When it came to redesigning the Revue, Mazda came up with a tall hatchback, minivan-esque package (the Revue was already over 1500mm (59.1in) tall). Introduced in a time full of negative press coverage, the Demio became a surprise hit for Mazda in Japan, and also foreshadows the current crop of B-segment minivans such as the Opel Meriva, Fiat Idea and the Renault Modus.
The new 1996 Demio (sold as either the Demio or 121 outside Japan, or Metro in Australia) used the DW platform. Production started in July 1996. The Demio was updated for 2000 with a revised exterior, cabin air filtration, retuned automatic transmission, and available DSC due to a 2002 redesign. It was also sold in Japan as the Ford Festiva Mini Wagon.
The original model still in production in Mazda's Colombia plant to end of 2008.
- 1.3L B3-ME I4 (1996-1998)
- 1.5L B5-ME I4 (1996-1998)
- 1.3L B3E I4, 61kW (82hp)/ 108N·m (80lb·ft) (1999-2001)
- 1.5L B5E I4, 74kW (99hp)/ 127N·m (94lb·ft) (2000-2001)
- Length: 3800mm (149.6in)
- Width: 1670mm (65.7in)
- Height: 1535mm (60.4in)
- Wheelbase: 2390mm (94.1in)
NBA star Scott Pippen appeared in the TV commercials for the Demio's launch.
The Demio was redesigned in 2002 on the DY platform. The Demio name continued in Japan, while the rest of the world dropped Demio and other names in favor of Mazda2. Since debut, 2 has earned itself a name for being practical and fun to drive, pushing its Japanese domestic sale to as high as 7th place.
The badge-engineered Ford version is no longer made, as Ford began importing the Fiesta into Japan. It is based on Ford's Fiesta on the Global Ford B3 platform which is based on Mazda's DY platform. The car is produced for Europe at a Ford plant in Valencia, Spain. North American sales of the Mazda2 are expected to start in 2007, where other subcompacts (Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit) will also debut. It will fill the gap in Mazda's subcompact line since the Mazda 323 hatchback was discontinued for North America in the mid-1990s.