The Daihatsu Compagno is a retro hybrid saloon | Top Gear
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Saturday 25th March
Tokyo Motor Show

The Daihatsu Compagno is a retro hybrid saloon

Retro design flourishes meet modern hybrid power. Is the DN Compagno concept cool?

Published: 25 Oct 2017

Yep, the oddball Tokyo show concepts are coming thick and fast. The latest is this, the Daihatsu DN Compagno. It’s a fun little saloon car that’s unashamedly retro, and the clear pick of a bunch of DN concepts that are on show.

Its name is a nod back to the Daihatsu Compagno of the 1960s – a little saloon car that also came in van, pick-up and convertible body styles. It was fairly British in its style, looking like a little Austin, but the new one is definitely its own thing.

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And yes, there are retro nods – the slotted grille and chrome highlights – but it’s not cloyingly hanging onto the past, and it looks fresh. It’s a little four-door saloon, though the hidden rear door handles and sweeping roofline make it look – and probably feel – more like a coupe.

The interior is very modern, with no nods to the past. The steering wheel controls look ace, everything is communicated via screens and the inevitable concept car cameras-for-wing-mirrors trick has been deployed. How will manufacturers mark out concepts for us when the tech is finally legal – and common – on road cars?

A little car means little engine, and there’s a 1.2-litre petrol-electric hybrid setup beneath, driving through a CVT transmission, traditionally a fun sponge when you want a performance car, but probably quite handy in Tokyo traffic.

Daihatsu has good form in turning its wild concepts into reality, but the company’s long been gone from the UK market, and the sweet little Compagno is likely to stay in its native Japan.

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Which to these eyes is a crying shame. Do you agree?

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