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Sporty but nice Sirion; Brit style new look.

IN SPITE of cute looks and value for money prices, Daihatsu's Clio-sized Sirion has never really cut the mustard in the burgeoning small car market since its launch a couple of years ago.

It was, perhaps, just too Japanese - but now this jauntylooking little car has been given a British-inspired makeover which should make it more appealing to UK buyers.

A major image boost should be provided by the addition of two new sporting models - including an all-wheel drive version - designed specifically for the British market.

The British importers will be hoping that these new flagship ``warm'' hatches will act like magnets to draw people to the latest Sirion range which also features fresh looks, a new highquality interior and a five-year warranty launch offer which is available on most versions.

The latest Sirion features a prominent new mesh grille with a chrome-effect slash across the top and chrome-effect bumper inserts. Similar brightwork is used on the door handles and side rubbing strips on most models.

The distinctive multi-curve headlamps are new, as is the bonnet .

Stowage space abounds inside with a new fascia boasting a central lidded storage box plus two glove boxes on the passenger side, despite the Sirion's standard twin airbags.

Both the fascia and interior plastics benefit from a much higher-quality finish featuring scratch-resistant textures. Softtouch padded door casings are standard on all models, whichalso enjoy plush new cloth seat trim with sports seats featuring extra side bolsters on most versions.

The mainstream 1.3 SL continues but there is now also a new entry level 1.3 EL version priced at pounds 7,995 on-the-road and a 1.3 `4trak' model for pounds 9,995 designed as a replacement for Subaru's discontinued Justy AWD.

But the stars of the new range are the new Sirion Rally 2 and Rally 4 which have been developed in the UK by Daihatsu's own technical department and Bedfordshirebased Auto Image Limited.

Priced at pounds 9,995 and pounds 10,995, the front wheel drive Rally 2 and allwheel-drive Rally 4 feature extensive engine, chassis and braking modifications and follow in the tradition of the much-loved Charade GTti.

Already boasting a classleading 102 PS and 88.5 lb ft torque in standard 1.3 litre form, the modified all-alloy four cylinder twin overhead camshaft engine used in the Rally models produces 111.5 PS at 6,000 rpm and 105 lb ft torque at 4,600 rpm.

Helped by Dynamic Variable Valve Timing, the engine receives a massive boost to mid-range response thanks to a free flow air filter and modified electronic control unit.

Top speed is an estimated 115 mph for the Rally 2 and 112 mph for the Rally 4 with 0-60 mph times of 7.9 and 8.9 seconds. Fuel and emission figures will be released shortly.


JAUNTY: Image should make it more appealling to UK market
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 21, 2002
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