Most Daihatsu's have always been known as 'little economy cars' that's a breeze to park and easey to jet around town. The sad part is that usually no-one takes notice of it.
But that might just change with the introduction of Daihatsu's new mini MPV, the Materia. Daihatsu and the word "cool" can now actually be used in the same sentence!
And with the success of the Sirion models, which is a huge brand builder for Daihatsu, the new product can only do well.
The Materia is a result of Daihatsu wanting to enhance their brand by adding some new elements, particularly style and performance.
Furthermore the Materia has been designed as a standard family-size car, which can double up as a mini MPV.
The Materia has refreshingly new looks and is without a doubt different to anything else on the market. It has a distinctive design and blends cues from an MPV, a 5-door hatch and even some roadster styling elements.
Its long steeping lines, a strong masculine grille and tapering windows all contribute to the funky look.
Daihatsu have also come up with an ingenious design of where 80% of the wheel base has been used for cabin space inside the car.
The design also makes for a strong and sturdy structure, with dynamic stability. The leg and headroom is unbelievable and brings new meaning to the term spaciousness.
The Materia is a cross-over MPV which according to Daihatsu is aimed at a much younger market than its other products.
Daihatsu says it hopes that males in the late 20s to 30s who are looking for style and convenience as well as middle-aged women looking for practical wheels will buy this car.
The materials inside the car are modern and striking and are functional too. Ergonomics are friendly and the dashboard has a two-part central instrument panel which allows the driver to read the instruments with less eye-movement.
The front and rear seats can be arranged in many positions for individual or family use. The front seats can also be folded down flat to allow more loading space or even a sleeping position if the occasion rises.
Under the bonnet
The Materia is driven by a 4-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve, DVVT 1.5i petrol engine. It kicks out a power output of 76 kW at 6 000 r/min and 132 Nm of torque at 4 400 r/min for the 5-speed manual models and 138 Nm at 4 400 r/min for the 4-speed automatic model.
The engine produces impressive power for high speed driving and good torque characteristics in low and medium ranges for city-traffic.
Fuel consumption is claimed to be 6.8 litres per 100km.
Wheels24 got to drive the Materia on the scenic Franschoek Pass to Grabouw, and back to Klapmuts through Betty's and Gordon's Bay.
All these roads have lovely winding corners and beautiful bends and stretches. The smooth gear changes enable easy hill-climbing and do not hunt for uphill gears, thus making driving more enjoyable.
It also has a very tight turning circle of just 9.8 meters which also contributes to riding comfort and the stability of the car.
Standard features include power steering, electric windows, ABS brakes with EBD, air-conditioning, front fog-lights, alloy wheels and airbags. It also includes a MP3/WMA 160 watt integrated sound system with 6-speakers.
The Materia comes with a 3 year/100 000km warranty, a 3-year Anti-corrosion warranty and 15 000km service intervals.
R 139 995 Manual
R 148 995 Automatic