A colleague of mine finally got the Mazda demio, and i was able to get a quick drive and some snaps to do this brief post on the car. Hope to add the usual details once the chap gets this car into the roads after registration. Pardon the quality of images and the state of the vehicle, it has just cleared posts, and the shots courtesy the Nokia N8 phone camera!
Unlike most other cars in the segment, the new Demio was first to reduce in weight to the previous model than the every increase in weight in cars. Other manufacturers have shown similar changes after the Demio was released.
The Demio (based on the same platform as the Ford Fiesta) is more a Vitz sized car, small in interior space and overall dimensions compared to larger cars such as Honda Fit which are form more favorable on the accommodation front. The car is highly rated in many UK reviews for its handling and composure.
Here are some of my initial observations based on the quick test,
Definitely looks much smaller than the other cars in the category, but has what you call a “cute” look. The car i tested was the base model hence was missing a lot of fan fare that added to the visual effect that makes this car look quite sporty. The curvy lines that is now common on Mazda cars is very noticeable. However without the body kit, the car design does lack a bit of flair, and I also noted many people were not fully comfortable with the curvy design theme of the Demio.
This was the second Mazda Demio i had a look, but unlike the other that had a dark gloomy interior, the interior in this car had snazzy white seat design that definitely lighted up the interior. However keeping those seats clean is going to be one challenge, and I am sure it might have seat covers coming if its going to be used as a family car (kids walking with dirty shoes, or flinging what they consume including melted chocolates are a common situation!)
The front seating is very decent, and seats quite comfortable. The wheel has a very simple but Mazda type design. However the smaller size definitely impacts the rear legroom, and even a person of average height (5′ 6″) would be rather too tight on legroom even with the front seat not fully pulled back. The Demio also did not have the Vitz trick on allowing the rear seats to on rails, that allows some flexibility between rear legroom and boot space.
The boot space is decent and competitive with the likes of the Swift and the Vitz but is pales badly compared to the much larger boot in the Honda Fit.
Had a quick spin with the vehicle, and made sure i took it across some uneven tarmac including ruts and bumps. Immediately noticeable is the very good damping on the car, that provided a comfortable ride, something that I always felt was bad with most Honda cars (bar the Accord i had owned a while back). The ride was definitely more in the same feel of a Toyota than an Honda.
However the difference to a Toyota fortunately stopped there as it felt very nippy, and the wheel was very smooth and gave you a feel of utmost control. I am sure the sporty versions of this model must be a quite an interesting car to drive 🙂 Even this car with its 1.3 liter engine seems quite rev happy, even more so that the engine in the Honda Fit GE6 and seems to have a better low down torque aided by the CVT gearbox which is not the usual gearbox in this car, but this particular model had the CVT gearbox. However i saw the Autocar UK test for the two cars, and the Honda Fit was definitely the faster of the two on the 0-100 tests.
Sadly no time to test this, so will have to wait for the long term test .