The Daihatsu Materia has to be a very strong contender for the title, ‘Ugliest Car in the World’.
The Daihatsu Materia has to be a very strong contender for the title, ‘Ugliest Car in the World’. However, it does hold a few surprises.
Pretty, it isn’t, but then Daihatsu, a company that has never shied away from confronting conformity head-on and daring to be different, prefers the word ‘funky’. Looking somewhat like a concept car that has sneaked onto the production line, the Materia has struck a chord in Japan and the USA, where, we’re told, they have a cult following by those who enjoy customising their cars and filling them with heavy-duty sound systems.
It’s the looks that separate the Materia from its rivals, the Vauxhall Meriva and Renault Modus. The roof is higher than both of the others and the deep side-skirts and doors means that the windows appear to be little more than a narrow strip. The flared wheel-arches go some way to mitigating the wide, boxy stance and the high, stubby nose looks squashed in, as if against a window.
The rear end is equally ‘slabby’ with a deep tailgate and heavy bumper separated by a curved, silver panel between the lights. Plenty of people offered an opinion on the appearance but I think that PT Cruiser meets Postman Pat’s van, about covers it.
That said, the Materia does grow on you. Somebody unkindly suggested that this was because from the driver’s seat, you can’t see the outside. Hopefully, the novelty value will entice people to take a closer look at the ‘practicals’.
The tall, boxy structure encloses a spacious interior. There’s masses of headroom despite the fact that the front passengers sit tall - imagine a dining chair on a rolling platform and you’ll get the idea. Sitting upright, of course, means that you take up less space and, at the same time, have a commanding view of the surrounding, traffic conditions. Only the driver has height adjustment for their seat, to go with the rake-adjustable steering column.
The same applies to the rear seats, which look fairly basic but are, in fact, very comfortable. Granny and Granddad will appreciate the high seat level as it makes getting in and out a great deal easier, and this is helped by the wide rear doors. Children will also like the high seating position as they can see through the windows.
Daihatsu Materia Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Daihatsu Materia 1.5-litre|
|Body Type||5-Door Hatchabck|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||10.8 Seconds|
|Top Speed||106 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||46.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3-year/unlimited mileage warranty|
|Price (when tested on the 24/10/07)||£10,995|