Daihatsu Applause: A Unique Hatchback with Sedan Look

Daihatsu Applause has a sedan appearance with a hatchback type of body. At that time, Daihatsu chose this design to cater to people who prefer the practicality of a hatchback car and the feeling of security provided by a sedan car. Let’s find out more about this car below.

About Daihatsu Applause

The Applause car series was manufactured from 1989 to 2000. It was first shown at the March 1989 Geneva Motor Show as a concept, namely MS-X90. Additionally, this lineup is to replace the long-running Daihatsu Charmant and is engineered entirely by Daihatsu.

From the outside, the car looks like a regular four-door family car, but it features a tailgate. Initially, the company targeted British and Australian markets for releasing Daihatsu Applause. Unfortunately, this model never received much attention from UK buyers.

In the 1990s, Daihatsu had a small yet enthusiastic following, but the majority of fans were only interested in the 4×4 models. A compact sedan-shaped hatchback was hardly going to drive new customers.

Even the Daihatsu marketing team didn’t seem to be of help in luring prospective buyers. During that time, they used “Generous Applause” as headlines, and it only drew people’s attention due to its atrocious name.

According to Petrolblog, the name sounds like the kind of appreciation shown when your football team has just scored a late consolation goal during a seven-one drubbing.

Other unfortunate events caused the low sales of the Daihatsu Applause series. They were the widely publicized incidents of gasoline spurting under excessive air pressure when refueling. These incidents happened in Applause’s first year in the market and could lead to very hazardous incidents.

Below are the specifications and reviews from people who once owned or drove the car.

1. Engine

Applause series is available in two versions, the 1.6-liter carburetor and the 1.6-liter fuel-injected one, and both of them used the 16-valve engine, quite an advanced piece of machinery at that time. Meanwhile, the injected version developed 105 hp at 6000 rpm and 99lb/ft of torque. This model’s fuel tank capacity is up to 50 liters.

There are also two options for the transmissions, including the five-speed manual and the four-speed automatic. The engine performs quite decent with the five-speed manual. However, the four-speed automatic option trades lots of the car’s performance for the luxury of not requiring you to shift the gears.

2. Body

The previous model had a minimalist grille but then replaced by a big, bold, and upright chrome item in the later model. This change is an attempt to give new life to the aging design. At the rear, the number plate surround and tail lights are also colored with bright treatment.

Bright strips around the windows and the overdone plastic wheel trims were a failed attempt on Daihatsu’s part, reviewed by Drive. Truthfully, the company tried to make a small and budget car to look like a mini luxury vehicle.

Applause’s car exterior featured two horizontal headlights that didn’t go around the corner. The position of its turn signals is on the wrapper-around plastic bumper. On the car’s sides, the flush-mounted door handles looked good and purposely to improve the car’s aerodynamics.

Meanwhile, the car’s interior has a lot of fake timber trim and a coarse cloth for door trims and seats. It also has too-skinny front tires that wouldn’t perform well even at moderate speeds.

Daihatsu followed through using the straight-line design with a flat and low-mounted dashboard. Furthermore, the center stack displays the radio and the climate control vents, the latter arranged on the lowest part. The instrument panel gives information about the speed, revs, fuel level, and coolant temperature.

It also has a capacity of 412 liters for its trunk space. The company even claimed that it could fit four sets of golf clubs, along with the capacity to seat four or five adults in relative comfort. Uniquely, the car’s rear seats were tilting rearward, but they couldn’t fold flat.

3. Equipment

Daihatsu Applause has standard equipment consisting of a mixed bag with dual front airbags but doesn’t have an anti-lock braking system. It also has power windows and mirrors, an adjustable steering column, and a rear spoiler.

Regrettably, the car possesses a central locking system, yet the remote control isn’t available in this model. The Applause GLXi model added cross-spoke alloy wheels, a rear wash/wipe, and an RDS stereo cassette.

Even though the driving position lacks adjustability, it won’t pose too much of a problem because the initial position is already good in the first place. Also, the low waistline of the car helps with visibility and gives you a breezy feeling.

Driving Experience

Applause performance figures look promising for the specifications it offers. Unfortunately, once you reach the first corner, something wrong happens. The light steering that works so well for city driving turns into a sensory deprivation tool out of nowhere.

The drivers struggle to figure out which direction the front wheels are pointing due to this problem. Moreover, they have to be careful because even modest amounts of power send the car lurching onto its outside front wheel mid-corner. The car’s body feels jittery and constantly on edge when you use it on uneven roads.

At first, the brakes work exceptionally well, but the performance declines when you use it too often. The car will stay in good condition for a long time if you don’t give it any demanding tasks.

Things to Consider

Most of the time, the Daihatsu Applause series isn’t known to develop any significant faults throughout its existence. As it is mainly available as a used car, make sure to check the cabin for stains, rips, and other minor damages.

You should also check the back of the seats for evidence of wear and tear because tweedy trim isn’t part of hard-wearing. Usually, you need to look for a service history, but with this model, what you see is what you get. Just confirm that it’s been looked after and invest in an alarm.

Do You Want to Buy a Unit of Daihatsu Applause?

Daihatsu Applause car units have been increasingly on the decline throughout the years. Are you sure this car is worth your money? In the way we see it, these car models would be valuable for collectors looking for a car with a unique body to add to their collection. So, go look for one now!

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