Review of my Daihatsu Copen L880K

This little cutie is my first car and I am really happy to have him and I am really enjoying driving him.
His name is Sachihiro (さちひろ) It is a Japanese name that means extreme happiness. I named him that because of the happiness he brought to me and because he is probably the happiest car on UK roads.
He was really far away from home and I had to take the train to Liverpool to get him, and then drive him 140 miles back home! I have already drove 230 miles in him since the 22nd of March at the time of typing this.
Anyway, the review…


Chassis Code: L880K
•659cc Inline 4
•67 HP @6,000RPM
•100NM @2,500RPM
•Red Line 8,000 RPM
•0-60 11.7 seconds
•5 Speed Manual
•Open Differential
•Front Engine Front Wheel Drive

Exterior design

Cute is the first thing that comes to my mind when I see him. There is no sign of aggression anywhere in the design. He has a small round bubbly body and a cute happy face :D
There is also a little bulge in the bonnet. Normally bonnet bulges look aggressive, but on the Copen it looks cute :3 There is also no gap between the bonnet and the windscreen. Instead there is a smooth surface and three little vents.
When the roof is off, there is a big gap between the boot and the passenger area, which doesn’t look that nice, but there is a solution. Daihatsu offered an optional tonneau cover which covers up that gap. Sachihiro-Kun didn’t get this option. Maybe I can buy one for him sometime in the future.


Although he is tiny, I think Daihatsu has done a good job of maximising luggage space considering the body style and size.
The opening to the boot is really big and wide and there are nets behind the seats and on the doors, and a pocket on the back of the passenger seat. The glove box is a decent size too. (considering the size of the dash)
There is a lockable arm rest storage and a “cup holder” behind the arm rest, and there are little places to put small things, like coins or a wallet on the dash below the radio and next to the steering wheel.
When the roof is off, the boot becomes very tiny. The space you get is from the bumper to the little luggage separator in the boot. That’s it. The boot is pretty much useless with the roof down.


Sachihiro kun is very fuel efficient. On my way home from picking him up from the dealership, he had 1/4 of a tank left. I used pretty much all of the remaining until I stopped for a refuel and drove the rest of the way home and the gauge barely moved. I did a total of 140 miles (I rounded the number because I can’t remember exactly) and he has a 40L fuel tank. so 1/4 of his tank is 10L and I used a little more than that so lets say I used 15L of fuel on the 140 mile journey. Entering that data on an mpg calculator I got 42.43 Miles to the (imperial) gallon! And I wasn’t even being as careful as I could’ve. I often revved to 5-6k rpm (I did rev to 7k once on the journey, but my dad didn’t like that, lol) even when it wasn’t really necessary.
The official figure is something like 45 MPG. I think is is very possible to get the official figure if you drive more carefully.
I’d say that’s pretty good!

Interior and comfort

Sachihiro- Kun was optioned with the leather pack, which was a £500 option at the time and it got you, Red leather seats, (or brown depending on exterior colour) Seat heating, and a Momo steering wheel.
The seats are nicely bolstered and offer good support when cornering and the seating position is low and sporty. I am 5’5” or 168cm tall and I fit well with plenty of head room to spare and all the controls are in easy reach and it doesn’t feel cramped, unless you have a passenger and are trying to change gears or use the hand brake. In that scenario, you’ll have to get used to touching your passengers hand or knee…
It’s not helped by the fact that there is only one arm rest, which is in the centre of the car.
The steering wheel can also be moved up and down a little bit, however if the wheel is lowered by any amount, it will hit my thighs, so that feature is pretty unnecessary…
On long journeys the rock hard suspension gets tiring and your bum starts to ache. You can really feel every little crack in the road.
The heater is very strong so you can drive with the roof down, even in cold weather, and the sun visors double up as a wind deflector if you flip them upwards. They actually help keep some of the wind flow above your head rather than at your face, and they somewhat help reduce wind noise.
The Clarion head unit is pretty terrible, but the sound quality is good enough for a car of this price range. (It cost around £12,000 when new in 2005) Turning up the bass a little bit in the head units settings help make the speakers sound more powerful and less tinny btw.
The A pillars are thin and you have very good forward visibility. Rear visibility is so so with the roof in place. The biggest blind spot is probably the passenger seat.
The roof is easy to operate, just unlock two latches and then press and hold the button in front of the handbrake. When he’s done, you will hear a small beep. It all takes roughly 20 seconds. The only problem is you must have the handbrake on, otherwise he wont let you operate the roof.

Driving experience

This is by far my favourite aspect of Sachihiro Kun. He is so much fun to drive!
He is easy to rev match or heal and toe because the pedals are placed nicely and it is easy to find each gear and although it isn’t the smoothest shifter, it is still fun and satisfying to use. The gear ratios are very close, and at speeds of 60mph+, sometimes you wish there was another gear. (at 70MPH the engine will be doing around 4K RPM in 5th gear)
The bellow photos give you an idea of the length of the throws. (The order of the pictures is N-3-4)

The clutch is on the heavy side Compared to modern cars but is still quite easy to use. (It is a cable system)
The engine is very willing and loves to rev. It revs smoothly and quickly all the way up to 8K and makes a nice sound and if you listen carefully, you can hear the tiny little turbo make cute little noises. There is a nice pull once the turbo kicks in (yo) at around 2,000 rpm, and peak torque is at 2,500 rpm. He feels very quick. Much quicker than he actually is.

The handling is also a strong point in the driving experience. Sachihiro kun has hydraulic power steering. The steering is fairly light. Heavier than most modern cars with electro assist that I have driven, but still easy to turn the wheels. Unlike the BMW 120D, Ford Fiesta and the Peugeot 208 GT, (which are all cars that I have driven before) Sachihiro Kun has a nice feel to the steering. The Ford and the BMW felt very numb and had next to no feel, and the Pug not much better. The steering in the Copen weights up nicely and gradually as you turn in to a corner. Also there is next to no body roll and he has very good steering response and feels very confident and stable through corners. (He even had a slow puncture on the right front wheel, and he is wearing cheap budget tires on the front wheels, but he still felt great!)
Combining the sound, pedals, gearbox, engine, handling and personality, makes for a very fun to drive car! I can’t get enough of how fun he is. Its like driving a street legal go kart. He never fails to put a huge grin on my face!

Quirks and features

•It is the smallest production hard top convertible (that I’m aware of, tell me if I’m wrong)
•Unlike a lot of kei cars, Sachihiro- Kun is a 4 banger.
•He comes with a little scissor jack, tire repair kit and pump and a mini tire iron, as well as an “emergency tool” which is basically just a little figure 8 cable with one loop being significantly smaller than the other.
•When you turn on the fog lights, it looks like he’s blushing :3
•Despite his size, he makes a nice sound.
•His turbo is absolutely tiny, but it makes a cute little noise as you accelerate :3
•The sun visors can be flipped upwards and act as a mini wind deflector. (It actually helps a little, as I have tried it at 70mph)
•It has a soft close boot. (You don’t need to slam it as it will latch itself when you close it)
•There are some cute little pictures in the owners manual.

Current problems with my Copen

No used car is without its faults, so here are the current problems with my Copen:
•Windscreen wash does not work. (Edit, my daddy fixed it while I was at school. Thanks dad! :D)
•Steering wheel is not pointing straight. The car drives perfectly straight but the steering wheel is pointing slightly to the left. I suspect that when his alignment was done by the previous owners, they made a mistake and the wheel was not perfectly straight during the alignment. I’m going to get an alignment done.
•Slow puncture. (Now repaired. The valve stem was leaking, so I had that replaced. Feels better now that the tire pressures are where they are supposed to be)
•Wheel rubbing wheel arch. The plastic inner wheel arch has a little piece sticking out and if I turn right to sharply, the wheel scrapes on it.
•I found a plastic cover and I have no idea where it belongs…
•Missing the little bag to put the tools in that came with the car.
•Front tires are cheap budget tires that NEED to go.

End of review

I hope you enjoyed this review of my little bundle of joy, Sachihiro-Kun!
If you have any questions about him, feel free to ask :D



I see you’re copen well with it, right?

I’ll see myself out

03/24/2018 - 22:27 |
7 | 1

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

We have copen your little pun.

03/24/2018 - 23:53 |
0 | 0

Nice review. Out of curiosity, what’s the insurance like? I’m very interested in one as my first car but insurance prices can be a killer here. (Apologies if you mentioned it in the post and I missed it xD)

03/24/2018 - 22:52 |
1 | 0

My current insurance (learner insurance. It becomes invalid as soon as I pass my test) costs something like £450 anually. (Im currently paying around £45 ish mothly + the upfront cost) I also have quotes for non learner insurance which costs around £800.
The thing is, your insurance prices depends on lots of different factors

03/24/2018 - 23:31 |
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You sure the cover is for something in the Copen? Could just be left over.

03/24/2018 - 23:28 |
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Maybe, but I dont really have any way of knowing for sure…

03/24/2018 - 23:32 |
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I found out what it was for. It was a cover for the side of the electric tire pump that came with the car

03/25/2018 - 21:35 |
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Porsche 959 (CarThrottle's only Facel Vega fanboy, still act

He’s adorable! And also the polar opposite of my potential first car, which is probably going to be some 90s GM land yacht. I’m an 6 foot 2 inch American guy and I’d look like a circus bear in a Copen but I’d love to drive one someday.

03/24/2018 - 23:39 |
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Wonderful Blogpost Aaron! May I ask why is there a giant L on your car? It looks like teasing material. I also name my car. It’s name is Hachi-Roku named after the AE86.

Also, if you can, please read my Blog Post about my 86. I’d appreciate it.

03/25/2018 - 02:34 |
1 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

In the uk, learner drivers or provisional licence holders must display a giant red L on the front and back of the car.
As soon as I pass my driving test I will have to remove the L plates, and I can choose to display a green P instead to indicate that Im a new driver. The P plates are optional.

03/25/2018 - 08:37 |
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Fantastic little car! My Ford has the same alignment problem, but it shouldn’t be too expensive to fix. (Those diagrams are adorable btw)

03/25/2018 - 08:55 |
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Nice review! Wondering should i make one myself, last autumn i passed my drivers test, here in Finland we have to have these white triangles and extra mirrors to warn other road users.

03/25/2018 - 12:58 |
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Lootwig | Galant Lover

The copen is the only cute car with two mid-placed exhaust pipes

03/25/2018 - 21:07 |
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Oh yeah, I never thought about that

03/25/2018 - 21:34 |
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Max Schröder

I‘m 181cm, and once rode shotgun in one.
I looked half through and half over the windscreen, and couldn’t have driven it because without a snap-off I wouldn’t have gotten my leg past the wheel.

Side note:
Here in Germany they are really cheap because nobody wants them, so importing one might actually be an option for people from GB

05/20/2018 - 10:29 |
0 | 0

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