- We like...Enthralling to drive
- We don't...Dash looks cheap
The Copen is super-cute and a blast to drive. It also packs a clever folding metal-and-glass roof. We love it. This is a car to have fun with. It’s a fizzy open top that, to understand how teeny it is, you must see it in the metal. Park it next to a MX-5 roaster and the Mazda'll look like a truck.
But don’t mistake the Copen for a novelty. It may be little, and rely on a 1.3 motor from the Sirion supermini. But it is amazingly direct, nimble and quick. You sit so low that even ambling along feels rapid. The ride is firm but fits its character. And the steering is the ‘think-and-you’re-there’ type, so just a twitch of the wheel is enough to fling it through a bend. The 1.3 revs naughtily while the pretty Momo wheel feels right. There may only be 86bhp on tap, but it’s enough.
The car’s party piece is when you go roofless. To remove its steel top, you pop two catches on the screen header rail, then push a button between the seats. The Copen then flips open its boot and shuffles roof and rear screen into the luggage space. 20sec later you have a neat, pert roadster, complete with a pair of classy chromed roll-hoops. It’s as clever as a Mercedes SLK but at a fraction of the price.
Roof folded it feels solid and rattle-free and the cabin stays calm and breeze-less, thanks in part to a solid, expensive-looking glass wind diffuser fixed between the roll hoops. Top up, it feels secure and shuts out most wind and road roar . The cabin can’t help but be cosy with two aboard but it remains civilised if both are skinny. Daihatsu boasts that even six-footers can get comfortable at the wheel: we don’t doubt that, but they’d also feel quite hemmed in.
The dash looks cheap and old fashioned, while the controls are scattered about – the switches for the electric mirrors are towards the centre of the dash, for example, while that for the heated rear screen is to the far right. But none of that matters in a car costing £10,995. And the kit fitted as standard is terrific: remote locking, air conditioning, front fog lamps, alloy wheels and electric windows.
Boot space is good: you can get a couple of big squashy bags in there, or a week’s groceries. But it shrinks to nothing when the roof’s lowered. Ever thoughtful, Daihatsu has fitted a fabric blind to divide off the space the roof needs. Trouble is, though, that the roof takes all but a slim shelf-space.
Should you buy one? Look at what else £12,000 gets. An upmarket supermini, like a VW Polo, or else one of the very cheapest small hatchbacks. Sensible, for sure. But not much fun.
For the price, no other new car is as clever, or as much of a blast to drive. Be warned: the Copen is addictive – drive it and you’ll be nagging yourself to get one.
- 0-60 mph9.4sec
- Insurance groups9
Motors.co.uk value verdict: