New Daihatsu Taft ready for production

At the end of last year, Daihatsu opened a can of new and mostly crazy little ones during the Tokyo Auto Salon. Among those newcomers was also a model that would at least be a production version: the Taft Concept. It is that brave micro-SUV of which Daihatsu is now showing the production version.

To be honest, two fronts of the production-ready Taft are not a surprise. The green copy is almost identical to the Taft Concept in the same color as it was in Tokyo last year (photo 3). The most striking difference is the lower edge of the front bumper. The Taft Concept here had a silver colored part that pretended to be a skid plate. The muzzle of the blue Taft has to do without the fake grille of its green brother placed between the headlights. Japanese manufacturers often supply two optical flavors of their kei-cars, a regular variant and a ‘Custom’ -like version with a more pronounced design.

Daihatsu is busy restoring old model names. In early 2019, Daihatsu brought back the model name Rocky, although the brand also affixed the familiar name here, not on the back of a rugged offroader, but on a relatively mild-looking crossover. An ancestor of that ancient Rocky was the 1974 Taft, a car whose name stood for Tough and almighty Four-wheel Touring. The very compact all terrain vehicle in the style of cars like the Suzuki SJ’s – the founding father of the Samurai / Jimny – was taken out of production in the mid-eighties. In any case, his name returns this year, on a kei-car with an angular body that is finished with SUV-like details.

The Taft, like the Taft Concept and many of its relatives, will remain just below the 3.4 meter boulder car limit. The Taft Concept was 1.63 meters high and 1.48 meters narrow, values ​​that you can transfer almost one to one to the production version. Under the hood undoubtedly a maximum 660 cc petrol engine that will be available without and with turbo.

Daihatsu is targeting cars like the Suzuki Hustler with the Taft, also a narrow high and semi-off-road-like kei-car that was recently helped to a new generation. Then there is of course the Jimny, a car of which there is also a version in Japan with a small blown turbo engine that is narrower than the European one, due to the lack of flattened wheel arch edges. This variant meets the kei-car requirements in Japan and can therefore also be seen as a competitor of the new Taft, although the Jimny seems to be a more off-road model. Mitsubishi offers the eK X in the Hustler segment.

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