Daihatsu Tanto: Your Modern Urban Solution

One of the most historical automakers in Japan, Daihatsu Motor added their collection of kei cars in 2003 with the introduction of the Daihatsu Tanto. Do you want to know more about this kei car? Let’s get right in!

The Daihatsu Tanto

Daihatsu first introduced the car at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show. The car was modeled based on the Move’s tall body. Tanto is obtained from Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese words for “a lot” or “so much”. Later on, in July 2005, Daihatsu also introduced the Tanto Custom version. 

Basically, a kei car is considered a microvan or compact car. As for Tanto, this diminutive yet versatile vehicle has captured the hearts of drivers worldwide, offering the perfect blend of efficiency, functionality, and style. Tanto’s appearance is very timely at the time, during the competitive world of compact cars.

The Daihatsu Tanto’s Generations

Following its debut in the Japanese automotive market in 2003, it has undergone significant transformations to meet the ever-evolving needs of urban dwellers. Over the years, Daihatsu has consistently upgraded the Tanto and better evolved the car in each generation. Here are the upgraded features from five generations.

1. First Generation (2003-2007)

The first generation of the Daihatsu Tanto is modeled L350-L360 and belongs to the subcompact minivan or MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) class. It has the model of a multi-purpose wagon body type. First generation Tanto equipped with engines of 659cc, delivering 43-47 kW (58-63 hp; 58-64 PS).

It was in production between November 2003 and November 2007 and assembled at the Ryuo plant in Japan. The car has grade levels, including L, X, and X Limited for the naturally aspirated engine option, and R for the turbocharger engine option. 

Besides, the Tanto has 5 doors, a hatchback, or a minivan body style. It has a length of 3,395 mm, a wheelbase of 2,440 mm, a height of 1,725 mm, a width of 1,475 mm, and a curb weight ranging from 870 to 960 kg.

2. First Generation: Daihatsu Tanto Custom (2005-2007)

The Tanto Custom was introduced in July 2005 as a variant of the first generation. It features customizable designs (body shape and body color), interior, interior layout & storage, and differentiated styling for high-quality, sporty, and cool looking. 

Along with the standard version, the custom version was part of Daihatsu’s effort to offer a range of options to meet diverse customer needs within the kei car segment. The Tanto Custom was designed to provide a more personalized and upscale driving experience.

3. Second Generation (2007-2013)

Introduced in December 2007 and produced until October 2013, the second generation of the Daihatsu Tanto adds some improvements and other key features. Here are four aspects that faced major changes over the first generation.

a. Miracle Open Door

The Miracle Open Door is a feature unique to the Tanto’s second generation. This feature is a side door that opens wide (nearly 90° angle), making entry and exit easy for both children and the elderly. 

In addition, the pillar between the doors on the passenger seat merges into the rear end of the front door and the front end of the sliding door. It was made of super high-tension materials with three times the strength of regular steel panels. The Miracle Open Door became the standard feature for subsequent generations.

b. Interior

Despite the compact size, the second-generation Tanto has improved interior space and comfort. The vehicle provides a roomy cabin with considerable headroom and legroom. 

c. Exterior

The exterior design adopts a more rounded edge with modern aesthetic and aerodynamics. This improved design not only makes it appealing on the street but also improves aerodynamic performance, leading to better fuel efficiency and stability on the road.

d. Other Features

There are also selections of features to better suit the customers’ preferences, such as power windows, keyless entry, audio systems, and air conditioning. Along with that, Tanto also enhances safety features, using dual front airbags and ABS. Accordingly, there are also side airbag options and traction control.

4. Third Generation (2013-2019)

October 2013 marks the third generation of the Daihatsu Tanto and it would be produced until July 2019. It brought significant updates to the popular kei car from three different aspects. 

a. Exterior

The most notable difference of the third generation is the Miracle Open Door and the Power Sliding Door combo. This further increases the visual appeal along with the streamlined and contemporary body shape. Not only better aesthetics but also contributed to the aerodynamics and overall fuel efficiency.

b. Engine

Daihatsu also added a new option for the engine. Hey introduced a hybrid powertrain for eco-friendly demand. The hybrid improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, providing a suitable choice for environmentally conscious drivers. 

c. Interior

The third generation of the Tanto Custom provides adult-oriented interior space with a touch of luxury quality. The wide and low dashboard layout contributes to a better field of view and outstanding visibility.

5. Fourth Generation (2019- Present)

The most recent iteration of the Daihatsu Tanto was launched in July 2019. This generation features more modern upgrades in all different aspects.

a. Exterior

Leaning to fresher and more modern design, the Tanto incorporates a new front grille design, LED headlights, and a new rear-end design. The car is also available in a range of vibrant colors, including the newest “Sunrise Orange”.

b. Interior

The car offers a spacious and comfortable interior, featuring a new dashboard design, a larger infotainment screen, and plenty of storage custom options. Still, the fourth-generation Tanto retains the already-obtained luxurious look.

c. Engine

The new Tanto is equipped with a new 660cc engine while keeping the options for naturally aspirated and turbocharged variants. 

d. Variants

The latest iteration is available in a range of variants, including the Tanto, Tanto Custom, and Tanto Welcome Seat. The Tanto Welcome Seat is mainly for passengers with mobility issues, featuring a lift-up seat and wheelchair ramp.

e. Safety Features

The new and improved Tanto is equipped with advanced safety features, including a collision avoidance system, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning. Combined with rearview camera and parking sensors to aid maneuvering and parking. 

Ready to Switch to Daihatsu Tanto?

As cities grow, the demand for efficient and sustainable transportation increases. Daihatsu’s dedication remains a relevant and appealing option for drivers seeking a practical, stylish, and eco-friendly compact car, particularly with its Daihatsu Tanto.

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