The Daihatsu Materia may be a small car, but its size does little to stop it from distinguishing itself in a crowd. It takes an acquired taste, however, to appreciate the squared off low-riding appearance of this vehicle. But if you’re sold on this unique aspect, then you’ll definitely see this model as a worthy competitor against the Nissan Note and the Vauxhall Meriva. Apart from its standout look, the Materia houses a spacious interior and a durable quality to its build. Plus its price makes it friendly to those under a strict budget.
The Materia’s 1.5-litre petrol engine at 102bhp, despite its initial measurements, is quite strong and willing on the road. Although its 10.8 seconds time in arriving at 62mph from a standstill is average, it’s still not sluggish and acceleration is able to keep up with traffic speed. You won’t have any problems either as the drive is not just enjoyable and easy, but can readily cope according to the demands of most drivers. All models partner the engine with a five-speed gearbox, but the four-speed automatic is also offered as an alternative.
Standard equipment is the same on all models: a height-adjustable driver’s seat, twin front and side airbags, 15-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, front fog lamps, a CD stereo plus MP3 compatibility, electric windows, a reclining 60/40 split rear seats, and power steering. Considering the complete and compact collection of these features, you’ll get more bang out of your buck for these equipment options.
The rear area is generous in space, with its square shape offering ample headroom and legroom for its passengers. Passengers up front and out back won’t have any problems either with making themselves comfortable in the Materia.
Room is also ample in the boot, despite the Materia’s odd-looking square shape. The area can also be expanded further once the seats are folded down. Passengers won’t have any problems fitting in large boxes and placing them inside thanks to the boot’s low ground position. Extra space is provided for in the many cubbies and the glovebox.
The interior is quite impressive. Instruments are positioned at the centre of the dash. Stereo controls are easy to navigate, and other features such as the speakers and large air vents are practically positioned at the front. Forward visibility is provided for via the wide side windows and large windscreen. The steering wheel can be adjusted according to height but not according to reach.
Although the engine performs effectively on most roads and along traffic, it tends to become noisy and strained at times. The engine also becomes lacking when you have to overtake on a mid-range pull along B-roads. But if you aren’t prone to such speeds and roads, then the 1.5-litre unit of the Materia will perform superiorly for town or city drives.
The ride also tends to become stiff, but this shouldn’t be a problem for anyone who prefers going at slower town speeds. Steering is light and allows for easy parking, but this will become an issue when you decide to shift into higher speeds.
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