Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

The Copen was originally launched with a tiny 659cc turbocharged petrol engine. With just 68bhp it sounds weak, but thanks to the turbocharger it’s enjoyable to drive and responsive at lower speeds. It also revs up to 8,500rpm and performance is surprising – helped by the Copen’s low weight. In March 2007 this engine was replaced by a 1.3-litre unit (the same one that’s used in the 2005 Sirion) which is offers 19bhp more and extra pulling power too.

Its 86bhp is good enough to see the 0-62mph time drop from 11.7 seconds to 9.5 seconds, while the engine feels less strained at motorway speeds. Economy also improved from 44mpg to 47mpg while emissions dropped.

The little Daihatsu has short overhangs and a low centre of gravity, making it great at handling corners and twisting roads. The steering is direct and responsive and with only moderate power available there’s rarely any drama, even in wet conditions. Body roll is virtually non-existent although grip from the front tyres could be better. Both engines are urgent at low speeds but the 659cc unit soon runs out of breath when pushed.

The 1.3-litre is marginally better but neither is great on the motorway. However on country lanes the Copen is great fun to drive, even if it’s not fast.