Mazda Demio 2007–2014 used car review

The Mazda Demio handles well and is spacious. A solid record for reliability is a bonus, and it is cheap to run.

Richard Edwards
Richard Edwards
Expert Reviewer | Auto Media Group

The Mazda Demio handles well and is spacious. A solid record for reliability is a bonus, and it is cheap to run.

Exterior , 3.5 out of 5 Drive , 4 out of 5 Safety , 3 out of 5 Value , 3 out of 5 Interior , 4 out of 5

Overall score , 3.5 out of 5

The good
  • Tiny turning circle
  • Decent reliability record
  • Good safety rating compared to other small import hatchbacks
The not-so-good
  • Less power than its closest competitor
  • Reversing visibility is not great

The third-generation Demio was launched in Japan in 2007, departing from the mini-wagon shape of its predecessors for a more conventional hatchback look. In New Zealand, it was sold as the Mazda 2.

Inside and out

The Demio's round shape is good-looking, and could even be called cute. The sides are very sculpted, and the rear window has a unique v-shape to its lower edge.

The first thing you notice when sitting in the Demio is the extra headroom, more than expected for a small car. There is a surprising amount of space in both the front and rear, although anyone over six-feet tall will not be happy for long in the back. There is only enough shoulder room in the rear seat for two passengers to be comfortable.

The dashboard has some funky design elements. The controls are circular and it has a large speedometer, which is easy to read at a glance. The radio and CD player are built into the dash and will require a band expander to receive local stations. The gear lever is situated on the dashboard rather than the floor, which makes it easier to reach and shift.

This also makes space for additional storage in the centre console between the front seats.

Boot space is acceptable for the class at 280 litres, significantly more than a Suzuki Swift, and enough for two medium suitcases. Fold the seats down, and the boot space increases to an impressive 960 litres. The boot’s lip is low and easy to load. Inside there are hooks to stop your shopping sliding around. The boot handle and opening button are not in the same place so can be tricky to operate.

On the road

Both 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre four-cylinder engines are available in the Demio. They are paired with either a CVT automatic, four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual. On used import cars the smaller engine and CVT automatic are the most common options. This combination in our review car produces a modest 67kW and 124Nm, 10% less than a Honda Fit from the same year, making it half a second slower to 100km/h. The CVT automatic works well, although it can force the engine to rev high when you want a burst of acceleration.

The Demio is very fun-to-drive with quick steering, little body roll and plenty of tyre grip. It also rides very smoothly for such a small car, despite running on tiny 14-inch tyres, a size that is easy to find and cheap to replace.

The turning circle is small at 9.4 metres. However, parking the car can be difficult because the high rear end and low driver seat height create blind spots.


According to RightCar, the Demio (2007–2014) carries a three-star used car safety rating. This is higher than, or equal to, most of its used-import competitors of the time, such as the Honda Fit (2011-2014) which only has a two-star rating. Our car is fitted with driver and passenger airbags and anti-lock braking. Electronic stability control became optional from 2010. Cars with it fitted will have an ‘ESC off’ button below and to the right of the steering wheel.

ISOFIX child seat mounting positions are available in the outside rear seats. In 2007-2010 cars, the centre seat only features a lap belt, which is far less safe than a shoulder belt.

With poor rear visibility, we recommend adding a reversing camera. It's possible to fit a camera yourself - there are systems available on Trade Me from $50, or you can have one professionally installed from $200.


Overall, there is not much to worry a prospective Demio buyer. They have relatively simple mechanical underpinnings. The components feature in many Mazda and Ford cars, making them easy to find and relatively affordable. All Demios use a timing chain, so will not require expensive replacement.

A lack of sufficient underbody sealant and rustproofing when new in Japan has led to significant corrosion problems in some Mazdas. The main areas of concern are under the car and the bottom of the doors. Corrosion should be treated as part of the importation process, but it is wise to check. To confirm this has happened, look under the vehicle on the metal running between the left and right wheels, front and rear, for discolouration and bubbling.

Open the doors and look for bubbling along the bottom inside edge.

If you see this, it could become a costly repair, and the car is best avoided. The electric power steering and steering rack has been known to break, which will cause the car to fail a Warrant of Fitness. It will present itself as knocking from the front of the car when going over bumps and can cost more than $900 to remove, refurbish and replace.

Cost of ownership

A Mazda Demio requires servicing every year or 10,000km, and a franchise dealer quoted $280 for this. It is important to ensure whoever is maintaining your Demio uses the correct type of CVT oil when servicing, to avoid damaging its start clutch.

RightCar estimates that at 14,000km of driving a year, a Demio will cost just $1,200 a year to run. The 43-litre fuel tank will cost $86 to fill at $2 a litre and could take you as far as 880km before the fuel light comes on.

The Demio costs $112.16 a year to licence and is in the second lowest ACC levy group.

Trade Me Insurance estimates that to insure a Demio worth $7,000 it will cost $41.36* per month, nearly $4 a month less than a Honda Fit.

Buyers' guide

Mazda Demios on Trade Me range from around $6,400, rising to $14,000 for later and lower-mileage vehicles. Very low mileage cars don't seem to cost much more and offer great value.

The four-speed automatic transmission offers no advantage over the CVT automatic and uses more fuel. Cars with a 1.5-litre engine offer significantly more performance and are a better choice if you regularly drive on the open road.


There is only one specification level for 1.3-litre Demios, but there are multiple names based on engine size (13 for 1.3-litre and 15 for 1.5), and transmission type (C-V for CVT automatic, C for four-speed automatic). Standard specification includes electric windows, fabric upholstery, air conditioning and a trip computer.

A 1.5-litre Sports model was available, which had 16-inch alloy wheels and a body kit. In 2012 a 13-SkyActiv model became available, with a new and more fuel-efficient version of the 1.3-litre engine plus alloy wheels, electronic stability control and emergency brake assist.


  • 2007 Launched in Japan
  • 2010 Updated, with a slightly new look, a shoulder-type belt added to the centre rear and optional electronic stability control
  • 2012 13-SkyActiv model added
  • 2014 Replaced by the new generation


Review vehicle

2007 Mazda Demio 13C-V


$6,400 to $14,000 for models which have travelled 70,000km to 120,000km


1.3-litre four-cylinder, 64kW/122Nm (claimed)


CVT automatic, front-wheel drive

Safety rating

Three-star Used Car Safety Rating


10,000km or twelve months

Spare wheel

Space saver

Fuel economy

4.3-litres per 100km (claimed)

Fuel type








Towing capacity

500kg (unbraked), 700kg (braked) - for 1.5-litre engine version

Turning circle


This review covers the Mazda Demio for model years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.

Review vehicle supplied by 2CheapCars, Botany.

*Our insurance estimates are based on a 35-year-old male with no accidents in the last two years, garaging the car in Mission Bay, Auckland. The car is not used for business and will cover 10,000km to 20,000km a year. We estimate with no option add-ons and $500 excess. Customise your estimate at Trade Me Insurance.

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