Monday, July 9, 2012

Used Car Review - Daihatsu Feroza (1989-1999)

There are cars that have a following, and most of them are out of production. Myk Belmonte hunts such one car that a group of people love. The advise? Test drive one and you'll know why it gathered a following among a certain group of people. Off-road enthusiasts, prepare to drool for this one.

1989-1999 Daihatsu Feroza

Sold worldwide under the names of Rocky, Feroza, Sportrak, Rugger, and Fourtrak; the Daihatsu Feroza was a mini SUV (smaller than your mother's CR-V) that had off road capacities without the bulk and consuming little space. This is a niche market that only a few of these compact SUV's with that capacity are sold currently.

Manufactured between 1984 to 2002 for worldwide consumption and assembled in different parts of the globe. It provided excellent beaten path driving dynamics at a low price, it was derided for being crude and bare, but true off-road aficionados won't complain. It was replaced by the Terios in some world markets.

Asian Carmakers Corporation - the assembler and distributor of Daihatsu vehicles back then - introduced the Feroza to the Filipino market back in 1989. It was a novelty vehicle, indeed. With the ability of transforming an ordinary two-door SUV into an open top roader. Available for nearly 10 years straight, it saw success within a certain market, and with the demise of Daihatsu in the Philippines, it would be such a sight to see Terios units on the road.

Value and Costs
You'll be surprised that acquiring a Feroza is affordable, with units costing between P90,000-P180,000. Since this SUV remained unchanged throughout its selling life, it would be a diligent choice to focus on vehicle condition rather than interior features. Go with a unit that had been used as a daily commuter than something beat up and driven mostly off the road

There are some myths that Daihatsu parts are hard to find. I'll tell the truth, this is not true; with several parts that are shared with some Toyota vehicles. Be mindful about the carburetor if it functions properly, the tires must be as specified and rust must not be visible. Other than these pet peeves, maintaining one wont drain your resources.

Exterior and Interior
Curves that afflict modern compact SUV's are absent in the Feroza, in place of these are boxy angles. Adding to its macho stance is the rectangular grille work bordered by square headlamps, and the fender flares that add some assertive attitude. What others may not know (or may know) that the thick B-pillar works as a rollover protection bar. The white roof panel and rear passenger canopy can be removed if one fancies top down motoring.

The interior is bare looking, but those travelling the beaten path wouldn't mind. Front passenger space is good but the rear is best left inhabited due to legroom issues. The seats may appear thin but they assure that they have adequate support and they are adjustable.

You may say that the carburetor metered HD-C 1,589cc engine with 94hp at 5,700rpm and 127Nm at 4,800rpm won't do justice with this perky bugger. But, this HD engine (as what Daihatsu fans refer to) has 16 valves instead of eight - typical of carbureted motors, which could be explained that it generates more power and torque than ones with half the valves.  It drives effortlessly, body weight and bulk notwithstanding.

Driving Impressions
Ingress and egress is easy, despite of the high ground clearance. The distance between its under chassis and the ground is adequate if one longs for off-road excursions. Driving along, acceleration is a bit fast and easy, and handling is pointy, credit this to the recirculating-ball steering system. It handles the rough stuff with aplomb despite the short wheelbase. You think the ride is harsh? No, you'll even feel comfortable even when the tough goes rough.

This mini SUV that can handle the worst that nature throws in can be obtained at less the price when new. Parts availability is not a liability nowadays with an advent of similar Toyota parts that can be used. If your daily route involves unpaved roads, want a weekend getaway warrior, or an off-road aficionado; add this mini ute to your shopping list.

The Good:
  • Removable rear passenger canopy comes standard
  • Compact off-road companion
  • Boxy but classic exterior
The Bad:
  • Rear access is hard
  • Limited space for backseat occupants
  • Bare looking interior (real off road enthusiasts wouldn't mind that)
The Pick: Any well maintained unit

Engine: 1,589cc HD-C SOHC 16V I4 gasoline
Power: 94hp @ 5,700rpm
Torque: 127Nm @ 4,800rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 10-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone; rear leaf spring with live axle

Price (New): P320,000-P380,000 (range from 1989-1999)
Price (Now): P90,000-P180,000
Rivals: Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Vitara
On Sale: 1989-1999

Photos courtesy of


  1. thanks for this very informative review about daihatsu feroza.. i have one that has a failing carburetor..a daihatsu feroza 1989.. i don't know if the carb is still the original.. are there any carburetor from any car brands that i could use for this feroza?

    1. Good morning sir (its 12AM already)! You can fit in a Corolla engine (4A engine - in the Feroza especially Toyota parts are very very common out there.

      Try to read this link: - although this is from Malaysia, this is very informative and almost identical to what our market had before.

      Best of luck

  2. hello, i was wondering which distributos might fit better my daihatsu feroza

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