The first generation Daihatsu Charade was initially introduced in October 1977 as a five-door hatchback. The front-wheel-drive, front-engine mini car runs using a 993cc three-cylinder engine made from aluminum. In 1978, a three-door version was made available. It became an instant bestseller in Japan and received the “Car of the Year” in 1979.
Due to its outstanding versatility, the Daihatsu Charade was well-received in other parts of the world. It was offered in a three-cylinder engine that generates 40 horsepower and a one-liter CB20 engine paired with a tachometer and a five-speed manual transmission. In 1981, a refreshed version was revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show in collaboration with De Tomaso Automobili.
The second-generation Daihatsu Charade was unveiled in March 1983 as a three and a five-door hatchback with a 1.0-liter turbocharged engine in diesel and turbo-diesel variants. Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. also introduced the “Dolphin Roof” version and a van specifically made for commercial use. Also, the Daihatsu Charade CS, the Daihatsu Charade CX, the Daihatsu Charade CX-A, and the Daihatsu Charade CX-T were made available. Up to its fourth and last generation released in 2000, the Daihatsu Charade became an iconic mini car courtesy of its reliable fuel-efficiency and advantageous size.
In the Philippines, the Daihatsu Charade was highly favored especially by small families looking for an affordable daily ride. Its former local distributor Columbian Autocar Corporation introduced the third-generation in 1988. Locally, the closest successor of the Charade is the Toyota Wigo.