What is it?
It’s the Daihatsu Materia: quite a big car by Daihatsu standards. Despite its kei-car looks – it’s a mini-MPV, about the size of a Renault Modus, Vauxhall Meriva and Nissan Note.
Why the boxy looks? Cubism for cars is all the rage in Japan and the US, apparently, where the Honda Element and Nissan, er, Cube, are doing rather well. So Daihatsu wants in on it too.
What’s it like?
Whether you like the looks or not, they do no harm for interior space. The Materia is nothing if not roomy: it has a wide cabin, bags of headroom and a screen/dashboard set well forward. The driving position’s fine, but the high window line does nothing for placing the corners.
There are a few neat touches inside – speaker surrounds glow blue, there’s a swoopy bit around the dash – but otherwise this is a very conventional, functional interior. Plastics are on the basic side (the Modus and Meriva both imbue a better perception of quality), but fit and finish is excellent.
Rear-seat accommodation is good too: the rear seats split/fold and slide to play legroom off against boot space. In their rearmost position, there’s more legroom than in most big saloons.