Used Mazda Demio Hatchback 1998 - 2001 review

Category: Small car

Useful space, but the Demio is a poor drive

Used Mazda Demio Hatchback 1998 - 2001
  • Used Mazda Demio Hatchback 1998 - 2001
  • Used Mazda Demio Hatchback 1998 - 2001
Used Mazda Demio Hatchback 1998 - 2001 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Mazda Demio estate like?

Lots of superminis built from the late-90s ownwards, even those with a tall, MPV-like design like the Demio's, were good fun to drive. This model, however, falls woefully short of the standards set by some of its rivals.

The handling is poor because the body leans too much in corners, the steering is stodgy, and the ride is just as bad. Bumps of all sizes jolt into the cabin and the lumpy motorway ride is accompanied by excessive amounts of noise.


Useful space, but the Demio is a poor drive

  • It's cheap to buy and you'll get lots of kit
  • It looks a bit odd and the engines struggle

That's all pretty damning, but the truth is, apart from that, the Demio isn't too bad. There's lots of head-, leg- and shoulder room in any seat and the interior quality is pretty good.

Although the boot isn't class-leading, you can increase its capacity by folding the split rear seat. But, unlike the Toyota Yaris's, those rear seats can't be lifted out completely.

Ownership cost

What used Mazda Demio estate will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Mazda Demio estate?

Considering how big the Demio was in comparison with other superminis, it was never a very expensive new car. And, now that you can take advantage of the distinctly unspectacular residual values, used prices are extremely keen, to say the least. We recommend the older versions that can be picked up for a fraction of what buyers of the new car would have paid.

Running costs aren't bad, but they're not quite as spectacularlylow. The 1.3 will return an average of 40.3mpg, but the 1.5 will manage only 38.7mpg. That's not great for the class.

Insurance costs fall into the same category. Buying the 1.3 will earn you a group 3 classification, while the 1.5 is in group 4. Again, this isn't outrageous, but considering the limited power of the two engines, it isn't terrific, either.

We don't expect owners to do particularly high mileages, so the service intervals of 9000 miles are reasonably palatable, and should help to keep maintenance costs down.

Our recommendations

Which used Mazda Demio estate should I buy?

There's a simple choice of two engines: a 63bhp 1.3-litre petrol engine or a 1.5-litre petrol that knocks out a slightly healthier 74bhp. As you'd expect, the 1.5 is a little quicker, shaving a second off the smaller engine's 0-60mph sprint time. However, both feel too sluggish in just about any situation, so save your money and stick with the cheaper 1.3.

The 1.3 comes in three trims - Standard, LXi and GXi. All cars made before 2000 were in Standard trim and came with power steering, alloys, electric windows, driver's airbag and electric sunroof. After 2000, LXi became the base, with power steering and a height-adjustable driving seat. GXi models added central locking, an alarm and electric windows, but for our money, LXi is the best combination of kit and cost.

The 1.5 comes only in GSi form. You'll get an electric sunroof, remote central locking and anti-lock brakes but, as we say, it's not worth the expense.

However, the latest 2001 models all came with remote central locking, twin front and side airbags and anti-lock brakes as standard, so they're worth looking out.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Mazda Demio estate?