Mazda 121 Metro Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services

14 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mazda 121 Metro Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services
Mazda 121

Mazda 121

Metro Car Review

Author: NRMA Motoring Date: 17 May 2000

Mazda has used a wide variation in styling with its 121 model over the past ten years with the current shape being very versatile and practical, but certainly not in the running to claim any awards in contemporary styling. However, its overall aesthetics are quite neat and pleasing with restyled bumpers, grille, front and rear lamps plus added roof rails, combining to give it that added lift.

This latest Metro upgrade concentrates on freshening the appearance of a vehicle that is endeavouring to cater for a wide variety of transport needs, in an attempt to satisfy the many lifestyles of today’s modern young families.

There is fierce competition in the small car segment of the market with considerable price warring taking place in an attempt to gain the edge. The Metro therefore competes directly with Barina, Charade, Civic, Echo, Excel, Festiva, Lanos, Polo, Pyzar, Satria and Swift, as well as many other models in the higher category of small hatches and sedans.

Mazda continues its range of 1.3 and 1.5 litre Metro hatchbacks with manual and automatic transmissions available with both engine sizes. The 1.3 and 1.5 models with manual transmission are priced at $15,490 and $18,390 respectively, with automatic transmission available in both at an extra $1600. All models have the ‘Shades’ decal attached, which is part of a long term Mazda promotion including an air conditioning system normally costing $1870.

Our test vehicle was a 1.5 litre manual complete with standard driver’s airbag, power steering and mirrors, tilt adjustable steering column, height adjustable drivers seat, roof rails and air conditioning.

Both the 1.3 and 1.5 litre engines are unchanged. However, there has been an upgrade in the 1.3 model’s automatic transmission as it now uses the four speed electronic unit as fitted to the 1.5 engine.

Power assisted front ventilated discs and rear drum brakes provide the Metro’s stopping power. The front suspension consists of McPherson struts, coil springs and a stabiliser bar, while the rear uses a torsion beam axle with coil springs. Double acting shock absorbers are used at both the front and rear.

The deeper front bumpers, revised grille and reshaped front lamp assemblies have provided the Metro with a freshened appearance from the front, and the rear view has been given a lift with deepened bumpers and new lamp assemblies plus repositioned badging and tailgate lock.

Security and safety does not appear to be a high priority in small Asian built cars and Mazda has not claimed any improvements in this latest Metro.

Mazda 121

Although there is seating for five, only four adults can be seated in comfort in the Metro, with both front and rear seats being able to slide for and aft, as well as reclining individually.

Headroom is quite adequate and with four medium size adults, the legroom is better than most cars of this size.

A variety of passenger and luggage storage options is possible by sliding the rear seat back and forth in combination with the fifty-fifty split in the seat back cushions. General cabin storage is adequate, but not as generous as some.

All controls and instruments are clearly marked, easy to reach and light to operate. When seated in the driver’s position there is good forward vision and the adjustable steering column and seat height enable a wide variety of position combinations to satisfy most drivers. When reversing, however, the rear pillars and head restraints do obscure the driver’s vision.

The Metro is easy to drive and its smooth and responsive 1.5 litre engine provides adequate power to satisfy all the needs of a vehicle of this size. The engine’s performance is complemented by the five speed manual transmission ratios and the lower geared drive axle. Although the brake system is basic in design, it brings the Metro to a halt in a respectable distance without any adverse reactions.

The firm suspension, responsive steering and 60 series tyres, as fitted to the 1.5 Metro, combine to give confident handling and a ride that is a little harsh at times, but not uncomfortable.


The 121 Metro is a versatile small hatch that provides comfortable commuting for both local and long distance travel. Its freshened appearance helps to keep it abreast of other vehicles in its market segment where its practicality could give it a considerable advantage over competitors with more modern styling.

Mazda 121
Mazda 121
Mazda 121
Mazda 121
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