Mazda Demio XD Touring

Mazda Demio XD Touring Review: “An all-new model that has been properly updated” by Takahito Nakamura

It’s been more than a year since I personally drove the diesel variant of the Mazda Demio. At the time, the distance I have traveled reached 17,000km. More or less, I have discovered its good and bad points. At that juncture, I immediately took the opportunity to test drive the all-new Demio that just came out.

Two mechanical parts have had major improvements. First is the Natural Sound Smoother, which reduces the diesel knock sounds. This technology will be a standard equipment to models beginning from the XD Touring. Furthermore, the response of the DE Precision Boost Control at light load condition have been improved. The Electric Power Steering (EPS) has also been improved. The automaker explained that the control of the initial response has been improved. I will discuss more about this later.

Almost no changes have been made to the interior and the exterior. Nevertheless, there were minor modifications such as mounting the higher grade model with a shark fin antenna and the seat heaters as standard equipment. Furthermore, the Black Leather Limited, which is equipped with black leather seats, has been released as a limited edition model. Lastly, the side mirrors, which most car owners hardly take notice of, have been changed from having electric folding to independently adjustable side mirrors. The previous model can have both left and right side mirrors adjusted using the same button, but this time, they will have separate buttons.

These were the only changes made. Suffice to say, the changes made to the physical appearance are mostly things that one can barely notice. At the beginning of this review, I mentioned that I have discovered the good and bad points of the Demio. Regarding its performance, the good thing is that the diesel variant produces a large amount of torque. Especially when you’re stepping partially then fully on the accelerator, its performance turns out to be unlike that of a 1.5L engine. The negative factor here is the poor initial response, which was improved with the all-new model.

I won’t be speaking in detail hereafter. The sound quality of the standard audio system is already excellent, so personally speaking, I don’t think that it was necessary to equip the Bose’s sound system. The swivel angle of the ventilator is small, so it does not blow air towards an area you thought it would. To be honest, the new seat heater equipment is a regrettable inclusion to this update.

I test drove the all-new model while keeping in mind the previous generation model. There is no big difference regarding the engine’s initial response. However, I was surprised to find out the distinction the moment I started to accelerate on a public highway. It’s the sound. And this might be because of the Natural Sound Smoother; that remarkable diesel noise is lesser now.

Even when the engine is warm, the previous Mazda diesel sound allows you to significantly feel the engine during acceleration. Their sizes maybe different, but the diesel engines of European brands like Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW also allow you hear the diesel sound during idling. However, when you start to accelerate these cars, the sound is a bit noisy, like that of a gasoline engine. With the Demio being equipped with the Natural Sound Smoother, its sound has come closer to those made by European cars.

Of course, you won’t really feel that it’s distinctly diesel, but its sound quality has considerably changed. Regarding the initial response, it is somehow different when stepping partially then fully on the accelerator, but personally speaking, I don’t really see that much of a difference.

Next is the steering.
The steering performance has become very gentle and smooth.
It’s just like the CX-3. Mazda said that the control characteristics of the initial response has been improved and apart from that, the overall steering performance became smoother. It also became generally lighter. In the previous generation Demio, there’s a certain amount of weight from when you start the engine, but it eventually gets smooth after that. Maybe we can call it “friction.” That bit of weight makes it easier to grasp the center, as well as contributes to the stability for the vehicle to run straight. With the new EPS, the steering is smooth right from the start, but it doesn’t give you that sense of stability in the center. That’s why it’s just a matter of opinion regarding which one is better.

For a compact car, it has been manufactured excellently, giving us the impression that it is a classless car. Although it may have many rivals, there is no doubt that it will be a leader in the B segment.

â–  Five Star Rating
Packaging: ★★★★
Interior/ Interior Comfort: ★★★★
Power Source: ★★★★★
Foot Work: ★★★★
Recommendation: ★★★★★

Takahito Nakamura | AJAJ Member

Born in 1952. He loves cars that adorned the pages of car magazines, even at the young age of four. He started working part time at a Super Car shop. He also has experience being an apprentice mechanic for Nova Engineering. After that, he went to Germany to continue his pursuit of knowledge about cars. He entered the journalism industry in 1977, and has been a fixture in it for the last 38 years. He continues to be active as a freelance journalist.

(Translated by Katherine N. Bantiles)