The Mazda Biante is like an illusionist, for it has many tricks up its sleeves.
Illusionists are, quite possibly, the most entertaining artists to watch. They can pull rabbits out of hats, produce flowers from thin air and “saw” people in half without shedding a drop of blood. With a wave of the wand, they can make buildings “disappear” as well.
The Mazda Biante is positioned between the brand’s 5 and 8 multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs). But it has an extraordinarily high roofline that catches your attention. Standing at 1835mm, it’s just 15mm shorter than the Toyota Fortuner sports utility vehicle, one of the tallest passenger cars sold in Singapore.
Now, while the Biante can’t make passengers disappear, it does excel at accommodating them. Tug the door handle and the powered sliding door automatically reveals a cavernous and airy interior. As expected, the seating is quite flexible. The second-row seats, for instance, can be slid towards each other to create a single bench for three average-sized adults, or apart to produce a pair of comfy chairs.
Occupants in the rear (yes, adults included) will be equally comfortable, too, for unlike typical MPVs that squeeze the third-row occupants, legroom back there actually becomes decent if you move the second-row seats forward.
Boosting everyone’s well-being are the four air-conditioning vents that are strategically placed along the ceiling – they’re an absolute must considering our tropical climate. Although the air-con only offers single-zone climate control, it is very effective, and equipped with an ion generator (supplied by Panasonic) to help eliminate nasty viruses and odours.
In need of improvement, however, are the front seats. While the squabs are cushy enough, the backrests are way too short, even for drivers of average height. Aside from this, the headrests are angled too far back. By our estimate, unless you happen to be around 1.6m tall, finding the right driving position will prove to be difficult. Indeed, after two days of driving, this writer’s neck became a little sore.