8 months with a Renault Clio

Top Car's Wayne Batty says goodbye to his Renault Clio. It’s not a soppy farewell but the little 'automatique' did its maker proud.

Kia's trendy family pick

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post experiences the upcoming Cerato.

Tested: Materia Turbo

2010-05-18 07:17
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Daihatsu
Engine 16v DOHC turbo four-cylinder
Power 110kW @ 5750r/min
Torque 190Nm @ 4800r/min
Transmission 5-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 8.9seconds
Top Speed 200km/h
Weight 1035kg
Price R219 995

Sergio Davids

As a proud owner of a 2000 Daihatsu Cuore, my first reaction to seeing the Materia for the first time was “Whoa! Someone’s gone and pimped my Cuore!”             

In terms of styling, it features a similar front to the Cuore, sporting a bonnet scoop that feeds the intercooler. Massive door panels, box frame chassis, huge rims and a killer sound system are all indicators of the pimp potential. The TSWs sporting the Daihatsu logo are a great touch as well as the Momo steering wheel. It’s as if the car was born out of a “Pimp My Ride” episode where they ran out of budget half way through. For instance the loose amp, which appears to have been shoved, not fitted, under the passenger seat does little for the car’s cool factor.

I’ve heard differing opinions on the Materia Turbo ranging from “Oh, what’s that? Looks cute” to “Geez, it’s kinda ugly”. Whatever your opinions might be on its look one thing is for certain, the Materia is sure to attract a lot of attention during traffic.

Driving it is couldn’t be simpler. The newly developed 1.5 litre engine 1.5 engine delivers  110kW at 5750r/min while producing peak torque figures 190Nm at 4800r/min which translates a rather fun driving experience. The engine produces surprising power for high speed driving on highways and in urban areas, while providing excellent torque characteristics in the low and medium speed ranges.

What I really liked about the Materia Turbo is its ease of use, ability to nip around the city and the sprightly, if sometimes, noisy engine. The engine features a rather ‘old school’ turbo in that it needs to spool up and release pressure each time you apply the accelerator. However this translates into a truck-like hydraulic noise each time you ease off the throttle.  After a while though, it became a lot of fun to drive the turbo as the turbo waste-gate ‘whoosh’ started growing on me.

The Materia’s bodyroll is incredibly well contained and the ride is boosted with plenty of grip and an optional limited-slip differential.  We even took it around Kilarney where its versatility came to fore as a tracking vehicle during our video shoots.

I was also impressed by the amount of interior space within the confines of the Materia. With the seats folded down you’re rewarded with staggering amount of space perfect for anyone using it as a mom’s taxi. While the boot space might be tiny underneath, the boot panel sees compartments for various sized goods and smallish items.  

Inside you can tell Daihatsu were going for a ‘trendy’ look and feel but the controls are more Fisher Price than stylish. The interior space is ample with an incredible amount of headroom. And I’m not short by any means but it’s the first time I’ve ever been in a vehicle where I’ve had to fully extend my arms just to reach my sunvisor.

Overall I really enjoyed the Materia Turbo. Sure it’s got a few faults, and I while driving it I did find myself on the receiving end of a few interesting looks, but the fact is, the Materia turbo is a fun, agile city runabout.  Love it or hate it, apart from its unusual looks, the Materia Turbo is like a lucky packet – full of surprises and a whole lot of fun.

Materia Turbo, the modern day YRV turbo or not? Share your thoughts here...


Inside Wheels24

Take a virtual tour of the McLaren 570S in SA

Want to experience what it's like to be behind the wheel of a 419kW sports car? Take a virtual tour of the McLaren 570S in our interactive Snapchat video filmed in SA.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.