Not a good looker, but Materia has charm

MANY people may dislike the design of the Daihatsu Materia. For those who think weird is beautiful or ugly is art, then who are we to tell themotherwise.

The Daihatsu Materia has always got people talking since entering our market in 2007.

Personally, I have always thought of Materia as ugly in a beautiful way. I am not sure if this makes sense. But there were guys I knew in my teens who used to refer to my friend as sekobo se se pila. The Materia is that kind of a car.

Satisfied with the market response, Daihatsu South Africa decided they should add some spice to the Materia range - to give it more inner beauty, so to speak, and the Materia Turbo was added in December last year.

When I received one on test a few weeks ago, I thought it could be a toy for a naughty guy who likes the idea of standing out in a crowd. This is the type of a guy who owns a bike.

The Turbo, put to the 1,5-litre engine, makes so much difference - although I never really had problems with the car's power before.

The interior of the Materia is surprisingly spacious and the styling and materials used are modern and eye-catching.

The Materia is also more functional than other models of its kind, thanks in part to its easy-to-use operating systems.

The front seats, with seat-height adjuster on the driver's side, provide ease and comfort. The rear seats can be arranged in many ways, for individual to family use.

Materia Turbo also boasts the latest technological features such as air-conditioning, central locking, electric windows and mirrors and electrically assisted power steering.

It has a 5-speed manual transmission and drives well around the city. It cruises effortlessly on highways and still gives you that extra dose of performance power.

It also comes with a bonnet air intake for interior cooling, providing just the right amount of aesthetics for that extra bit of attitude.