Mazda is calling the production-ready-looking MX Sport Runabout due to debut at next month’s Geneva motor show a ‘concept’.

Yeah, right.

Expect an almost identical range to debut as both the 2003 Demio minivan and Mazda’s first European-built car, courtesy of Ford’s Valencia plant in Spain.

Mazda makes all the usual claims for the Demi…ahem, MX Sport Runabout: new class standard, innovative interior, class-leading handling and ride comfort, etc, etc.

The new Demio will be 3,900mm long and 1,720mm wide on a 2,500mm wheelbase with what is being claimed as “the passenger room and storage space of a much larger car”, helped by a tallish 1,550mm height.

Further proof that this is really the new Demio (we doubt it will be called that) Mazda says it has taken careful note of the “widespread praise it has received from Demio customers” (all six of them, judging by the number not seen on British roads) “who appreciate being able to load two mountain bikes after folding the rear seat.” So expect a boxy load area and low load height.

The so-called concept will have a 1.5-litre in-line four-cylinder DOHC engine with four-speed automatic transmission which is Japanese-spec for this class. Euro cars will probably have auto tranny as an option but most will leave the plant with a five-speed manual.

The concept is going to be painted in a fetching yamabuki orange with light beige upholstery and interior trim with chocolate lowlights which should go down a treat with the conservative Europeans who frequent the Geneva show. Expect more muted tones when production starts early in 2003.