Daihatsu Move Custome RS Hyper SA

Daihatsu Move Custom Review: “The prince of the Galapagos” by Takahito Nakamura

The kei-car segment is truly unique to Japan. Its body size and engine capacity are limited so its ultimate performance is self-regulated. Daihatsu, with the all-new Move, have somehow created distorted vehicle, in a good way.

I always thought that these cars can pass Europe’s side safety standards and become a global commodity if they can fit a larger engine and expand the body width a bit. But then, it might become difficult to differentiate it from compact cars then, losing the meaning of the term, kei-car. In that sense, perhaps there is meaning behind the unchanging kei-car size.

In terms of maximum output, the turbo models should be able to produce a bit more power, but in the sense that these car’s are regulated within their limits, there’s nothing we can do about it. Although this isn’t limited only to the Daihatsu Move Custom, the idea coincidentally overlapped with the release of this car. Whatever the case, the performance and usability for its size is very good. Kei-cars are what we call “Galapagos products” (something that is unable to adapt to an environment different from where it was born or accustomed to). And in that regards, turbo kei-cars which emit 64ps are surely the prince of the Galapagos.

The differences between the Move and the Move Custom is vast. The front and rear have unique designs for each model. The Custom gets a two-toned paint job, which leaves a stronger impression of being stylish and sporty. Inside, you get a TFT multi-functional display which display a cornucopia of information about the vehicle. In this area, you can really enjoy what the car has to offer.

Like the Move, the body platform has been reinforced creating great balance with the power and torque increase of the engine. With a colleague, we took the Move and the Move custom out for a test drive at the same time. Pressing down on the Move Custom’s accelerator half way is like going full throttle in the non-turbo Move. The difference in power is very noticeable. You’d need to use the power mode in order to keep up with the turbo.

Although it is equipped with rather thin tires, the grip it has to offer is enough for everyday driving conditions. However with the Custom, the tires are an inch in diameter larger at 15-inch, increasing the ground clearance from 155 to 165mm. Because of that, the Custom has better steering response. Overall, it felt very sporty.

When running, it is naturally powerful and amusing. Its maneuverability is also good. However, speaking whether I proactively recommend this or not, personally, I’d rather recommend the Move. Nevertheless, it is because the NA model seems to have a suitable output performance with its body size. Of course, if it is not physically a kei-car, it cannot enter a garage and some people would refer to it as a high performance vehicle. Therefore, if that’s the case, I think that the turbo specification of the Move Custom is pulled off well. This is because, although it has a turbo specification for the Move, the tires still have the same grade as the NA model. Still, it seems unsuitable for natural, fun driving.

â–  Five Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★★
Interior Comfort: ★★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★
Footwork: ★★★
Recommendation: ★★★

Takahito Nakamura AJAJ Member
Born in 1952. He loves cars that adorned the pages of car magazines even at the young age of four. He started working part time at a Super Car shop. He also has an experience being an apprentice mechanic for Nova Engineering. After that, he went to Germany to continue his pursuit of knowledge about cars. He entered the journalism industry in 1977 and has been a fixture in it for the last 36 years. He continues to be active as a freelance journalist.

(Translated by Natassia Jeronne D. Martinez)