New Daihatsu Tanto: Is This The Shape Of Minicars To Come?

The alarmingly cubic Daihatsu Tanto appears to have taken on the shape of the box it was shipped in, much like those cool square watermelons grown inside molds. Being boxy isn't all bad, however, as the Tanto's interior is far more expansive than one might expect from a minicar.

Effective October 1st, Daihatsu will be offering the Tanto in two trim levels: X and RS. The former (shown in purple above) is powered by a 3-cylinder DOHC 660cc engine while the RS features a turbocharged version of the same powerplant. Both versions offer the option of front wheel drive or four wheel drive.

The aforementioned interior is certainly spacious but it's anything but spartan... that is, if one opts for the "Black Interior Pack" featuring cloth & leather upholstery highlighted by silver stitching. The black central dashboard instrument cluster is illuminated with fashionable (and Nobel Prize winning) blue LED lighting.

Speaking of blue LEDs, the Tanto boasts an interesting standard feature: a front grill light bar glowing with blue LED light. Other more prosaic yet certain to be appreciated touches include window glass that filters UV and infrared light, the Smart Assist collision avoidance system, tilt steering, and a rear-view camera.

North Americans may be surprised to learn so much luxury and so many convenience features can be jammed into such a small package. They may also be disappointed to find out that due to longstanding regulatory issues, minicars like the Tanto aren't legally able to be sold and/or driven on this side of the pond. Pricing for the new Daihatsu Tanto starts at the Japanese yen equivalent of $15,015 and tops out at $17,115 for the RS turbo in 4WD mode. (via Impress Watch)