Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fourth-generation Mazda Demio/2 (DJ)

When the Mazda Demio was in its third-generation, it became the first car in Mazda history to introduce the game-changing SKYACTIV Technology which combines efficiency and performance that most drivers want. So far, SKYACTIV Technology was applied in most models ranging from the CX-5 crossover, Axela compact sedan and hatch, and the Atenza executive saloon and wagon.

2015 Mazda Demio

Now, the first Mazda that introduced SKYACTIV Technology to the world has been regenerated with a new and improved style that demands to be a top-seller in this category. The folks from Mazda really had high hopes into selling this new, fourth-generation, Demio globally because of its fuel efficiency and performance SKYACTIV Technology delivers and I strongly believe on that...almost.

So, the brand new Demio (known in the world market as the Mazda 2), what's changed for the first Mazda to introduce such technology? Keeping in tune with the times, the new Demio employs the carmaker's KODO -Soul in Motion- design philosophy and it was heavily inspired from the Hazumi Concept from the Geneva Motor Show last Spring. With its new look, looks like the new Demio really stands out being a city car in its own right. Most of your neighbors from the suburbs or from the rural area you were living on think you are something special, even your college buddies as well.

2015 Mazda Demio interior
2015 Mazda Demio interior
On the inside, the new Demio was heavily influenced by the interior design of the latest Mazda Axela and it's now roomier than the last one thanks to its wheelbase that is now 80mm longer. Sounds good to us but if you're getting busy while getting caught in a traffic gridlock, don't fret because the new Demio comes with MAZDA CONNECT where, at the turn of the dial, allows you to stay connected with some apps, navigation, and entertainment. There has been some software changes to the MAZDA CONNECT to make it more user-friendly than ever and on the new Demio, you don't have to get bored while stuck on the traffic jam.

Thanks to its longer wheelbase and length, boot space is now decent than the last one but if you need more, you can fold the rear seats as well. Mazda really knows that the added space is just one of the trump cards the new Demio had and that really sets them apart from its rivals such as the Toyota Vitz, Nissan March, Honda Fit, and the Mitsubishi Mirage.

2015 Mazda Demio
Now, the main course for the Demio is its performance and two engines are available as of now: a P3-VPS 1.3L SKYACTIV-G 4-cylinder DOHC Miller Cycle engine and the newly-developed S5-DPTS 1.5L SKYACTIV-D 4-cylinder diesel turbo engine. The 1.3L petrol model with be mated with a 6-speed auto and a 5-speed manual while the top-of-the-line 1.5L diesel model can be fitted with a 6-speed auto or 6-speed manual.

Since Mazda believes that its diesel variant is going to be top pick, let's talk more on this engine. This Euro-6 compliant engine has a power output of 105PS and 250Nm of torque output (220Nm for the 6MT model). Fuel economy for the diesel? About 30km/L on the JC08 Mode scale.

Since there are no JDM compacts with diesel engines, the new Demio is a class of its own with no competition but since this sounds unfair, let's compare this fuel economy with the Europeans. Let's remember, 30.0km/L of fuel economy came from its 1.5L SKYACTIV-D engine.

When compared against a Peugeot 208 with a 1.6L e-HDi engine equipped, that's about .3km/L short. Against the Citroen C3 with the same 1.6L diesel engine and the new Demio is 2.2km/L more. VW , Polo with the 1.4L TDI BlueMotion Technology? The Demio beats by a gap of 0.6km/L. So, there you go. That new 1.5L SKYACTIV-D engine on the new Demio poses an even greater threat to the about 2 out of 3, as a theory.

Okay, we had enough about that engine but what about the 1.3L SKYACTIV-G? Let's cut this short because there isn't much time to talk more. Anyway, the 1.3L SKYACTIV-G engine develops 92PS of power and 121Nm of torque. Fuel economy is a decent 24.6km/L on the JC08 Mode scale.

What about handling? The old Demio tries to fight against its catastrophic understeer but arguably, it tries to hold you back. It's not quite as dynamic as its Euro rivals. So, what Mazda did is improve it by giving it MacPherson Struts on the front and thanks to its extensive use of the SKYACTIV-BODY and SKYACTIV-CHASSIS, the new Demio has its handling slightly improved. It feels good to drive but not quite matched to its Euro rivals, maybe because they've added 40kg of weight I presumed. Despite all this, the new Demio still has the Mazda factor, being a fun car to drive that guaranteed a small smile on your face and with all of this improvements to the handling department, I'm glad to say that this is probably a good contender to the list of cars Gran Turismo 6 should put. Why there are no racing video games of today featuring Mazda cars with SKYACTIV Technology and Kodo design on it? Are they afraid?

Should you buy this? The new Demio starts at a reasonably-priced 1,350,000 Japanese Yen (around $14,000) for the 13C model while the XD model (the one with the 1.5L diesel on it) starts at 1,782,000 Japanese Yen (around $18,000). Although this is more expensive than the Toyota Vitz, Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Fit, and the Nissan March, this is still one of the most advanced hatchbacks from Japan at this moment in time.

In Japan, sales of petrol models will start on the 26th of September while diesel models will be on Mazda, Mazda Efini, and Mazda Autozam dealerships on the 23rd of October, and 4WD models will arrive this December.

Available colors: Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Aluminum Metallic, Meteor Gray Mica, Jet Black Mica, Soul Red Premium Metallic, Titanium Flash Mica, Blue Reflex Mica, Dynamic Blue Mica, Deep Crystal Blue Mica, and Smokey Rose Mica.

Photo: Mazda Motor Corporation

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