Though Daihatsu may be out of sight out of mind for many Americans, due to its several-decade-long American hiatus, it is actually alive, well, and thriving in smaller markets, like Indonesia. Most Daihatsu vehicles are very utilitarian, providing little thrill and tons of functionality, but it looks as if Daihatsu may be working its way toward a new area with its latest D-R Concept.
At the 2012 Indonesian International Motor Show in Jakarta, Toyota subsidiary, Daihatsu, unveiled its all-new D-R Concept roadster. The exact details on the model are still a little scarce and the chances of it hitting the market are positioned somewhere between hell freezing over and the day it rains frogs, but the concept at least gives you an idea of the direction Daihatsu is looking to take its automobiles.
Currently, the most popular Daihatsu is overwhelmingly the Xenia, a compact 7-passenger MPV, and this roadster is anything but the Xenia.
Click past the jump to read more about the D-R Concept.
The first thing that is striking about the D-R Concept is the fact that the body panels are resin-based, not metallic, so they resist dents like Saturn once did and they are fully interchangeable, so you can quickly customize it. This super-compact car boasts a wide front grille outlined in a matte grey with a mesh-like insert. The sharply angled headlights are underlined by louvered air-intake vents and a blue bar runs up the side of the vent, giving it an intimidating stare that you wouldn’t expect from a kei car.
Down the side of the D-R, there’s a high beltline that rises as you approach the rear end. The side door handle is hidden inside an indentation in the rear of the door, giving that side a clean finish and the shallow-raked windshield gives the side profile a nice overall look – even though the windshield looks a hair too big for the car. At the corners, there is a set of silver rims donning body-color accents to tie it all together.
At the back end, you’ll find a set of flag-shaped taillight that fit the contour of the car’s rump perfectly. The rear fascia boasts a lower grille with the same mesh insert and matte grey surrounding as its counterpart on the front end. At the base of the rear fascia, there’s a stylish center-exit exhaust system that allows this kei car’s petite powerplant to exhale.
Inside, the customer gets a very clean and unexpectedly elegant package. The seats, steering wheel, dashboard, and gear shifter are all draped in a medium brown leather that is accented by the lighter brown base color. The steering wheel features a light grey center section and paddle shifters.
The center stack is neatly arranged with limited buttons on a gloss-black panel. Surrounding the gloss black is a silver bezel that adds just enough contrast to make this section stand out. Just above the center stack, you have an LCD screen that we could only imagine is used for the Daihatsu’s audio system.
Behind the steering wheel is an LCD-based instrument panel that is clean and easy to read.
The details of the engine are very limited. All we know is that it is a 660 cc, 2-cylinder turbocharged engine. Considering the power output by similarly powered kei cars, we anticipate that the engine produces upwards of 70 horsepower, which is likely more than enough for this car, as we figure it cannot weight more than 2,000 lbs.
Though the engine specifics are not known, Daihatsu does claim that this is a fully functioning model that runs and drives like a production vehicle. This means that this 2-cylinder powerplant will likely find its way into some production models in the coming future.
Pricing and Release Date
Daihatsu has made it clear that the D-R Concept will not hit production and has therefore not placed any anticipated price on it.
It’s a really cool concept, but it is unfortunate that it will only remain a glimmer in some designer’s eye. Maybe in the future, Daihatsu will again expand to other markets, making this car a possibility. As it sits now, the developing market countries simply cannot support a model like this.
- Stylish exterior is nothing like any Daihatsu we’ve seen
- Elegantly designed interior
- 2-cylinder engine likely sips fuel
- No possibility of production
- Daihatsu has absolutely no plans of expansion any time soon
- Oddly large windshield