Daihatsu ESSE Review

Posted In : Reviews
(added 08 Jun 2018)

This time we took a Daihatsu ESSE for review.


ESSE name stands for Eco, Smart, Simple & Easy. This car was first launched in 2005 and it stayed in production till 2011. The idea of this car was to offer the cheapest brand new Kei car to Japanese people. The production was limited for Japanese local market however those cars were later exported as used cars to other countries including Pakistan.

The idea and purpose of this car was to make an affordable car for day to day city running and this car just did that. After 2011 this was discontinued along with a few other 660cc cars of Daihatsu to avoid cannibalizing the sales of Daihatsu Mira.


This car comes with a dual overhead cam 3 cylinder 660cc engine that produces 57hp and 65nm torque. The car is offered with 5 speed manual or 3 & 4 speed automatic transmission options. The option of getting front wheel drive & 4 wheel drive was also available to choose from.


Variants offered were called Eco, D, L & X, where X was top of the line variant while the one we reviewed was L which came with power windows but didn’t come with remote control door mirrors which were limited to X.


The car comes fairly loaded for what it offers. All the safety features like ABS brakes, SRS Airbags etc are available in the car. Apart from that the car comes standard with a hydraulic power steering unlike the electronic power steering that other cars of this type are equipped with. The car we reviewed was L package thus it did come with power windows, central locking and headlight adjustment however it didn’t offer power door mirrors.


This is a small car which means there will be some cutting corners when it comes to space, luckily the space saving was done in trunk department and not passenger cabin area which works with the purpose of this car. This car is made for day to day city commuting where you don’t need to load a lot of luggage but you do need good & comfortable space to sit in the car.

Turn Offs

The looks of the car are a major turn off, if I’m to say then the car doesn’t look good from any angle infect this car looks like something taken out of a cartoon movie.

Fuel Economy

While conducting our tests this car gave a fuel average of 15 km / liter with air-condition on which is very impressive.

Test Drive

Daihatsu ESSE comes with a hydraulic power steering which is itself outdated now so the power steering didn’t feel as light as the ones we are used to these days. The pickup of this car was better than a few other 660cc cars that I’ve reviewed recently and that could be because of the fact that this car is lighter compared to others. The visibility and handling of this car is very good and while driving it I could see why this car was such a success in Japan.


When these cars were being imported a few years back you could easily get an unregistered one for under seven hundred thousand (700,000) but now with the inflation and other car prices fluctuation; a registered Daihatsu Esse costs anywhere between six to eight hundred thousand rupees (600,000 to 800,000)


Daihatsu ESSE is a simple car with simple purpose; it’s a car to use when you want to move from point A to point B without much of a hassle. That’s what the car is made for and that is what the car does. This car is neither fancy nor does it offer a lot of features which is fine because if someone wanted a fancy car then they would spend some extra money and get a better car and look at other options. This car wasn’t built for that.

One more thing worth mentioning over here is that this car only got successful in Japan because it was the cheapest brand new car available at that time. Similarly in India Tata Nano was launched with same idea of offering the cheapest car to public which failed miserably, the reason of Tata Nano failing was that in our region people buy cars when they want to show that they have money and they don’t want to be associated with the cheapest car. So had this car or any other car been launched in our country with a tag line of cheapest brand new car that car would’ve failed miserably only because people want to pretend they have money even if they don’t. The best part of all this is that the cost cutting was done on luxuries and not the essentials much like Pakistan where ABS is removed from a base model and only offered in the top of line variant.

Looks & styling – 5/10

The exterior of this car looks like a car from 90s era, there is absolutely no design element in this car. You get a simple door handle with a key stock under it. You don’t get that in cars of today. Interior is much better compared to exterior which is why the car is able to score a 5, all the credit of this score goes to the interior of this car.

Features – 5/10

Again this car offers a lot of features but it’s not quiet there in terms of features, compared to other cars of the same era this cars misses a lot of bells and whistles.

Practicality – 6/10

Practicality is strong with this car when you’re looking for a daily runner but this car lacks a few things like luggage space or lack of a split folding rear seat.

Value for money – 6/10

For the price that you pay for this car, you get a lot of car for that amount and when you look at what’s offered in comparison then there aren’t many options that come with these options and are equally aged.

Easy to maintain – 4/10

While engine and suspension parts are easily available since it is a Daihatsu product the situation isn’t quite the same when it comes to body parts, since these cars weren’t imported in big numbers you may find it difficult to source its body parts, infect this car may be a nightmare to maintain in next few years as they get older.

Resale – 4/10

At this time this car has a decent resale however things will go down as the car gets old because the older it gets the harder it’ll be to maintain this car and then it’ll keep getting less and less desirable for buyers.

Fun to drive – 3/10

This car is made for commuting and this isn’t a car that targets people who want to enjoy their cars. It is a decent and comfortable car however there’s only so much fun you can get out of a 660cc 3 cylinder engine.

Comfort – 4/10

This car is decently comfortable but I wouldn’t say this is the most comfortable car on the road, this car is good for a short journey within the city but it’ll get uncomfortable the moment you try to take it on a highway.

Quality – 4/10

The term quality itself is debatable here; you see the car didn’t get the premium materials to keep the prices low, but the material it got isn’t flimsy or bad material, you can say this car has cheap materials but good quality materials.

Total - 41/90

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(added 08 Jun 2018) / 2160 views

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