Mazda Demio Estate 1998 - 2003

Mazda Demio Estate 1998 - 2003

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016


  • It is a cheap car to run and buy
  • The 1.3-litre engine offers plenty of kit and gadgets for your money


  • The engines are far from impressive


The Mazda Demio is not the prettiest of superminis on the market, but as a little city run around it offers a good amount of space and kit for your money. The drive is far from being called exciting and the engines are all quite weak making motorway driving difficult, but as a little car for dropping the kids off at school or for doing the weekly shop, it performs well.

Exterior and Interior

The Demio might not be the best looking super-mini, but inside there is plenty of space for four adults to sit comfortably with all occupants receiving plenty of head, shoulder and legroom. The boot isn’t the biggest, but is a decent size being able to hold a weeks worth of shopping and for any larger objects you can always fold the back seats down. Overall the build quality of the interior is very good. As for choosing a trim level the 1.3 models came with a choice of three trims; the Standard, LXi and GXi levels until 2000 when the standard trim was dropped. The Standard trim came with most of the kit you are likely to want such as electric windows, alloys, an electric sunroof and power steering, while the LXi only really added a height adjustable seat. The GXi trim added an alarm and central locking on top of that. Personally we’d go for either the Standard or LXi trims as the GXi was too costly for what little extra you got. The 1.5 on the other hand only ever came with the GXi trim which for what you got just wasn’t worth it.

Performance and Economy

The original 1.3-litre was a good little all rounder achieving 40mpg and went from 0-60mph in 12.8 seconds. The 1.3-litre that replaced it was slower by just under a second and recorded the same 40mpg. The 1.5-litre that was added was only slightly quicker than the older engine getting to 60mph in 12.6 seconds, but as a result the fuel efficiency dropped down to 38mpg. None of the engines are particularly good to be honest and the 1.5 is only a little smoother at getting to higher speeds. As a result we’d say save your money and go for the original 1.3-litre as it offers the best all round performance. As for insurance costs, the 1.3-litre works out the cheapest falling into group 3 whilst the 1.5-litre falls into group 4.

Like to Drive

Unfortunately for the Demio the ride quality is poor with the steering feeling vague and light, there is too much body roll in the corners and the stiff suspension gives a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride on rougher road surfaces. At motorway speeds there is also lots of wind and road noise in the cabin that makes for a very painful journey.

Faults and Repairs

Mazda’s are known for their mechanical dependability and the Demio is no different being one of Mazda’s most reliable cars. Some areas to look into though are: the sunroof that some drivers have reported rattles and the exhausts on cars that are only used for short trips can rust through very quickly. Another thing to bear in mind is that the cambelt needs changing every 60,000 miles or every five years so make sure that this work has been done if the car is above either of these. The servicing costs are fairly cheap and it only needs to go in for servicing every 9,000 miles which for a car that is unlikely to do anywhere near that in a year makes maintenance costs even cheaper.