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Daihatsu Materia (2007): first official pictures

Mon, 11 Jun 2007

By Jack Rix

First Official Pictures

11 June 2007 11:03

Daihatsu Materia: the lowdown

At last, a Daihatsu with at least some street-cred! This is the new Materia mini-MPV, due to go on sale in July. It borrows the slammed-low, urban styling pioneered by cars such as the Nissan Cube and Honda Element, but this one will be imported officially into the UK. The choice of engines isn’t a choice at all – you get a 1.5-litre petrol with 102bhp and a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox. Standard equipment is generous and includes power steering, ABS, air-conditioning and six-speaker radio-CD. It’s refreshing in this day and age to find only one factory option available: metallic paint at £325.

Elsewhere in the world, the Materia is sold as a Daihatsu and a Toyota Bb, so you might recognise it from foreign shores. But there are definite echoes of the Nissan Cube (sold only in Japan) and the Honda Element in the boxy design. Daihatsu isn't trying to hide it either, admitting that the squat stance, flared wheelarches and minimal overhangs look has achieved a ‘cult-following’ in Japan, with several manufacturers struggling to keep up with consumer demand. Who is Daihatsu targeting with the Materia? It reckons European customers will be in the market for a Renault Modus and Vauxhall Meriva, and the Materia is undeniably cooler looking than either. But only time will tell whether Europeans will stomach the toy-town looks and shun the more conservatively styled MPVs they’re used to.

By Jack Rix