And it's got a very unusual name.
If you're looking for a small city car, there are quite a few options out there. The Mazda CX-3 is one good option and the Mazda 3 is another but even those look gargantuan compared to the offerings of the automaker in other markets. In countries like Japan, where the populace is not obsessed with towing capacity, V8 engines, and sheer size, tiny kei cars are immensely popular. But why design and engineer something cheap from scratch when you can just copy someone else's homework? That's what Mazda has now done with the Carol, a cute little city car based on the Suzuki Alto.
Suzuki is great at making small cars that are universally adored and is not averse to sharing its expertise with other brands, even if those brands are bigger names like Toyota. For 2022, the little Carol has been extensively updated to match the latest Suzuki Alto, although the cabin is trimmed in a slightly different manner. Powered by a 658-cc R06A three-cylinder engine or a 657-cc R06D mild-hybrid setup, the tiny little car can manage up to 65.2 mpg on the WLTC cycle. Curiously, there's a version with all-wheel drive too, but we can't imagine that you would ever want for traction with such a small engine.
The ninth-generation Suzuki Alto just hit Japanese showrooms, and the eighth-generation Carol is following suit in mid-January too. It'll reach dealers with a sticker price that works out to around just $8,680 at current exchange rates. That's a serious bargain especially since you still get automatic air conditioning, LED headlights, alloy wheels (measuring 14 inches), six airbags, and even things like automatic high beam assist and lane departure warning. Despite its impressive price, efficiency, and features, such a thing will likely never be successful in the crossover and SUV-obsessed USA. Still, it would be an interesting proposition for those who would rather have a small engine than none at all.