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[ Daihatsu Mira ]
[ The Daihatsu Mira (ダイハツ·ミラ) 1980 to the present day ]
The Daihatsu Mira, also known as the Cuore, Domino, and more recently Charade, is built by Daihatsu and comes with a variety of options and chassis variations, with the latest variant having four models, the ‘Mira‘, ‘Mira Avy‘, ‘Mira Gino‘ & ‘Mira Van‘. The Mira is the latest successor to the line of cars which began with the Daihatsu Fellow of 1966 and was originally introduced as the commercial version of the Daihatsu Cuore. It is manufactured at Ōsaka in the Kansai region of Japan. Outside Japan, the Mira has also been offered with an 850 cc engine. In Australia, the 2-seater version was marketed as the Daihatsu Handivan and later as the Daihatsu Handi. The name ‘mira‘ is Latin meaning ‘goal‘ or ‘purpose‘.
2006 Daihatsu: (Mira Custom)
[ History ]
The Daihatsu Mira and Cuore replaced the Daihatsu Max Cuore in July 1980. This was replaced by the 2nd Generation (L70) of the Mira/Cuore which was introduced in 1985. For most generations there were two engine sizes available, one smaller version, to suit Japanese domestic regulations, of either 550 cc or 660 cc, and a bigger-engined version for export markets. The L200 variant (1990 – 1994), for instance, came with a 3-cylinder 660 cc engine with 40-64 PS (29-47 kW) in Japan, while other parts of the world received an 847 cc unit. The L500 Mira is the first kei car from Daihatsu to offer a 4-cylinder 660cc engine.
(L55) Series 1G (1980 – 1985)
In July 1980, the Daihatsu Mira and Cuore arrived to replace the Daihatsu Max Cuore. A certain amount of confusion arises from the fact that this, the (L55) series, was the 1st Generation Daihatsu Mira but is usually considered the 2nd generation of the Cuore and that the Mira was originally marketed as the ‘Mira Cuore‘. The range was facelifted lightly in May 1982, when the Mira dropped the Cuore portion of its name. Also new was the sporty 5-speed MGX, 3–door only, fitted with radial tyres. The autoclutch ‘Daimatic‘ transmission was replaced by a fully automatic 2-speed unit at the same time. In October 1983, turbocharged and 4-wheel drive versions of the Mira Van were made available.
The Daihatsu Mira: (L55/L60)
The L55 series was sold with two main engines, the 2-cylinder AB10 unit of 547 cc, and the slightly larger 617 cc AD unit which was installed in the export only L60 Cuore. They both featured twin balancing shafts, producing a smoothness and silent operations on a par with a traditional 4-cylinder engine. In tests, the 617 cc version of the car received acclaim for its refinement as well as its ‘lively‘ character and ‘enthusiastic‘ performance when compared to European competitors such as the Fiat Panda 30 and the Citroën Visa Club, both also with 2-cylinder engines. The main issue was cost, the balance-shaft equipped bi-cylinder supposedly cost as much to build as a conventional 4-cylinder engine. The car was also commended by ‘Quattroruote‘ for its agile city driving characteristics, although it could hardly be considered fully fit for the autostrada. The 30 PS (22 kW) ‘big‘ version had a top speed of 120 kph (75 mph).
The (L55) Cuore 5-door: (In Greece)
The bigger engine was introduced in the second half of 1982, as part of a push by Daihatsu to push its European exports. In some markets, the two engines were both available. In Belgium, for instance, they were sold as the Cuore 550 for the small version and as the Cuore 623/625, depending on which bodywork was fitted. The Cuore sold well in both Argentina and Chile in 1980, 4,300 cars were shipped, but economic hardship there led to a cancellation of exports by 1982.
The (L55) Mira 3-door: (rear-view)
In 1983 the Mira Turbo appeared. Only available in the Japanese market, and only as a commercial vehicle, it had a carburetted and turbocharged version of the little 2-cylinder engine. This was enough for 41 PS (30 kW) and a resulting top speed of 130 kph (81 mph). Giovanni Michelotti used this generation Cuore as the basis for the ‘Michelotti PAC‘ prototype (Personal Automotive Commuter) shown at Geneva in 1985. The (L55) made way for the (L70) in August 1985.
(L70) Series 2G (1985 – 1990)
The Mira Parco 2G: (very late 1990)
The 2nd generation (L70) Mira/Cuore appeared in August 1985. It had a longer wheelbase and a new generation of 3-cylinder engines replacing the previous 2-cylinder AB versions. Displacement of the new EB engines remained exactly the same, at 547 cc.
The Daihatsu Mira (L70): (rear-view)
The Japanese market had commercial versions of the Mira, which sold alongside Cuore passenger car versions. The commercials had temporary rear seats which fold completely flat, and are easily recognised by luggage rails in the rear side windows. As for the previous generation, a version with switchable 4WD was available for the ‘Van‘ version, chassis code (L71V). The engines were originally carburetted, and either naturally aspirated or turbocharged with an intercooler. These offered 38 PS (28 kW) and 52 PS (38 kW) respectively. The turbo version was originally only available as a Mira 3-door commercial, and was introduced 2 months after the regular version. Transmissions were either 4 or 5-speed manuals, or 2-speed automatic.
The Daihatsu Mira (walk-through van)
In January 1986, a 5-door ‘Van‘ Mira version was added. A ‘Walk-Through Van‘ version, using the regular bonnet combined with near square rear bodywork, appeared 2 months later. In August 1987, the Mira/Cuore received a minor facelift with a new grille and bonnet, as well as some other detail changes all making for a smoother appearance overall. Two months later a permanent 4WD version was made available for the turbocharged version. After having undergone another minor change in October 1988, a 50 PS turbocharged Mira Sedan TR/CR series for passenger use was also made available as a 5-door version. 500 Mira Sedan TR-XX Limited Editions were also sold. Japanese production of the (L70) series ended when the new 660 cc (L200) version was introduced in March 1990 in response to new regulations for the kei class. This also marked the end of the division of the line into Mira and Cuore, as the Cuore nameplate was retired in Japan with the introduction of the new model.
[ T h a i l a n d ]
Daihatsu Miracab: (Thai built)
Daihatsu’s Thai arm carried on producing the (L70) series after it was replaced in Japan. In addition to the regular version, they also developed a ‘Ute‘ (utility) version for the pickup hungry Thai domestic market from 1990 – 1995, called the ‘Mira P1‘. This was built with a pickup bed, tail gate and redesigned taillights. The Mira Pickup was extremely popular, with Daihatsu’s Thai sales jumping by 50% as a result. Coming full circle, and mirroring the development of the SUV, Daihatsu also developed the ‘Mira P4‘, a roofed 4-seater wagon version of this micro-ute. Some P4’s retained the pickup’s fold down tailgate, adding a top-hinged glass, while some had a top-hinged 1-piece tailgate. Later, there was an extended cab 2+2-seater Ute the ‘Daihatsu Miracab‘ and also a hatchback with an enlarged rear end, called the ‘Mint‘.
[ The Philippines ]
In 2004, a Philippine company revived the Mira Pickup, it was built locally and sold as the ‘Norkis Legacy‘. A panel van version was also available, as well as a 4-door double cab with a very short bed. Unlike the original (L70) Mira, they had the later 659 cc EF engine which was also available to run on LPG. It is longer and heavier than the original, with the original 2-seat pickup weighing in at 900 kg (1,984 lb) and 3,630 mm (143 in) long.
(L200) Series 3G (1990 – 1994)
The L200/201 Mira was the 3rd and most popular generation of the vehicle, offered in a large number of variants. In the Japanese domestic market the Cuore name was dropped, as the differences between passenger and commercial versions were narrowed. The front-wheel drive (L200) was produced with the Mira badge from the spring of 1990 until at least 1998, but the platform has lived on under other names. (L201) was the chassis code used on export market cars, usually labelled Cuore.
Daihatsu Mira (L200): (three-door)
As with most Kei-cars, the 200-series came in two primary variants, the ‘V‘ series is a windowed van style and is intended for light commercial use. This variant featured a fold down rear bench seat without seat belts. The ‘S‘ series, intended for private use, is largely similar but the larger, more comfortable rear seats are equipped with belts and are further to the rear of the vehicle with more leg room. While the seats still fold down, unlike the ‘V‘, the ‘S‘ does not offer a flat loading floor. These characteristics are due to Japanese tax preferences for commercial vehicles, which only allow for temporary accommodation in the rear and demand a flat loading floor. The range received a very subtle facelift of a more rounded overall appearance for 1993, it included altered front and rear lights, bumpers, and a new bonnet and front seats. This version was available to Japanese customers from August 1992 and also incorporated some changes to the lineup, including the new RV-4 model with crossover pretensions. Turbocharged automatics now received a 4–speed transmission.
Daihatsu Cuore 3-door: (rear-view)
The Mira could either be equipped with a 3–speed automatic, or 4 or 5–speed manual transmission. A 4WD variant known as the (L210) was also available in ‘V‘ or ‘S‘ models, but only with the 5–speed manual. An electronically fuel-injected 12-valve, 4-valves per cylinder turbo was the range topper, whereas the normally aspirated base versions made do with a 1-barrel carburetor. There was also a version with mechanical 4-wheel steering, the (L220), so far the only kei-car to feature this option.
The Mira X4R
To break the stranglehold of the Suzuki Alto Works on the All-Japan Rally Championship, the Mira X4R was developed in 1991. It had a strengthened engine with a forged crankshaft and flywheel and other detail improvements, a close-ratio gearbox and various chassis improvements. Equipment was stripped, with a minimal interior and diagonal tyres since everything would be altered by competitors. The Group ‘A‘ X4R was sold at a rate of about 10 units / month at a price about 20% higher than the regular X4. Noriyuki Hotta won the class championship in 1992.
Daihatsu Mira facelift model: (walk-through van)
A taller, highly customisable 2–seat Step-Van variant ‘Walk-Through Van‘ was also produced, solely for the Japanese market. This reached the maximum height allowed for kei-cars at 2 metres.
(L500) Series 4G (1994 – 1998)
Mira (L500): (5-door)
Production of the (L500) Mira started in September 1994. The design of the car was slightly altered throughout but retained the look similar to that of the (L200). The (L500) Mira was badged outside Japan primarily as the (L501) Cuore. The 200 series Mira ceased sales in Japan but continued in some other markets, where it received the same engine updates as did the export market (L500).
Mira Moderno Parco (facelift): (1996 – 1998)
In the Japanese market the ‘Mira Moderno‘, a separate range of non-commercial cars was added in October 1995. This range received a minor facelift in May 1996, which was extended to the rest of the range in May 1997. In August 1997 the ‘Mira Classic‘ was added, a retro-look version. The Classic was available with naturally aspirated engines of 40 PS (29 kW) as a front-wheel drive, 55 PS (40 kW) with 4WD, or a turbocharged option with 64 PS (47 kW). The Classic was succeeded by the equally retro-designed ‘Mira Gino‘ which was based on the 5th Generation (L700).
Daihatsu Mira: (Hello Kitty version)
In January 1998, in cooperation with ‘Sanrio‘, a ‘Hello Kitty‘ version of the Mira Moderno appeared. This was available in pastel colours and received various Hello Kitty details throughout the car, such as a Hello Kitty ignition key.
Mira 4G: (rear-view)
The (L500) was Daihatsu’s first kei class vehicle to feature a 4–cylinder engine, with the option of the new JB series engine. When equipped with this engine, the model code became (L502). The range of models available in the 200 platform more or less carried over to the 500 series. The 4-speed manual was no longer available, but a 4–speed automatic joined the existing 3–speed version in the domestic Japanese market.
(L700) Series 5G (1998 – 2002)
Mira (L700): (3-door)
The 5th Generation Cuore received the chassis code (L700), with (L710) being used for the 4WD versions. The new model appeared in the Autumn of 1998. After a 2001 facelift, the car was equipped with a new more powerful, code (EJ-VE) engine with 58 PS (43 kW) and VVT-i.
Mira 5G: (5-door) (3-door)
The Daihatsu Mira Gino 1G (1999 – 2004)
Mira Gino 1G: (5-door)
A retro version of the Daihatsu Mira based on the (L700) platform began production in 1999, replacing the preceding Mira Classic. The Mira Gino received features and options similar to those of the regular variant but was styled with a retro look. The Gino was available in either 3 or 5-door versions and was originally only offered with a 659 cc ‘EF‘ series naturally aspirated or turbocharged engine in either front or 4WD.
Mira Gino 1G: (rear-view)
The styling evoked the design of the classic Mini. The 1-litre EJ-VE engine for the export market (L700) was briefly available in Japan as the ‘Mira Gino 1000‘ in August 2002. This version no longer fit into the Kei class because of its larger engine, and was also marginally longer and wider due to the installation of bumper overiders and fender trim. The bigger engine produced 64 PS (47 kW), the same as a turbocharged 660 cc engine, but offered considerably more power at lower engine speeds. 1,290 of the Gino 1000 had been built when production of the 1st Generation came to an end in June 2004. The Gino 1000 was effectively replaced by the 1-litre Daihatsu Boon.
(L250) Series 6G (2002 – 2006)
2004 Mira Avy: (5-door)
The L250/260 Mira, unrelated to the earlier 200 series, is the 6th Generation of the car. The car is produced as the Mira in Japan. The (L250) was labelled a Daihatsu Charade in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Elsewhere this was badged and sold as the Cuore. Export versions, equipped with the 1-liter EJ engine as first seen in the previous generation, are coded (L251), while (L260) is used on the 4WD versions, for the Japanese domestic market only. After the 6th Generation Mira was replaced in late 2006, the production line was shifted to Malaysia, where production of this car as the Perodua Viva commenced in May 2007.
2006 Mira: (Friend-Matic)
In Japan there is also a sportier ‘Mira Avy‘ version available. The range underwent a very minor facelift in August 2005. A special handicap friendly, Mira Friend-Matic version appeared in November 2006. This car could be driven directly from a special self-powered wheelchair, the ‘Mira Self-Matic‘, with a drivers door that could open at 90 degrees and a fully automated entry and exit system. Buyers of the Self-Matic would receive government assistance. The Friend-Matic version continued to be produced until August 2009.
The Daihatsu Mira Gino 2G (2004 – 2009)
Mira Gino 2G: (5-door) (rear-view)
For the 2nd Generation, the 3-door version was dropped and it was only available as a 5-door hatchback. The Mira Gino was discontinued in March 2009 and was replaced by the Daihatsu Mira Cocoa, also with retro styling albeit more original. The styling was again inspired by the Mini, although this time the new BMW Mini set the example.
(L275) Series 7G (2006 ~)
Mira L275/L285: (5-door)
In December 2006, the (L275) the 7th Generation Mira, was presented. Initially only available as a passenger version, the Van derivative appeared in early 2007. As usual 4WD versions received a different model code (L285). Two ‘Topaz Neo‘ KF engines were available, as well as a 658 cc KF-VE twin-cam DVVT 3-cylinder engine of 43 kW (58 hp), and a KF-DET turbo engine of the same displacement that produced 47 kW (63 hp). The naturally aspirated engine was available with 5-speed manual transmission, 3 or 4–speed automatic transmission or continuously variable transmission (CVT). Export (L276) models first appeared in September 2007 and received the very light Toyota KR engine, an inline 3 of 1-litre displacement.
Under the Japanese 10-15 test cycle, fuel economy varied from 21 km/L (59 mpg UK; 49 mpg USA) for 3–speed automatic transmission to 25.5 km/L (72 mpg UK; 60 mpg USA) for continuously variable transmission. For cars with the ‘Smart Drive package‘, which comes with a new idle stop system, fuel economy increases to 27 km/L (76 mpg UK; 64 mpg USA). Inside, the gear shift was moved from between the front seats to centre dash. There was an optional sliding rear seat, with a range of 255 mm, for more luggage room or extra knee room.
The Daihatsu Mira Cocoa (2009 ~)
Mira Cocoa: (5-door) (rear-view)
The Daihatsu Mira Cocoa was launched in August 2009 to the Japanese domestic market, and went on sale in September 2009. It replaced the Daihatsu Mira Gino in the Daihatsu line-up, complete with retro styling. The latest model is available in ‘L, X, Plus L, Plus X and range-topping Plus G‘ forms, with a 658 cc (40.2 cu in) petrol engine. Its main competitor is the Suzuki Alto Lapin, with both having distinctly retro styling.
[ In Popular Culture ]
The Mira TR-XX appears alongside several of its kei sports car contemporaries in Kat’s Run: Zen-Nippon K Car Senshuken in the Super Famicom series.
The “Daihatsu Cuore” in Computer Games:
The Daihatsu Cuore in Radikal Bikers (1998): ’90 Cuore in Gran Turismo 2 (1999): ’98 Cuore in Gran Turismo 2 (1999): Cuore in Clipping Point (2007): ’97 Cuore in Gran Turismo (2009): ’97 Cuore in Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (2001): ’97 Cuore in Gran Turismo 4 (2004): ’97 Cuore in Gran Turismo 5 (2010): Gran Turismo 6 (2013):
The “Daihatsu Mira” in Computer Games:
ゼロヨンチャンプII (Zero4 Champ II) (1993): ’95 Mira in Kat’s Run – Zennihon K Car Senshuken (1995): ’97 Mira in Test Drive 4 (1997): Jet Set Radio (Jet Grind Radio) )(2000): Sega GT (2000): auto modellista (2002): Disaster Report (SOS: The Final Escape) (2002): ’94 Mira in Kaido Battle (Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Drift) (2003): ’97 Mira in Gran Turismo 4: Prologue (2003): GT Cube (GT Pro Series) (2003): ’97 Mira in Kaido Battle 2: Chain Reaction (Kaido Racer) (2004): ’97 Mira in Kaido Battle: Touge no Densetsu (Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Drift 2) (2005): ’03 Mira Avy in Kaido Battle: Touge no Densetsu (Tokyo Xtreme Racer: Drift 2) (2005): Racing Battle: C1 Grand Prix (2005): ’97 Mira in Gran Turismo (2009): ’02 Mira in 新宿の狼 (2009): ’05 Mira Gino in 星空のメモリア (Hoshizora no Memoria: Wish Upon A Shooting Star) (2009): ’97 Mira in Gran Turismo 5 (2010): Mira Walkthrough Van in Sang-gu neun Sim-boo-reum-wang (Sang-gu is Errand King) (2010): ’97 Mira in Gran Turismo 6 (2013):