It happens on a daily basis. No matter how much we immerse ourselves in car culture, each venture onto the highway brings us face to face with an automotive creation that instinct tells us we shouldn’t crave, yet we desperately yearn to experience.
It’s a want we rarely share for fear of public ridicule but in a selfless act of public service, I’ve created an outlet for my ‘problem’ which I’ll populate over the coming months. Perhaps it might help you too.
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Guilty Pleasures.
#1 Daihatsu Materia
Mechanically there’s little to excite the senses under the Materia’s bonnet. Revvy but essentially run-of-the-mill engines offer reliability and longevity but modest power and aural delight.
The platform is equally mundane, shared with the second generation Sirion, a supermini you’ve already forgotten about, such was the fervour not unleashed by the car-buying public during its spell on the market. It stops, goes, corners and rides with no particularly shining ability.
No, the Materia’s sole trump card for me is the styling, a sort of shrunken hearse that wouldn’t look out of place in the Wacky Races.
Tall, blunt and with a higher belt line than Simon Cowell’s expensive slacks, the Materia looks nuts. Presumably the design crew penned it following a mid-afternoon coffee break in Amsterdam.
The nose is bluff, broken only by the requirements for lights and air intakes, while the abrupt tail cascades towards the rear bumper, finished by a monochrome plinth linking the dinky tail lights.
Inside there’s a ridiculous amount of space for a car of such a small footprint, although you do sit upright and find yourself surrounded by 50 shades of grey plastic. But the button count is high with electric controls for most functions and it’s well assembled too. Again, Daihatsu built these to last.
Not that it’s really a Daihatsu, for this is actually a Japanese market Toyota bB, that’s also sold in its homeland with minor stylistic tweaks as the Daihatsu Coo (better name than Materia, surely?) and Subaru Dex.
Would I buy one? You betchya, in top spec 1.5-litre form, with slushmatic box and looking aces in metallic aubergine.
Nudged your curiosity? Daihatsu Materias for sale on Auto Trader
Got a guilty pleasure yourself? Get in touch and get it off your chest @keithwrjones