The third generation of the Daihatsu Tanto five-door mini car has been announced in Japan. The main novelty is the use of lightweight resin body panels.

Like the previous Tanto ('plenty' in Italian, i.e. of interior space), the new one features a so-called Miracle Open Door which is claimed to ease the loading of goods and people.

The Toyota subsidiary says the new car's lightweight panels mean an overall weight saving of 10kg compared to steel equivalents. Resin is used for the bonnet/hood, front fenders/wings, fuel cap cover, plus the tailgate and its integrated roof spoiler.

The Japanese market's G, G SA, Custom RS and Custom RS SA model grades come equipped with electric motors for the sliding doors on both sides as standard. These can be opened and closed using a card key or a switch near the driver's seat.

Its maker claims the Tanto is the first mini-vehicle to be fitted with a front passenger seat back reclining lever. This allows the seat to be reclined from either the driver's side or from the rear seats.

Daihatsu has set a monthly sales target of 12,000 units for the home market. Both normally aspirated and turbocharged 660cc engines are available, as is either front- or four-wheel drive.

Like the second generation model, the new Tanto is manufactured at Daihatsu's mini-vehicle plant in Shiga prefecture on Honshu in southwestern Japan.

Images of the new model are yet to be released.

Author: Glenn Brooks