Cars I Can’t Write About 1: 1996-2002 Mazda Demio

Some cars defy one’s capacity to describe or discuss them except in the most general terms. One of them is the 1996 Mazda Demio.

1996 Mada demio

Here at DTW we spend a lot of time staring into the walls trying to fight off the ideas that spring up. The problem is that there are more ideas than time to do them justice. I’ve just blown three hours of my life penning a tract about Buicks and Opels. This was based on half a thought about the Opel Astra saloon that nobody cares about. How then can I say anything about the 1996 Mazda Demio which even I don’t care about?

This leads me to what I think writing theorists call a meta-problem and what I think is a meta-text: what I don’t write about and can’t is leading me to write something. Can I give a shape to the void left by certain cars and by so doing find out something positive?

I might find out.


Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

10 thoughts on “Cars I Can’t Write About 1: 1996-2002 Mazda Demio”

  1. Your collage is almost like a competition where, shown a detail I have to guess which car it comes from. Based on that,I’d hazard that there are at least 5 different cars here, none of which is a Mazda Demio.

  2. Thanks. Actually, it is a Mazda Demio. I did a Google image search, and used the resultant screen of images to cut and paste the new image. Brilliant idea, I have to say.

  3. Richard. You must be wrong. No-one I know has actually seen a Mazda Demio. They don’t exist. I am surprised that someone like you has been taken in by that urban myth.

  4. Annoyingly, there is one parked at the end of my road. The pizza man uses one. I notice is it silver and I am sure he has had a red one and green one as well. This is probably a tribute to the car: cheap to buy and to run and good at idling.

    1. Demio was immensely popular in Japan for first year it was sold in Japan, but that popularity didn’t really spread to other markets.First gen (1996-1999) was somewhat less succesfull dinamically, but second-gen was rather fun to drive, interestingly…Lack of diesel, or more powerfull engine meant rather confidental sales in Europe, although car was, and stilll is, incredibly practical, reliable and cheap to run. (Yaris Verso is stil slightly better..).
      Quite a few of them ended up as great second-hand buy in Eastern Europe, picked-up by various repairmen and small busines owners who cannot (or don’t want to..) justify buying a real delivery/business vehicle. Those who do a lot of miles simply install LPG conversion and never miss a diesel.

  5. Misha: thanks for your post. In fairness, I recognise the Demio is probably a really good package. It seems spacious and yet very handily small on the outside. My local pizza place runs on and probably do so for a reason. Even with the benefit of hindsight, I think it´s not cruel to say that the styling was uninspired. It seems not to be either very austere (suggesting practicality) or very flamboyant (selling fun-to-drive). It´s probably quite a scientifically worked-out car in that the product planners saw a gap in the market for this and filled it as best they could. The thing is the customer might not be aware of that gap as it´s a statistical entity. The reverse condition is the two-door coupe which is an obvious car every one can understand and yet nobody goes out and buys. Was there a GT version or hot version of this car?

    1. Having driven very briefly Demio, I can say it’s kind a fun to drive, in a way some light,low-power small hatchbacks are. It’s not actually that tall, either, so body roll is ok, and slightly above average ride height comes in handy in urban conditions (curbside parking, etc.) And chassis is unbelievably rigid, so it supports payload well.
      I was supposed to be a lifestyle, pre-Mokka light CUV, but with only 75bhp, even in Japan, novelty quickly faded…

  6. Misha: it seems such a pity they dressed a sensible package in such bland clothes. I remember enjoying the casual quality of my Peugeot 205. It sounds as if the Demio is the sort of car you drive without feeling burdened by bulk. To make that proposition attractive the styling has to be right, to communicate the idea “this is a handy car to own”. At this point I can no longer say the Demio is a car I can´t write about.
    If you think about it, the French ought to do this kind of a car very well: 2CV, Renault 4 and 5 or maybe Fiat would be able to present this concept in a fun way. I think such a car is needed more than ever. Less, less, less but with bright colours.

    1. 205 is brilliant!:) We had 1.8diesel GL for 4 years, with only few burnt bulbs (which is much less than I could say about Renault 19turbo diesel or 406 2.1 SVDT we had….)
      And you made very valid point – Demio is actually unlikely descendant of Renault 4! Simple, easy to own, practical…although much more reliable!
      But, it seems that French, in their quest to out-german the Germans, have forgotten how to build this type of car. Pity…

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