has the longest running life cycle out of all the traditional kei-sport cars. Ten years to be exact since the car debuted in 2002 and the company announced that they would stop productions in 2012. Daihatsu even revealed a facelift for the Copen in 2005 five years into its production, two new trim levels were offered then, known as the 1.3l and the “ZZ”.
But the Copen did not remain out of production for long. Within a year of the car’s discontinuation, Daihatsu announced that they will reproduce the Copen and introduced a new generation. In 2014, the brand new Copen or now known as Kopen was introduced at as a production car once again. So now kei-sport car lovers now have a choice of two modern kei-sport cars, the Daihatsu Kopen and the brand new Honda S660!

Jerrica Leong

(image source: carandclassic.co.uk)

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