I wanted to add some blog entries to this forum for a long time as it had helped me a lot to make informed decisions. To start things with, I thought of writing about a small car which exceeded my expectations. That is the humble "Daihatsu Mira".
It was in the mid 2018 when I started to look for a second (small) car to use for urban commuting with a budget around 2.8 million. Back then, I had a Vezel RS hybrid as the main car. So the unregistered options were clear. It was either the Japan Alto mild-hydrid, WagonR FX or Daihtasu Mira. Test drove the Alto and felt that it was not comfortable and the interior quality was not good. WagonR seemed to be more comfortable but the "battery-risk-factor" drove me off of it. Therefore, I was left with the Daihatsu Mira LA350 and LA300 models. I didn't have a big issue with the brand Daihatsu since the loyal Toyota DNA was on-board with it. The decision between picking the LA350 and LA300 model was simple. LA350 was the latest, had superior acceleration and higher efficiency. However, the back door and front side panels were made of Resin (instead of metal). I was worried about the safety of the new model and decided to compromise efficiency and power to resort into the old model.
After a hunt of nearly 1 month, I found a dealer (ironically the same guy who imported my Vezel) who had an imported X grade 2017, LA300 with all documents. This had the following options added compared to the base model.
Full two-tone dashboard.
Factory fitted alloys.
Multi-color meter display (base model has an orange display)
It had 5000 km on the clock with very minor scratches on the body. Negotiated with him and bought for a fair price.
Since then I've been using it for more than 1 and half years and had run more than 20k kms (the total is around 26k km). There had been no issues with the car up-to now. Since it came with Kobe warranty, I had to service it with A*to Miraj. Generally, they did a good job with the car.
The car has a very cute (non-aggressive) appearance. To me, the front-end and side looks okay but the back-end looks a bit odd. If you want to make a statement, this is not the car for you. The 155/65/R14 tyres looks skinny and doesn't add well to the appearance (most common with small 660 cc cars). Overall, I guess it's alright for the price you pay. The silver body paint looks good on the car and needs little maintenance to keep it shiny.
Diahatsu Mira has a lot of leg space available for both front and rear passengers. For me, its identical to the Vezel RS. The seats are made of fabric (forgot to take a picture) and feels comfortable opposed to the Japan Alto. The dashboard looks okay with very basic controls. This minimalist feel extends to the steering wheel as well. I had it wrapped for better grip and protection. The gear leaver in the middle looks a bit odd and would have preferred it to be between the seats.
Unfortunately, Mira doesn't have a lot of rear boot space. Sometimes the weekly groceries alone completely consumes the entire boot space. Therefore, you cannot use this car for outings with friends. The rear headrests comes in handy and IMHO, its the best thing (apart from the factory alloys) about buying a X grade car.
This is the best thing about the Mira. It feels surprisingly comfortable for a car of this category. This is due to the perfect suspension balance setting. Even the steering feel is acceptable compared to typical Toyota cars with numb feeling. This is perfect for daily city commuting. However, taking bends with a bit of soul and moderate speed seems to unsettle the car. Moreover, it feels unstable after 90+ kmph. Therefore, be extra careful and responsible when using the car.
The 660cc power-house is alright for driving leisurely in the city. It feels nippy and feels excellent for driving in traffic. However, things starts to go south when you are in a hurry or a sudden need to accelerate arises. Overtaking at speeds over 50 kmph needs to be done with a bit of planning. IMHO the engine feels a bit more powerful and refined than a WagonR of the same year. The Mira also managed to pull effortlessly on a steep hill upwards (even I had second thoughts before attempting the climb). The car is at its best in the 30 to 50 kmph range. I have accelerated till 110 kmph and progress after 90 kmph is very minimal. The idle-stop is alright but you feel the car while starting (not refined compared to hybrids). I usually turn it off during traffic.
The brakes seems very progressive and linear. They do a good job to stop the car up-to moderate speeds. Braking during high speeds makes the car a bit unstable (maybe because I'm used to driving the Vezel which had way bigger tyres and all disk brakes) .
The guy who sold me the car claimed 20 kmpl which I was hilarious about. However, to my surprise the car did 16 kmpl on the very first run. Unsure about the results I topped it again and found out that it did the above amount continuously. After getting familiar with the car, I'm currently getting 17.5 to 18.5 (even though the car says 19.5+) kmpl during ordinary work days. This went up-to 23 kmpl during morning school holidays (and when I regularly came home during night with no traffic). To give a bit of context, during most days I drive 60+ kms daily via the Galle road with little traffic on mornings and moderate traffic (except the notorious Wellawatta block) on evenings. To compare with please find my previous vehicle's calculated efficiency below.
1997 Toyota Corolla 110 Diesel 2.0 Auto - 8.5 kmpl (had 200+ kms on the clock)
2003 Toyota Vios 1.5 Auto - 9 kmpl
2007 Toyota Belta 1.3 CVT - 10 ~ 10.5 kmpl
2002 Suzuki Alto Japan 0.66 Auto - 11 ~ 12 kmpl
2016 Vezel RS hybrid DCT - 13 - 14 kmpl
Therefore, the car was very easy on the wallet for me. One thing I must say that, I'm not a very aggressive driver. I try to stick to the indicators and drive (most of the time). Maybe its the reason I'm getting good efficiency.
This car had required only the routine maintenance up-to now. Since the car came with free services, I had to pay about 12 000 rupees per service (average). Please refer the image below (yes, I maintain all records of the car). Tyres and brake pads are still in good condition after 26k kms of driving.
The insurance is a bit expensive. I guess its common for all the new cars. With C*linco V*P, I parted 80 000 rupees for a valuation of 2.9 million with all covers and 2 years of no claim bonus. Guess it's worth their service.
Buy the car if...
You need to buy your first car/ needs a second small car.
You need a comfortable A-to-B car.
You need a car with less repairs.
You need a car with good fuel efficiency,
You need a car with plenty of interior space.
You need a car to tackle the daily traffic.
You enjoy the low engine vibration during idle (Opposed to cars such as 3-pot Vitz)
Do not buy the car if...
You drive aggressively (My friend does this and he claims his LA350 does 13 kmpl).
You need to make a statement with the car.
You need ground clearance.
You regularly drive up-hill.
You need a big boot.
You expect all fancy tech.
There you go! My honest review regarding the Diahatsu Mira LA300. Hope this will help people for making informed decisions. Cheers!!! 🙂