Complete Daihatsu Ceria lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

2001 Daihatsu Ceria/Perodua Kancil/Kelisa - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions2001 - 2003 Daihatsu Ceria HatchbackCeria/Perodua Kancil/Kelisa3 Trims 31 to 56 Hp

The Daihatsu Ceria is a city car five-door hatchback that was first produced in 1992. Just like a few other cars at the time it was based on a monocoque framework and used the Daihatsu Mira (specifically the L200) for its basis. It was still tweaked both cosmetically and performance-wise to differentiate itself from the Mira so it wasn’t just a straight-up rebadging job.

What we ended up with is a car that was powered by one of two available engines, a 660 cc version and an 859 cc, both three cylinders. Paired with a four-speed or a five-speed manual gearbox or a three-speed automatic gearbox. The general consensus at the time was that the Ceria had a decent performance for its price point and handled decently enough to become a successful car, especially in the Malaysian market (where it was known as the Kancil and was sold under the Perodua brand)

The general look of the car wasn’t anything special for a while, but during 2002, it received an extensive restyling that made it stand out a bit more. From now on the Ceria featured rounder headlights and taillights as well as a generally more ‘rounded’ aesthetic. While the look got updated it was still mechanically the same, with the exception of an additional variant that had an EZi automatic transmission and a fuel-injected powerplant.

On the inside, the cabin was average in terms of feel and look. None of the materials felt necessarily cheap, but there wasn’t anything to write home about either. It featured a flushed dashboard and a combination instrumentation panel that is positioned in the middle.

Over the next few years, a few more variants would come out, some of which offered more than others. For example, the 660 EX variant became the new base model, but it lacked a lot of basic features like a passenger visor, clock, radio, or even a rear wiper. As one can imagine, this was not very well received. While it’s normal for a base model to have fewer features than some of the other trims, the lack of even the most basic of amenities did not go over well.

This led to the next iterations having an upper trim level that wasn’t priced too differently from the base model but featured a lot more. It had 12-inch alloy wheels, a cd player, an upgraded body kit, and even the instrument cluster got a small revamp.

The Ceria saw its biggest successes in the Malaysian and Indonesian markets, in fact, it was its foray into the Indonesian market that gave it the Ceria name (which means happy or cheerful). It was finally discontinued in 2009 when it was replaced by the basic model of the Perodua Viva in general and was indirectly succeeded by the Daihatsu Ayla in Indonesia.

In the end of it, all the Ceria was remembered for being a really cheap vehicle (for a while it was even the cheapest new car on sale in the United Kingdom). It offered enough for such a price tag, but as mentioned before it lacked a lot of what is normally expected of a basic car. It even lacked basic safety equipment, but again the main target of this car was to offer mobility and transportation for as little a price as possible. With that last bit in mind, the Ceria did have its fair share of success. It’s hard to deny that getting a vehicle for that cheap isn’t attractive to a large portion of potential customers, who would otherwise have to spend a lot more to get the benefit of vehicular transportation.