Daihatsu has revealed a sporty rear-wheel drive roadster the size of the Mazda MX-5, along with a trio of tiny electric concepts.

    The former is called the Vision Copen Concept and will debut along with the electric concepts at this month’s Japan Mobility Show, which runs from October 26 to November 5.

    The Vision Copen looks like the first-generation Daihatsu Copen that was sold here from 2003 to 2005 but it’s quite a bit bigger, including under the bonnet.

    Instead of being a kei class car with a 660cc engine, the Vision Copen Concept packs a 1.3-litre engine of unspecified outputs.

    That’s twice the size of the engine found in the first- and second-generation Copen roadsters, though still smaller than the entry-level Mazda MX-5 engine, a 1.5-litre which has been discontinued here.

    Daihatsu doesn’t make note of what transmissions will be available, though an automatic shifter is clearly visible in the rendering. The outgoing model is available with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission.

    The Vision Copen Concept measures 3835mm long, 1695mm wide and 1265mm tall on a 2415mm wheelbase.

    That’s 80mm shorter, 40mm narrower and 35mm taller than a Mazda MX-5 on a 105mm shorter wheelbase.

    It’s also 440mm longer and 220mm wider than the outgoing Copen, which is sold as both a Daihatsu and Toyota in Japan.

    “This new compact sports convertible offers the ultimate in driving joy by combining a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout with an internal combustion engine capable of using CN fuel, while inheriting the universal styling reminiscent of the first-generation Copen and the electrified open/close Active Top roof,” Daihatsu says in its press release.

    Despite the larger dimensions, the Copen closely resembles the cutesy first-generation model and the Cero edition of the second-generation line, complete with round headlights and tail lights.

    While Daihatsu hasn’t released any images of the Copen with its top up, both generations have used a folding metal hardtop – something that is becoming increasingly rare among convertibles.

    The Vision Copen isn’t the only droptop Daihatsu plans to show off at the motor show.

    The Osanpo is a slightly higher-riding electric convertible measuring 3395mm long, 1475mm wide and 1300mm tall on a 2440mm wheelbase – almost identical dimensions to the outgoing Copen.

    It has no performance aspirations, with Daihatsu describing it as “a luxurious vehicle to slowly enjoy the nature around you in a pleasant breeze, as if taking a walk” and offering “relaxed enjoyment”.

    It has also given it a slightly higher ride height, aiding comfort. No further specifications have been released.

    Daihatsu is also using the Japan Mobility Show to show off a new mini passenger EV and a mini commercial EV, called the me:MO and Uniform, respectively.

    The me:MO measures just 2955mm long and has been designed as a “sustainable car that can be used for a long time in response to changes in the customer’s stage of life and usage”.

    The Uniform has been previewed as both a tiny truck and a cargo van, with removable interior and exterior parts and an external power supply function. They both measure just 3395mm long and 1475mm wide.

    The original Copen was one of the last Daihatsus offered in Australia, with just 401 sold between 2003 and 2005 when the brand withdrew from the local market.

    Over the same period, Mazda sold 1766 examples of its pricier MX-5, though the Daihatsu outsold the Smart Roadster (276 sales over the same period).

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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