Mazda’s new Demio has just been launched and, in a market looking increasingly fragmented in niche markets the Demio seems to be opening up another new niche this one perhaps very well suited to a certain segment of the population of South East England, the retired driver who perhaps wants a less powerful car that is practical, roomy and easy to get in and out of, fuel efficient, easy to park and easy to drive and the Demio is all of those things and some.
The Demio combines City car size with MPV uprightness and adds just a touch of the Sport Utility in it’s styling all the while avoiding some of the more brick like styling cues of some smaller City cars which suffer from perhaps being a bit too small, too cramped, in that respect the Demio is about the ideal size for 2 and an occasional 4. All of those those attributes fit it for a much wider market but it fits perfectly that 60 plus market profile.
Very simply, a range of 1 car, with no engine choice and few options makes selection easy and at £10,550 on the road it’s good value for money with a pretty full standard specification which includes power steering, electric windws and sunroof, central locking, alloy wheels, immobiliser and a driver’s airbag.
The cabin is roomy the benefit of the extra height and more upright seating arrangement giving both great comfort and great space in a comparitively small body volume. The seats are very adjustbale and quite comfortable and the general dashboard design while simple in looks is blessedly simple also in use, even the stereo benefits from being more user friendly than some of the audio bricks which require a degree in electronics to decipher.
The lively 1.3 litre engine with the 5 speed manual box is quiet in almost all circumstances yet powerful enough for all the use that the Demio is likely to be put to, what it does share with other city cars is it’s frugality, it sips petrol at a very slow rate and, after all, that is what City cars are supposed to be about, low fuel consumption and, thereby, low pollution.
Equally as adept, the handling and ride are excellent, stable and sure footed, none of the sometimes alarming roll of tall vehicles and generally very easy to place the car on the road.
The Trades Descriptions Act requires that any product be fit for it’s purpose, few cars surely fit their market niche more closely than the Mazda Demio, good fit, good price, good car.
First Published 1998 – Article © Graham Benge 2007