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Daihatsu's funky Cube rival on the way

Fri, 29 Sep 2006

By Ben Whitworth

Motor Industry

29 September 2006 08:01

Daihatsu is on the verge of giving its boxy Materia supermini – which made its European debut in Paris - the green light for UK imports.

If given the green light the spacious five-seater, which is already on sale in Japan, would arrive here next spring as a stand-alone topend model. The Materia is very similar to Nissan's does-it-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin Cube, which has been super popular with Japanese kids.

Based on the Sirion platform, the Skoda Roomster and Nissan Note rival is powered by a 102bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine driving the front wheel through a five-speed manual box. There will be no diesel.

Novel features include a dash backlit by hidden blue LED lights and a rear bench that slides back and forth to boost either rear passenger legroom or boot space. There’s no word on pricing but given Daihatsu’s strong value for money proposition, expect prices to start around the £11,000 mark.

By Ben Whitworth