Complete Daihatsu Charade lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1994 Daihatsu Charade IV (G200) - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1994 - 2000 Daihatsu Charade SedanCharade IV (G200)8 Trims 75 to 105 Hp 1993 Daihatsu Charade IV Com (G200) - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1993 - 2000 Daihatsu Charade HatchbackCharade IV Com (G200)7 Trims 75 to 105 Hp 1988 Daihatsu Charade III - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1987 - 1992 Daihatsu Charade HatchbackCharade III9 Trims 37 to 101 Hp 1984 Daihatsu Charade II (G11,G30) - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1983 - 1987 Daihatsu Charade HatchbackCharade II (G11,G30)4 Trims 37 to 68 Hp 1977 Daihatsu Charade I (G10) - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1977 - 1983 Daihatsu Charade HatchbackCharade I (G10)2 Trims 50 to 55 Hp

The Daihatsu Charade is a supermini car that was introduced in 1977 and managed to stay an active participant on the market for over 35 years before being finally discontinued and succeeded by the Daihatsu Storia/Sirion. Four generations were produced during that time that saw quite a few changes over the years and even a few funkier one-off attempts at a unique offering. As expected with a car with a longer history, it’s always interesting to note the numerous design philosophy changes that occurred over the decades and how they influenced a specific model.

The very first generation was offered as a five-door hatchback and was powered by a 993 cc three-cylinder engine and paired with a four/five-speed automatic gearbox. A 3-door hatchback was also offered and the Charade became an overnight success, specifically in Japan, where the ever tighter emission standards made it hard for a lot of vehicles to succeed. This led to Daihatsu pushing for quite a few changes and upgrades over the years in an attempt to keep the car in the limelight, without boring customers away.

Over the second and third generations, the Charade saw quite a few variations. From options for a turbocharged engine to a 5-door notchback version and even a 3-door panel van variation made for The Netherlands market. The final and most modern, fourth-generation saw less variety and a more streamlined selection. Both a hatchback design and a sedan design were offered with this generation and both were noticeably larger than their predecessors' thanks to their longer wheelbase. Despite that, the fourth generation Charade was still pretty compact in comparison to a lot of other cars on the market.

The engine options for the final editions were a 1.3L, 1.5L, or a 1.6L four-cylinder engine that was paired with a 5-speed manual or a 3 and 4-speed automatic gearboxes. Performance is at its best with these, especially on the GTi model that had the 1.6L engine.

Regardless of generation, the Charade was almost always fun to drive, offered surprisingly good power despite its mostly tiny engine, and was really cheap to run. Being a consistently reliable model meant that it had mostly great sales figures throughout the years which is what kept it on the market for so long.

On the outside, the Charade was never a looker, but it almost always managed to be fun. On the later models, the interior featured as standard a cd player, cloth seat trimming, electric mirrors, and folding rear seats. Both a driver and passenger side airbag were also included by default. Optional side airbags and air conditioning were available on some of the offered trim levels.

The success and long existence on the market led to the Charade being sold in different markets under different nameplates. Many variations over the years were made exclusively for specific countries and the Charade even saw a ton of Chinese copies and derivatives in attempts to capture some of its success. It also managed to become the standard basis for the Beijing taxicabs for almost 15 years.

Just like with so many of Daihatsu’s offerings, the Charade was for the most part an attractively cheap package that got you a small, but spacious car that was perfect for denser and tighter city driving. The low cost did not result in skimping on equipment nor did it become an excuse for bad performance. The steering was enjoyable, the performance surprising and the car would serve most owners for a long time. Even though a lot can be lacking, it’s just easy to overlook when you consider the really low price tag. But then again this is something that Daihatsu has perfected over the years.