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Daihatsu Storia X4

daihatsu_storia_x4.jpg

Year: 2000 `````````````````````````````````` Type: 5-door Compact Hatchback

Country of Origin: Japan ```````````````````````````````````` Host: GT2 & GT4

Price: (GT2) $9,034 (GT4)

Starting GT4 mileage: 16,333.2

Construction:

Length: 144.1" // Width: 63.0" // Height: 57.1"
Wheelbase: 93.3"
Overhang: 4 feet 3 inches
Track: 54.7" [F] 54.1" [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.9"
Weight: 1,851 pounds
Wgt Dist:
Steering:
Layout: Front Engine / 4-wheel drive
Tires: 165/70R-13
F. Suspension: Macpherson Struts, coils,
R. Suspension: 3-link, coils
Brakes: vented discs, drums

Engine: 713 cc DOHC inline-4
Construction:
Aspiration: Natural
Fuel System: EFi
Bore x Stroke:
Compression:

Final HP: 118 @ 7,200 rpm
Fnl Torqe: 93 @ 4,800 rpm


Credits per HP: $76.56
Pounds per HP: 15.69
Pnds per Torque: 19.90
HP per Liter: 165.5

GT4 Idle: 1,000 // Redline: 7,500 // RPM Limit: 8,000

Transmission: 5-speed manual
Limited slip:

0-60 mph: 12.233 seconds
0-100 mph: 34.583 seconds
0-150 mph: nil

400 M:  19.717 @ 79 mph
1 Kilom: 34.498 @ 100 mph 

Test track lap: no test

100-zero mph: 4.47 seconds

GT4 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 27 mph
2nd: 43 mph
3rd: 58 mph
4th: 84 mph
5th: 123.89 @ 7,900 rpm 

-----------------EXTERIOR-------------------

Sometimes (as an automotive writer) I make assumptions about certain cars. I'll assume, for instance, that the Acura NSX will be a great car to write about. I'll drive it, sure enough, there's tons to say. On the other hand, there are those that I've driven that I assume won't make the site. I'll drive them, and find my assumption is wrong! Meet tonight's wrong assumption: the Daihatsu Storia X4.

This will be the second Daihatsu I've written about. Long ago, I covered Daihatsu's Move, and at some point I was pretty sure I'd get a review cranked out on Daihatsu's Midget, simply because it's such an oddity. But so far this hasn't happened.

At first glance, it's easy to mistake (and sometimes ignore) the Daihatsu Storia X4 as just another zero-powered kei car from Japan. I've made this mistake back in my GT2 days, and almost made it again as I was looking for a lightweight car to enter the Beginner's League 4WD Challenge. The Storia's dimensions are slightly larger than that of a typical kei, and its weight matches or is similar to that of many 1-box type keis, but there are a few things about this car that make it special, which will be addressed later on.

There are many, many versions of the Storia in real-life...dozens of them. Many are front-drive, and several of these FFs appear in GT2 and GT4. They're not really interesting because they start with such lowish power, hence I'm not covering any of them now. In GT2, this lack of starting-power is okay, because they'll accept nearly three times their power with upgrades, which means it's possible to dominate quite a few races with these. But in GT4, there isn't much we can do with these slugs outside of the Sunday Cup, Lightweight K Series, and Compact Cups. Use your imagination and pretend I've written about the front-drive versions if you wish, but for now I'm focusing solely on Storia's 4WD versions.

Its looks are hard to define. The Storia (sometimes known as the Sirion outside of Japan) is an econobox, yes, but it's not one of the plainer ones. It's got a curvy exterior matched with an oval-shaped grill. Overall, not truely ugly, but also not a stunner. Its weight, however, is somewhat stunning, considering the X4 is a 4WD that's not a kei car.

So outside of looks, dimensions, and weight, why exactly is it worth a review?   

------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN----------

Starting at just under 120 horses, we can see this car has about twice the power of a typical kei (which rate at no more than 63 hp). GT4's info page says the X4 has a 714 cc engine, yet oddly I couldn't find a Storia with an engine smaller than 989 ccs, even when cruising a Japanese-based website on cars specs. Is this yet another PD mistake? Who knows. Who cares. Right?

There are actually a few races which the X4 will blow away while it's stock due to this extra power. I was about to enter one in GT4's Japanese Compact series, for instance, only to realize the X4 is too strong. So I went to the Beginner's League 4WD Challenge instead, packing full power (184 hp) and a Stage 1 weight reduction, yet I was still unsure whether or not the X4 would be able to beat cars with twice its "go". Surprisingly, I could manage wins against STis, Evos and the Hyundai Clix, even at Fuji with its super-long straight!

In GT2, upgrades will take the X4 to about 195 horsepower, and GT4's top rating of 184 is just a few horses shy. In cases, turbos are used to get here. Doesn't sound like much, but there's more that we can do with this power than might seem possible at first.

The engine (whether it's actually real or just a fiction of PD's imagination) comes with a high redline to grab that 7,200 rpm peak power. I'd be impressed with this, but the truth is there are so many others nowadays (even mousetraps) that can match this it's not even funny. At all times, torque remains lacking, again, no surprise here.

The 5-speed is an odd mixture of gears. 1st can be used off-the-line with full safety during standing-starts, and only rarely did I hear a bit of wheelspin out of some hairpins in 1st gear, like at Citta d'Aria. 2nd and 3rd gears are shortly-matched, yet feel quite dreamy during races when it's time to get ahead of someone else. Look at this, folks> think of all the cars out there with tallish 3rd gears, for instance! We'd never expect Daihatsu's

4th and then 5th gear are taller, though. Both tend to bog the small engine significatnly, especially when an up-hill is involved. This is a car sorely needing a 6-speed in some situations (like at the Fuji 4WD Challenge race mentioned earlier) which kinda sucks. There goes our profit margin.

But hey, there's always those Capri races to even things up. I did take the Storia X4 to Capri's rally (GT4 Easy-level Special Conditions) where it did manage a close win against a Lancia Delta
.  

-----------CHASSIS / HANDLING--------------

I haven't driven this one in GT2 yet, so we're just getting 4th-game impressions for now.

Like I said, I originally bought the X4 to compete in some low-level GT4 races, and was pleasantly surprised I didn't need to break out too much of my bank account to get things done. :tup: But how does this car actually drive and handle? Eh?

Totally predictably, that's how. Everything about this car is (by now) so predictable to me, the driver, the car-reviewer. This includes the way it brakes-in. The nose dives but the car doesn't get squirrely. Trail-braking is stiff (as predicted), and the Storia often suffers from entry-understeer if one doesn't brake soon enough; easy to forget. But just because this car looks kinda like an econobox superstar that'll stop on a quarter, don't assume it is one! Braking is actually below-average in this machine. Hmm, guess that means it's not totally predictable in a way..

Mid-corner, the Storia does lock-in predictably, however, assuming you've managed to avoid that push on-entry. And then when leaving many turns, throttle must be kept tamed back (on pavement, anyways) for the X4's all-time 4-wheel drive also likes to push on-exit. There are times when (if the driver gets it right) that there will be just a wee bit of tail-swinging oversteer to help out, but otherwise it's mostly understeer/mostly push.

The car's light weight usually is not a curse if bumps are involved. Its 4-wheel drive tends to erase any losses of traction a front-drive would suffer.

There's not much else to say about this one. I was assuming this car wouldn't be much to write about, guess I was right in a way.

PROS----------------------------------------------

1). A cheapie econobox from the used-car lots. I forget if GT2's X4s are used or new, but they're always inexpensive.

2). Yet its 4-wheel drive makes it useful, so far as traction goes.

3). Light weight, yet the Storia X4 rarely loses its small amounts of prowess due to stability issues.

4). Kinda fun, especially off-road.

5). Not totally boring, or ugly, or goofy-looking.

6). Gas mileage (GT4) issues are non-existent.

7). Starts with power that seems more than expected. Upgrades also are in the deal.

8). Smallish dimensions help the Storia out-fox larger cars.

9). Some high-money races can be won in a Storia X4 (and sometimes in a regular front-drive Storia) which can potentially erase any "red" you've managed after spending too much money over at DRS.



CONS--------------------------------------

1). Below-average braking, considering there are many other compacts which brake phenomenolly.

2). Moments of understeer on-entry. Despite the low power and small size, this car's throttle must be tamed often to avoid understeer on-exit as well.

3). Can't win 'em all in this one. GT2's Storias wind up with longer careers than GT4's though.

4). More power than a kei car, true, but still underpowered for many situations, yet overpowered for several others.

5). Power-upgrades possible, but lots of credits will still need to be spent to make these cars competitive. Credits can be lost to: tranny-upgrades, brakes, etc.

6). Kinda ugly (some other's opinions, not really mine).

7). Generic engine-whine.

8). Acceleration (let's face it) that's always gonna be on the snailish side.


Published: October 24, 2010


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