Review: Mazda Biante - When Driving Matters But You Have Kids

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Review: Mazda Biante - When Driving Matters But You Have Kids

While some people view family MPVs as an end game when it comes to vehicle ownership, others actually see the practical side of owning one.

No one wakes up one fine day wishing they’d dream to own a family MPV. But the reality is that most family men will eventually need to own one MPV for his family.

Let’s take a closer look at the Mazda Biante, a family MPV that sits in the same segment as the Nissan Serena.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0-litre, inline-four transverse, naturally-aspirated
  • Power: 149 hp at 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 190 Nm at 4,100 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
  • Safety: 2 Airbags, ABS with EBD, DSC, TCS
  • Origin: Fully imported from Hiroshima, Japan
  • Price: RM148,149, on the road without insurance

Overview

The Mazda Biante you see here is not exactly new, as it was first launched back in 2008. Mazda refreshed the Biante back in 2013, replacing its old MZR engine and four-speed automatic transmission combination with a newer SkyActiv-G unit and six-speed automatic.

Powertrain aside, the updated in 2013 also brought along a new exterior design for the Biante, which includes Mazda’s then-new corporate face.

Other standard equipment for the Mazda Biante include 16-inch alloy wheels, halogen headlights with manual leveling, LED tail lights, front parking sensors, keyless entry with push start knob, 7-inch infotainment system, i-Stop and Nano-e air purification system.

Exterior

Speaking of the company’s corporate face, the Mazda Biante is perhaps the oldest model in the company’s lineup.

While the 2013 updated brought along a refreshed exterior, the design is still one generation behind Mazda’s current Kodo design language.

Although the design of the Mazda Biante may date back to 2008, we reckon that the stylish headlights that stretches into the A-pillars certainly keeps the MPV looking fresh, nine years old.

Similar to other tall-roof MPVs in its segment, the Mazda Biante gets two power sliding doors on each side, easing ingress and egress for younger kids.

Interior

The interior of the Mazda Biante is a pleasant place to be in, as the beige interior and tall roof gives a very airy feeling.

However, the beige interior is a chore to upkeep when kids are in the equation. Maintaining the interior will be a headache for some parents, and Mazda does not offer a black interior option for the Biante.

Despite its beige interior, we especially love the flexibility of the Biante’s seats, which includes sliding second and third row seats. Need to haul extra bulky items? Just slide and fold the third row seats to increase the boot space.

Build quality is also top notch, seeing that the Mazda Biante is fully-imported from Japan. Our test car has raked up a considerable amount of mileage,

Driving Experience

Behind the wheel of the Mazda Biante, we were pleasantly surprised how easy it was to drive the 4,715 mm long MPV.

Steering is light enough for us to maneuver even in the tightest of parking spaces, and the tall roof certainly helps with visibility.

Apart from that, the SkyActiv-G engine managed to return surprisingly good fuel economy, as we barely used half a tank of fuel travelling from our office to Janda Baik and back.

The six-speed automatic and the SkyActiv-G powertrain combination certainly suits the Biante well, allowing the Biante to accelerate smoothly without hassle. On top of that, the engine is surprisingly torquey despite being naturally-aspirated.

Ride comfort is also commendable, as the Biante strikes the fine balance between handling and soaking up road irregularities. But that’s beyond the point, as the Biante’s core duty is to ferry occupants comfortably and safely.

Conclusion

The Mazda Biante is in a rather weird spot.

On one hand, it offers more seating capacity (8 seats versus 7 seats) than its nearest rival, the Nissan Serena, but the Biante is a considerably older product than the Serena, and it shows, both inside and out. 

Exterior wise, the Biante's design has aged considerably more than the Serena. Moving inside, the Nissan Serena boasts a considerably more flexible interior when it comes to its seats. Elsewhere, the dashboard design of the Nissan looks more modern than the Biante. 

Age aside, the Mazda Biante still has merits going for it. The Biante is perhaps one of the only few MPVs that offers 8 seats without breaking the bank. Additionally, the SkyActiv powertrain in the Biante suits the large MPV very well. 

Additionally, the Mazda Biante drives better than the Nissan Serena. When we sampled the Serena some time back, we noticed that the driving experience was rather clumsy for an MPV. 

Priced at just below the RM150,000 mark, the Biante is affordable enough for families than needs the extra seating flexibility and practicality that smaller rivals can’t offer. 

With all said and done, we especially enjoy the roomy interior and ride comfort of the Biante. Coupled with the rather good SkyActiv powertrain, the Biante should be on your shortlist if you’re shopping for a family MPV. 

Gallery: Review: Mazda Biante



Eric

Eric

Before he started covering events and reviewing cars, Eric was that guy you called when you had PC problems. Found his way into the motoring scene by chance and never looked back. For him, his ideal car is a hatchback with a manual.

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