Daihatsu Gran Max 1.5 DOHC 1 Ton review

Daihatsu Gran Max 1.5 DOHC 1 Ton

Daihatsu bakkie 007

The Gran Max is a very different workhorse 1 ton bakkie designed for urban use. For the price of a half ton bakkie you get a full ton.

Its cab forward design maximises the available load area, while still offering a spacious cabin with seating for up to three occupants.

The load bed is 2,4 m long and 1,6 m wide, creating a flat-floored cargo area of more than 3,7m².

With a full one-ton carrying capacity, and drop sides around the cargo area, the Gran Max offers really easy loading.

A low load height of just 720 mm makes loading easy, while a turning circle of 10m allows exceptional maneuverability around town. It is a town bakkie, not meant for the long road. 

Functionality and utility are core for this light truck. The raised cabin and generous glass areas ensure exceptional visibility, while the seating combines a two-seater bench for passengers with an independently adjustable driver seat. The seats get a little uncomfortable after a while.

Daihatsu dashThe gear lever is located in the dashboard, close to the steering wheel, freeing up further legroom and ensuring that the Gran Max can accommodate three occupants. But not much else. There is no spare space in the cabin.

The 1.5 L Dynamic Variable Valve Timing engine develops 76kW and 134Nm at just over 3 000rpm. Fuel consumption of around 7,7 litres/100 km can be expected.

There is a slightly higher spec model for an extra R10 000 which adds dual front airbags to the safety equipment list, together with air-conditioning.

Retail price is R139 995. The price includes a three-year/100 000 km warranty.

Daihatsu bakkie 011


Daihatsu Terios 1.5 Diva review

Daihatsu Terios 1.5 Diva

Daihatsu has been making brilliant little off-road vehicles for quite a while, and it shows in this generation Terios. The Diva is a 4×2 version with fancy leather seats, park control with camera, and a few other little extras.

So, what is a Terios? It is a smallish, high riding, tough, four door jeep type vehicle of the SUV ilk. Some are 4×4, others 4×2. It will be a great little car for 2 people to go to a games reserve or do an extended road trip in.

The 1.5 petrol engine  produces power of 77kW @6000 and 140Nm @4400. Ground clearance is an excellent 205mm.


The seats and driving position in the Terios are just right. The leather seats in the Diva are extra comfortable and have orange stitching to look good as well. Everything has been kept simple and straightforward. Dials and switches are where they should be and function well.

The sound and Garmin navigation unit is neat and works well. It is also easy to use.

There is nothing fancy about the interior, but although plain the cabin is a pleasant place to be.

The boot is small for four people, but if you fold the back seats down two people can easily get all their camping gear in.


The Terios is very unassuming and plain, functional on the outside. It is what it is. The Diva model has swirly orange decals and badges to differentiate it from other models.

It is a good looking vehicle in an unassuming, balanced way.

Driving impressions

The Terios drives more like a bakkie than a car. Its not unpleasant or harsh, it is just not refined.

Everything works well. The brakes do what they are supposed to, the steering has good feel and as long as you are not in a hurry it goes well.

Top usable, comfortable speed is around 110km/h, but she will go to 140 and can cruise at 120km/h. Acceleration is truck like. Still, I find the Diva comfortable and pleasant to drive.

The driving position lets one see all round and the height makes for superb visibility. The seats and steering are adjustable.

The good things

The build quality is excellent. This car will last a lifetime.

All round visibility is excellent. The cabin is very functional. It is a nice sized car, its got attitude, a great ride height and has personality.

The bad

The Terios is a tad noisy at speed, which in a Terios is anything above 100km/h. It sounds and handles like an off-road vehicle. A bit more sound proofing is needed.

It works quite hard at 120km/h but will cruise in fifth quite happily. 110km/h is the best cruising speed. If this car had a little turbo fitted it would be awesome. It just needs a little more grunt. Fuel consumption could be better.


It is one of those love it or hate it cars. I like them. They are honest little workhorses that should give years of hassle free motoring. There is also a long wheelbase version.

The Nissan Juke is better value for money if you do not need a 4×4. The Jimny is small but will go anywhere.

Competition includes:

Nissan Juke – R203 925 to R261 925

Suzuki Jimny 1.3 4×4  – R 192 900

Costs  As tested R244 995  TERIOS 4X2 Manual Diva with HSWC with 3yr / 75 000km Service Plan.

The top of the range model is the 4WD Manual off-road with 3yr / 75 000km Service Plan @ R274 995.

The warranty is 3 year / 100 000km.

Daihatsu Materia review

Bonnie and Clyde would have loved one. Any Chicago gangster or mafioso would have loved to be seen alive in one. Its the Materia, a small van like car which looks a bit like a gangster car of old.


The Materia is a tall boxlike design with a high roof line and a high window line. The head space is amazing. Even Marge Simpson could sit in a Matera and not ruffle a hair. The other spectacular dimension is the space between the front seats and the back. The doors open to nearly 90° making for easy access and ease of use. No wonder so many taxis are Materias these days. The excellent handling in city conditions, due partly to a very tight turning circle, the exceptional interior space and very good fuel economy make it a good taxi. The interior dimensions create a sense of interior space.

Stashed loot

The rear seats which have a a 60/40 split, fold completely flat and because there is no the boot lip you get a flat loading space like a normal van. There are a number of little storage spaces between the ‘boot floor’ and the spare wheel.  The Materia makes an excellent ‘micro’ delivery van. Bonnie and Clyde could have stashed the loot from two banks in the back with the rear seat down. They could also have kept real cool. The air-conditioner works really well and has an intelligent function that switches it off and on several times per second when there is severe load on the engine and to ensure optimal fuel consumption.


Radio, MP3 and CD player is a little complicated at first but boasts a 6 speaker system incorporates split tweeter system / midrange at the front. Other standard features include 8 cup holders,  central locking with immobiliser which continually changes its code, ABS brakes with EBD and brake assist, driver, passenger and side airbags, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, electric windows and mirrors, electrically assisted power steering, fog lamps and high-mount rear stop lamp. Some aspects of the interior design are a little quirky and the ergonomics can be described as a bit dodgy. The instrument cluster is mounted high atop the facia and is far out of the drivers normal field of view.

The gear changes are quite klunky and noisy, but one soon gets used to it. It is a great city car due to its short gearing, light steering and tight turning circle which are well suited to city maneouvering.

The 1498cc DOHC engine with DVVT produces 77 kw of power output at 6 000 rpm and 132 Nm of torque at 4 400 at rpm is more than sufficient for urban use.

Fuel consumption is 7.2 litre/100km on the open road and 7.5 litre per 100 km in the combined cycle.

It’s looks take a bit of getting used to, but once you start driving it the fun nature comes out and you start to enjoy the Materia.

Originally published in Your Business magazine in January 2010.