MAZDA BIANTE

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Smartshopper Road Test -

$158,988, from Trans Eurokars Fuel con­sump­tion: 7.4 litres/100km Main safety fea­tures: Front airbags, ABS, EDB. Fam­ily-friendly fea­tures: Ion gen­er­a­tor/air purier. It’s a de­cent, fuel-ef­fi­cient car, but has some catch­ing up to do against its more so­phis­ti­cated and com­fort­able ri­vals. THUMBS UP FOR: • The most in­ter­est­ing fea­ture is the Istop func­tion, de­signed to save petrol. The en­gine stalls when the car comes to a stop, whether at traf­fic lights or in a traf­fic jam, and starts again when you step on the ac­cel­er­a­tor. Pickup is sur­pris­ingly quick, but the start-stop ef­fect and its ac­com­pa­ny­ing clicks take a bit of get­ting used to. If you re­ally don’t like it, you can switch it off with a but­ton. • The mas­sive wind­screen was a boon as it gave good

all-round vis­i­bil­ity. WHAT COULD BE BET­TER: • It was smooth when cruis­ing on high­ways, but less ag­ile, with

more en­gine noise, when go­ing up­hill. • It rum­bled and trem­bled more than the oth­ers over rough roads, and un­for­tu­nately, its less-padded seats did not cush­ion the vi­bra­tions. • The top of the dash­board was deeper than the rest, mak­ing it

a bit of a stretch to get my cashcard in and out of the IU unit.

A com­fort­ably tex­tured steer­ing wheel gives a good grip. The car also has pedal shifters, which work the gears man­u­ally, but it’s not some­thing most women driv­ers would need.

Its third row can­not be flat­tened; you have to slide it for­ward to max out the space, which works out to be less than that of the El­grand and Odyssey.

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