Daihatsu Materia 1.5 Review
Materia(l) related Puns...

Text and Photos by Amery Reuben
6 Jun 2007
 

The Daihatsu Materia might be one of the few that appears to have never seen the inside of a wind tunnel, and is proud of it. Call it a 70s recreational disaster or the Japanese answer to a Smart. This latest product from Daihatsu, maker of many a compact that Perodua has oh so plagiarised, has loads of character.

After clambering around inside this car, and declaring it to be sweet, it was something that I wanted to get my hands on when it arrives in Singapore.

Not that I’d want to own one of these (through and through, I am serious sports car addict), but a car that has one too many idiosyncrasies, and makes for a serious “I am different so screw you if you hate me!” is too good to pass on.

The Daihatsu Materia is THE ORIGINAL Toyota bB, believe it or not. The Parallel Imported bB is essentially a retagged Daihatsu Materia with a higher price tag.

Appearance

Well then, with such a bold car that many people are bound to love and hate, I don’t need to tell you that the Materia has interesting angles. The car appears to have been done by fusing together two metal tins on top of each other.

Then, someone came along with a shaver or grinder and used that to trim the edges into shape, stuffing the lights in random places and then, giving it a 1.5 Vios engine to complete the package.

Not that it is a bad thing really.

Even on the outside, you will be able to see that there clearly is no lack of space, except for the booth. Being square has its storage advantages. When you fold the 60/40 seats down, just see how much space you have when you try loading your grandmother’s square coffee shop table.

Features

There is just too much headroom. Elbow and legroom for all occupants are definitely sufficient for a 1.7m tall person like me.

Equipment levels are generous – front airbags, central locking, electric windows and mirrors, an MP3 audio system, luggage space that is both high and flat and no lack of hooks and crevices for your morning supply of milk eggs to arrive intact at your doorstep.

Yes, storage is aplenty, but it quickly translates into a frustrating experience if you are trying to stuff that bag of chips into one of its many compartments proves to be a huge struggle.

Apart from the stylish piano key black audio system, air conditioning controls and cupholder in the door recess that fall to hand easily, the rest is an ergonomical nightmare.

Fine, maybe I’m not supposed to grope for my “barang-barang” whilst on the move, but I’ve seen better, for example, in the Renault Megane Scenic.


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