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Daihatsu Materia (2009 - 2011)

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By Andy Enright

Introductionword count: 82

Until very recently, buying an MPV-style vehicle meant sacrificing any semblance of style. Sitting behind the wheel of a bloated testament to lost youth is never particularly appealing, so many manufacturers have thought of ways of making the experience a bit cooler. At the smaller end of the scale is Daihatsu's Materia, a car that shows it's hip to be square. Affordable when new and now extremely tempting as a used buy, here's what to look out for when shopping for one.

Modelsword count: 87

5-door supermini MPV (1.5 petrol) Until very recently, buying an MPV-style vehicle meant sacrificing any semblance of style. Sitting behind the wheel of a bloated testament to lost youth is never particularly appealing, so many manufacturers have thought of ways of making the experience a bit cooler. At the smaller end of the scale is Daihatsu's Materia, a car that shows it's hip to be square. Affordable when new and now extremely tempting as a used buy, here's what to look out for when shopping for one.

Historyword count: 237

The Materia was launched in the UK back in 2007 but already had some history behind it. It's the second generation of a vehicle that had been on sale in Japan badged as a Toyota and in the United States under Toyota's youth-orientated Scion brand. Daihatsu is a Toyota-owned company these days and the Japanese also have a Daihatsu-badged version but where we know ours as the Materia, they call theirs the Coo. Whatever you want to call it, there's no denying that the Materia was an unusual sight for UK eyes with nothing looking quite like it - at least nothing having made it over here through official channels. Nissan tried a toe in the water approach with its Cube but that failed strike a chord with British buyers. The Materia's crack at the British market was scuppered by exchange rates. When it was first imported, it carried a competitive asking price of under £11,000 but the change in the strength of the yen versus the pound and euro meant that by 2011, it was completely uneconomic to sell it in Europe at anything approaching a sensible price and still make a profit. Daihatsu pulled the plug on its entire range of cars, ostensibly giving a date of 31st January 2013 for its withdrawal, but with no new stock being imported, the Materia effectively ceased to exist as a new car at the start of 2011.

What You Getword count: 278

Daihatsu claimed that the vehicle established a cult-following in the markets where it's offered for sale and it's easy to see how it did. The squared-off lines and dramatically flared wheelarches are extremely distinctive with the car maintaining a low, ground-hugging stance despite being taller than supermini MPV rivals like Vauxhall's Meriva and Renault's Modus. The squat look is further enhanced by the narrow glasshouse and the high window line that rises up towards the rear of the car. Recent Daihatsu products have ditched the traditional wafer thin plastics and cheap detailing of a budget Asian brand in favour of Toyota-sourced switchgear and sturdy build quality. The Materia continues the theme with a classy look and feel to its cabin which, incidentally, is as spacious as the boxy exterior would suggest. The rear bench slides fore or aft adjusting the ratio of rear legroom to boot space and at the back, the load floor is flush with the tailgate so hefty objects can be easily slid inside. Entries and exits are made simple by the deep door openings and there are some impressive detail touches about the cabin including the liquid black finish of the plastic stereo surround and the spooky blue illumination of the armrests in the front doors. There's only one factory option on the Materia (metallic paint for £325) but standard equipment levels leave very little to the imagination when you remember that we're talking about an £11,000 car. There's air-conditioning, a CD stereo with MP3 compatibility, remote central locking, a split folding rear seat, alloy wheels and front fog lamps. Safety kit includes twin front and side airbags as well as ABS with EBD.

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Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: MPV People Carriers

Performance
60%
Handling
70%
Comfort
60%
Space
70%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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