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emo BUYERS GUIDE: Daihatsu Avanzato

04 Jan 2011 21:04 #7031

This section is aimed at helping out potential buyers of a Daihatsu Cuore/Mira Avanzato so that they truly know what to expect and what to look out for when going to buy one. Firstly, I will lay out the facts, as specified by Daihatsu UK. I will then provide some background information on the Avanzatos and then I will go into the detaills of specific known issues with these cars and how to get around them. I will then finish off with some suggestions for light modifications which make the Avanzato experience that little bit more pleasurable.

The facts: -

Make: Daihatsu
Model: Cuore/Mira Avanzato TRxx R4
Displacement: 659cc
Chassis type: L512s
No. of Doors: 3
Fuel Type: Petrol
Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
Drive System: Interchangeable 2/4WD

The Figures
Stock Power: 64BHP
Stock Torque: 73.75 lb/ft
0-60 MPH: 8.5 Seconds
Kerb Weight: 768KG
Fuel Tank Capacity: 30 litres
Average MPG: 45MPG (Mixed driving)
Wheel size: 5j x 110PCD
Standard Tyre Size: 155/65R 13

The Features
  • Speed sensitive Power Steering
  • Air Conditioning
  • Remote Central Locking
  • Electric Folding Mirrors
  • Sports Seats

Background Information

There were originally 80-odd Daihatsu Avanzato's which were sold from new at Daihatsu dealerships across the country with a three year unlimited mileage warranty. There were also a further 20 Avanzato's which were built and tuned by Harry Hockley Motorsport for a one off Daihatsu Rally Challenge competition.

The first of the Avanzato to be sold in the UK were badged as a Daihatsu Cuore Avanzato TRxx R4 and the following batch badged as the Daihatsu Mira Avanzato TRxx R4. Apart from the name, not a lot else is different between the two variants. The main noticable points are that the Mira has a different front bumper which contains foglights whereas the Cuore has the standard bumper from the 850cc Cuore. The Cuore Avanzato also originally had lights in the rear bumper which were disconnected for the original VOSA checks when Daihatsu imported them, for the second batch VOSA simply waived them though without the same level of checks as the previous set had passed. These little lights can be reconnected by removing the light in the bumper and reconnecting the clip. The mechanical side of these cars is virtually identical apart from, I believe, the connectors on the ECU, this is not a problem by any means unless you want to change the ECU for a different one.

The main modifications for the Harry Hockley cars were:-
  • Removal of carpets, rear seats and Air conditioning unit to reduce weight
  • Addition of a Roll cage for safety purposes
  • Addition of a custom set of alloy wheels from www.knwheels.co.uk
  • Replacement of ECU with a custom unit which removes the rev limiter and may increase power

The vast majority of the UK road going Avanzatos were in Silver with the exception of one each in Black, Red and White.

Common Issues

There are a small number of common issues that are found in most examples of the Avanzatos in their lifetime. These issues are mainly gearbox/turbo related. There are also less serious issues with rusting and alloy wheel paint corrosion.

The gearbox issue is often due to bearings wearing out which causes collisions within the transfer box and creates a horrible grinding noise when travelling. This issue can be resolved with a rebuild by a specialist if it is caught early enough. If it is too damaged then it is possible to use a gearbox from a Mira Classic or you can source a brand new through a dealer. If a used Daihatsu Mira Classic gearbox can be found It has been known for them to sell for around £250. However, when buying a second hand gearbox, its condition and load throughout its lifetime is unknown. If a transfer box is sourced from a dealer, quotes have been known to be in the region of £2000 + VAT.

If it comes to a time when the gearbox does need to be removed for a replacement or rebuild, it is strongly advised that the clutch be changed at the same time as this is also requires the gearbox to be taken out which is very time consuming.

The issue surrounding the turbo is less common that that of the gearbox. The problem arises due to the turbo not being warmed up or cooled sufficiently before and after use. If the turbo is not allowed to cool with the engine running then 'coking' can occur in the CHRA part of the turbo which in turn seizes the turbo and rendering it useless. The turbo in the TRxx R4 model is manufactured by IHI and has the model number RHF3 VQ29. RHF3 turbos are not very common in the UK, and there are currently no rebuild kits or turbo reconditioning companies that are able to repair a faulty turbo. There is a hybrid turbo which can be built using the Avanzato turbo along with the CHRA from a Vauxhall Corsa 1.5TD. For further information on this build, there is an excellent thread on it here: - 'My exploits with turbochargers'

It is again possible to source most parts through a Dealer or through sellers based in Malaysia/Japan if a reliable contact is used.

One of the more prevalent but often considered less significant problem experienced with the Avanzatos is rust. There are two main areas of the car that are more prone to others, the main spot is the rear arches where the rust works from the inside of the arch outwards. This is often caused by a build up of dirt/salt or grit from our roads in the tops of the arches which seems to stick in place rather than come away. Regular pressure washing of the wheel arches should remove any built up dirt which should prevent any rust from forming. The other area which is known to rust is the front lip of the bonnet. Again, the rust works from the inside out and eventually blisters through the paintwork, it is possible for a bodyshop to fix any of the rust build ups experienced on the Avanzato.

The final noteworthy point in terms of common issues with the cars is worming/corrosion of the paint on the alloy wheels. Over time, the paint on the wheels will gradually bubble and worm which makes them less attractive. This issue can only be resolved by refurbishing the alloys which can be done by a reputable specialist for around £30-£40 per wheel or a DIY refurbishment can be done although this is a very time consuming task to undertake.


Servicing an Avanzato is by no means a specialist task and does not necessarily have to be undertaken by a Daihatsu Dealer. Past experience of many owners is that independant garages as well as self servicing are more than possible with the cars with no detrimental effects.

Engine oil changes are recommended to be carried out around every 3000 miles, this is because the JB-JL engine uses a timing chain rather than a timing belt. Chain longevity is achieved by having regular oil changes as the engine oil offers lubrication to the chain, if the oil is dirty or low, the timing chain could become damaged which may lead to engine damage. The recommended engine oil to be used is 5W30 Fully Synthetic.

Gearbox oil and rear axle oil should also be changed regularly as these will allow the moving parts to be well lubricated which will prolong the life of the components.


Due to the strict restrictions in Japan regarding Kei cars, it meant that certain components of the Daihatsu Avanzato are restrictive in order to keep to power below the limits imposed on the Kei class. The Avanzato has a deliberately restrictive exhaust, air filter and intercooler which limit air intake and gas expulsion from the engine thus reducing power.

An induction kit can be put in place of the stock air filter and box which will allow a better flow of air into the engine which will improve throttle response of the car. There is a little bit of information here: - "DAIHATSU AVANZATO TRXX R4"

There are a number of owners who have replaced the stock intercooler directly with one from a Toyota Starlet Glanza. This intercooler is much more free-flowing and will provide much better cooling in comparison to the standard item, this replacement has been said to "feel like a restriction has been removed from the car". The connecting pipework for the intercooler will need replacing and more information on this can be found here: - "glanza intercooler"

A stainless steel exhaust can also be added to the mix which will remove a significant restriction to the engine which will improve the power felt from the engine. Almost any stainless steel exhaust manufacturer can make one for the Avanzato and past experiences have seen the cost to be at around £250.

Another modification which will add to the benefit of a stainless exhaust would be a custom downpipe which removes the catalyst. Due to the status of the Mira and Cuore Avanzato being considered as a low volume import, the emissions test part of the MOT has a higher rate negating the need for the catalyst to keep the emissions at the lower level.
The last final basic modification for the UK Cuore Avanzato is a replacement ECU. As mentioned previously, the ECU used for the Harry Hockley rally cars removed the rev restrictor on the engine and may have also added some extra power to the engine. An ECU taken from a Harry Hockley rally car is a straight swap into the Cuore Avanzato but it is thought that the connections are different on the Mira Avanzato making this swap impossible.

After market alloy wheels on the Avanzato are almost unheard of, the car has an awful PCD of 4x110 with a 66mm centre bore. Early generation Mazda RX7’s and some old Toyotas have wheels that fit but that is it in the UK. One option is to get the alloys from a rally Avanzato and refurbish them for the road cars.

I hope the above information has been useful. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask.

Last Edit: 04 Mar 2012 14:30 by .

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20 Feb 2011 21:09 #7955

What a EXCELLENT article! i've only just stumbled across it!  :thumb:

oil and filter change *16/01/10 *27/08/10 *06/11/10 *16/04/11 *17/12/11 *17/03/12
Timing belt and tensioner and Alternator belt change 11/06/11

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20 Feb 2011 22:40 #7956

What a EXCELLENT article! i've only just stumbled across it!  :thumb:

Thanks Russ :smile: i did put a post up in general discussion saying i had made it but i guess it got over looked when new topics were made. I hope it answers the questions we get from newbies, it would be nice to get a couple to read through it and post comments. Im glad you like it though.

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21 Feb 2011 16:50 #7959

Nice work. :thumb:

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21 Feb 2011 19:23 #7962

a great in depth review ,well done  :thumb:

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20 Apr 2011 23:15 #8994

Sorry to ask this. I'm not quite understand with the statement about the downside/de-cat. If used on MIRA, does it still going to pass the MOT for the emission ?

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21 Apr 2011 13:10 #9015

Sorry to ask this. I'm not quite understand with the statement about the downside/de-cat. If used on MIRA, does it still going to pass the MOT for the emission ?

This is quite a difficult area. As our cars are quite rare, often MOT centres will test the car as a low volume import which reduces the emissions criteria that a cars emissions has to be under. Some MOT centres will test the car as a standard UK car meaning the tighter emissions criteria.

With some cars, it is the case that with no cat, the car will still pass. GRUSS's L200 Mira is like this, he has had no cat on his since he got it and his easily passes the emissions test.

There is only one way to find out really and that is to try without a cat, if it passes then carry on, if it fails then you can re-test with the cat back in place.

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21 Apr 2011 13:55 #9017

Thanks for the explanation.

to test with & without cat is a bit tough I guess. For me its better to decat when having a bigger turbo rather than custom made base on standard rhf3. anyway, thanks again. I'll try to speak with starlet owner as they got lots of header & decat/downpipe on the market & will share their info. The only problems was, they are not fall undetermined low volume imports category. Hmmm

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29 May 2011 18:55 #9717

Great write up. Answered so many questions I had. Just curious if there is any way to recognize if there is any damage to the turbo or timing chain when viewing a car. Thanks.

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29 May 2011 19:09 #9718

make sure there is a service history with the car ie regular oil changes (every 3000 miles approx)no unusal noise from the turbo when spooling up,or excessive smoke when putting your foot down,timing chain needs reg oil changes as well.a good sign the car has been looked after is a turbo timer fitted that lets the engine  run on after turning off to help keep the turbo lubricated,hope that helps and welcome to the forum  :smile:

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