autoevolution

Daihatsu New Cast Style G "SAII" Is a Shrunken MINI Cooper from Japan

At every auto show we attend, there's a whole bunch of Chinese spies with cameras and measuring tapes. Within a few months of the latest Bentley coming out, they produce a clone with a measly 1.6-liter engine.
Daihatsu New Cast Style G "SAII" Is a Shrunken MINI Cooper from Japan 1 photo
However, the Japanese used to do this too and were famous for it up until only recently. Some companies that don't sell anything outside Japan still do it. For example, Mitsuoka Motors makes copies of the Jaguar Mark 2 based on the Micra and of the XK120 based on the MX-5 Miata.

This little copycat is a little less severe, but the resemblance with the MINI Cooper S is uncanny. It's called the Daihatsu Cast Style. There's a sport model that adds "SAII" to the end of its name a sort of crossover thing called "ACTIVA."

Anyway, the basic car looks a lot like the new MINI Cooper. We're talking about the third generation hatchback that was launched last year and now even has a 5-door variant. The headlights have the same round, swept-back look, and the grille is similar, but a different mesh is used.

Of course, the Daihatsu Cast is a kei car, so the rest of the body is relatively boxy to maximize interior space while maintaining a 3.4-meter footprint. However, there are a few MINI-like curves here and there, and the blacked out roof pillars are… well, you get the idea.

While the exterior proportions of the car are more than a foot shorter than those of the British car, there's plenty of space inside. The engine is located under the dash, and there's no tunnel in the middle. Equipment is also generous, while the center console is as stylish as the front end.

Where you do get less is in the powertrain department, as the 0.66-liter engine is limited to 64 horsepower, delivered to the front wheels by a CVT gearbox.

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