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Daihatsu Materia, Kia Soul and Nissan Cube in the driving report

Rossen Gargolov
Daihatsu Materia, Kia Soul and Nissan Cube in the driving report
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Cars are getting rounder and rounder? Grinded for efficiency in the wind tunnel until they resemble each other like pebbles? Tell the designers from Daihatsu Materia, Kia Soul and N issan Cube. At the intersections of minivan and SUV, building blocks are more likely to have served as a source of inspiration. With massive fronts and no less powerful buttocks, they appear in the streets like hippos in a penguin enclosure.

The Nissan Cube is a popular tuning car in Japan

Already in its third generation on the home market, the Nissan Cube establish it as a cult vehicle of the Japanese tuning scene. But also German passers-by are amazed at the sight of building blocks, whereby only two opinions seem possible: Either he is liked as by our young gas station attendant ('Hammercool'), or he gets uncomprehending shaking of his head. Regardless of taste, its box shape has a number of advantages: Headroom at the front and back is not an issue, while the slightly raised seating position makes it easy to get in and out. The steep front window in row one also lets you forget that, at just under four meters, it is no longer than an Opel Corsa.

With the Nissan Cube, charging processes are not only turned into a show act in the driving report

Practically also the back seat, which shifts depending on the transport order and the backrest angle can be adjusted. But let's not fool ourselves, the Nissan wants a pragmatist Cube not be. Otherwise its makers would have given it an ordinary tailgate and not this side-swiveling refrigerator door, which is usually in the way, but makes charging a show. Or they would not only have been wasteful with glass in the roof area, but also in places where it serves for clarity - for example at the rear, where small portholes create an intimate atmosphere on the back seat - and force parking by ear. The lovable round mini flokati on the dashboard would probably have fallen by the wayside. Its long fringes are said to be cell phones andKeep other small items within easy reach while driving (don't do them). To do this, they trigger stroking reflexes and loud expressions of sympathy in female inmates.

The Daihatsu Materia looks like a hot rod that has been washed too hot

With its angular structure and an evil eye, the Kia Soul also makes suburban revolutionaries. But in the depths of his interior he looks good like a punk on Granny's birthday. He welcomes his passengers with solid material quality, clearly laid out instruments with nice chrome jewelry and the most comfortable seats in this group. Twelve large and conveniently located shelves also support civil orderliness. Even critical viewers accept with a twinkle in their eye that the loudspeaker rings of its sound system (530 euros) flicker to the beat of the music at parking lot parties. We were all young once. The Daihatsu Materia has an external effect hot rod from the America of the thirties that was washed too hot. Daihatsu equips the mobile one to match the robust look Cube even comes with all-wheel drive for just 1,000 euros extra.

The Daihatsu Materia trunk shrinks to 181 liters

In the interior, however, the designers have apparently fallen into a deep creativity hole. So even a few blue light accents and the pseudo-piano lacquer around the radio cannot change the hard plastic sadness of the sparsely populated dashboard with its thin steering wheel rim. The plain fabric covers of its thinly upholstered seats and a headliner with a pressboard look are suspiciously reminiscent of uncomfortable youth hostel stays. The pragmatism also has its good sides: If the variable rear seat is pushed back as far as it will go, the rear is more airy than in some mid-range sedans. The fact that only 181 liters of luggage space are left is forgivable in view of the shortest body.

103 hp are enough for the Daihatsu Materia for good pulling power in the driving report

When driving, the fun is generally a bit In smaller letters, because in the end all three are good small cars despite their imposing appearance. Specifically, this means: savings measures such as five instead of six gears, little sound insulation and therefore a high level of noise, or the elimination of longitudinally adjustable steering wheels. The box shape also leads to higher wind sensitivity and slow acceleration beyond the recommended motorway speed.

In any case, there is no lack of performance. Although the engine is still the weakest with 103 HP, even the Daihatsu Materia cheerfully go. No wonder, it brings just under three hundredweightless on the scales than the stronger competitors. Thanks to direct steering and agile handling, the Daihatsu Materia throws itself most agile in the meandering curves - underlined by the cheeky, cheeky engine sound of its easy-revving 1.5-liter four-cylinder.

Driving report: The Kia Soul shows the most mature driving behavior

However, the temperament now and then gets in the way of the transmission with awkward gear changes. In addition, the Daihatsu is shaken more vigorously than the competitors by the many frost breaks of the harsh winter - accompanied by loud undercarriage rumbling. On the other hand, the lightweight impresses with the shortest braking distances: Even fully loaded, it decelerates in less than 38 meters from a speed of 100. The Nissan Cube cushions bumps in the most casual way, but feels no need to work sideways dynamically. With less precise steering and more understeer, he takes country road excursions as motivated as teenagers take a Sunday walk. Seats with the side support of an exercise ball also seem to appeal to the driver to take it easy. After all, the 1.6-liter refrains from annoying combustion noises or vibrations. Overall, the Kia shows the most mature driving behavior.

The consumption of all three models in the driving report is quite high

Although it is also extremely stiff-legged over short bumps, neither chassis noises nor too strong are annoying Side tilt. In addition, its steering impresses with the right mix of serenity and precision. The Kia Soul collects further plus points with its precise gearshift and the powerful four-cylinder. When it comes to consumption, however, the differences are small. Shortly translated five-speed gearboxes and the inefficient aerodynamics are reflected in comparatively high consumption rates of 8.3 to 8.6 liters /100 kilometers. For a surcharge of around 2,000 euros, Kia and Nissan attract frequent drivers with diesel engines that promise better pulling power with less consumption.

The Kia Soul offers the best price-performance ratio in the driving report

In the driven petrol version, after the properties-also the cost chapter goes to the Kia. The rivals have little to offer against a seven-year guarantee and the lowest basic price, especially since air conditioning or CD radio with iPod control are already included in the basic Soul for 15,900 euros. With the function package (central locking with radio remote control, steering wheel buttons for the radio and electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors) for 620 euros, nothing essential is missed. Quite different with the Daihatsu Materia, which is around 1,000 euros more expensive and ESP can be paid separately at 650 euros. For the weaker engine and the all-wheel drive variant, Daihatsu does not even offer the important anti-skid protection. An absurdity. The well-equipped Nissan Cube does not show such nakedness. With 18,000 eurosThe base price, however, is already marching tightly towards the compact class. His fans shouldn't care either. After all, model students have never had the most followers.

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