GoAutoLogo
MENU

Car reviews - Mazda - 121 - Metro 5-dr hatch

Our Opinion

We like
Practical, versatile hatch, easy to drive
Room for improvement
Pricey compared with rivals

Mazda logo23 Feb 2001

By TIM BRITTEN

MAZDA'S 121 makes a lot of sense for buyers seeking a light car with maximised interior space. Its tight, boxy lines wrap a light, airy interior with space for four - five at a pinch - and there are tangible signs of quality that make the car a pleasure to live with.

It's also rewarding to drive - in 1.5-litre form at least - closing the gap to the small car class in general manners and general functionality. And it comes close to closing the gap in terms of retail pricing, with a large premium of close to $3000 being charged for the bigger-engined version.

But the 121 is a handy vehicle indeed, with enough room to hold a couple of fully assembled mountain bikes provided the rear seat is folded.

And the rear seat slides forward or backward to optimise luggage space according to requirements. The 121 stands out among its peers as a respectable luggage carrier.

Upright seating positions help in the provision of front and rear legroom and the seats themselves are quite generous in size for a car in this class. A height-adjustable driver's seat is a bonus.

It may be a similar size to its light car competitors but it feels and looks, from the back, more as if it belongs in the small car class.

The tall body also makes getting in and out much easier and the upright seating position ensures a panoramic view of the road.

But the placement of the high-mounted centre brake light in the middle and at the top of the rear window blocks out part of the scenery.

The instrument panel has been reworked and now there's a clear link to the bigger 323 Mazda models with a dimpled centrepiece adding a cosy, classy touch. As before, all Metros come with a driver's airbag as standard.

The Metro comes with a choice of 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre engines, the 1.5-litre engine developing 64kW at 5500rpm and 128Nm at 3500rpm.

Mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, the engine provides good power and torque although the automatic tends to hunt between third and fourth.

The ride, as with most light cars, is biased towards town driving, meaning it is fairly soft in order to soak up nasty big city potholes.

On the open road the little Mazda does well with the car's MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension behaving capably on the twisty bits.

The 1.5-litre benefits from larger 14-inch wheels and tyres, which provide a noticeable improvement in grip.

At normal cruising speeds the car remains pretty quiet with wind noise not making its presence felt too much. But encounter a coarse road surface and tyre noise, amplified by the large cabin, takes over.

The power steering, which feels good around town, tends to get a little light and sensitive at high speeds.

There is no doubt the Metro is the most practical people and load-carrying vehicle in the light car class. It also scores well in performance and ride and handling.

But Mazda in recent times has also traded off its sexy style, something the company has walked away from with the Metro.

Share with your friends

Enquire on or Test Drive a New 121

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires

Agreement

This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
close
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only
*** Prices exclude on road costs and dealer delivery fees

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.