The interestingly box-like Materia Sedan was launched in 2006 by Daihatsu, based on their Sirion platform and an almost identical clone of Toyota's dB. This four-door five-seater hatchback is a continuation of Daihatsu's tradition to develop unique compact cars with the Materia bearing a strong resemblance to a pocket-sized sport utility vehicle.
When it comes down to it, the Daihatsu Materia Sedan does its job without a lot of frills to get it the way. Transporting people or goods in comfortable and easy, and it's easy to get excited over driving a vehicle with such unique offerings. Of course, the super low price sure doesn't hurt either.
The Materia Sedan receives its power from Daihatsu's 1.5-liter four cylinder, 16-valve electronic fuel injection dual overhead camshaft engine, which produces 102 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a five speed short stroke manual transmission that makes the vehicle surprisingly fun to drive.
When you first look at this vehicle, you don't really expect the smooth ride that you are granted. The front suspension on Macpherson struts topped up with coil springs and five ply leaf springs in the rear holds the road very well for a vehicle with such a small footprint ( 149.6 inches long and 66.5 inches wide) that is relatively very high ( 64.4 inches) with a lot of its excellent road holding abilities due to the sedan's inherently low gearbox ratios. This is a vehicle that takes turns aggressively without offering a ton of body roll. This is quite surprising how tall the roof line is to accommodate even the tallest driver.
Daihatsu's design team obviously had a vision in mind when they designed the Materia around such a tall and bland boxlike design. Its high roof line means that even individuals who are 6-feet tall can sit comfortably along the 60/40 rear benches, and with ninety degree angle opening doors in both sides, getting in and out of the Materia can also be done without any undue effort. Even the longest journey can be embarked on with three passengers in the backseat, due to the very wide space available between the front and back seats.
However that comfort comes at a price, as the luggage space behind the back row bench when the seats are up is very minimal. Nonetheless when the back seats are folded forward, the cargo space becomes much more appealing at 43-cubic-feet. This includes an uninterrupted length of almost 84 inches of floor area, with a little more storage space also available beneath the floor.