In 1962, the Japanese automaker Mazda launched their kei car called the Mazda Carol. The vehicle remained in production up to 1970 after which it was discontinued. However, the company resurrected the Carol with its rejoining kei car class race.
Carol P360 (1962-1970)
In February 1962, the Mazda introduced a 2-door sedan model called the Mazda Carol P360. It was the Mazda’s first 4-passenger vehicle. Compared to earlier R360, the P360 Carol was offered with longer wheelbase of 1930 mm (76.0 inch), while the overall length of both the vehicles remained the same, i.e. 2980 mm (117.3 inch). As for weight, the Carol was heavier than the R360, i.e. 525 kg (1157 lb) compared to 380 kg (838 lb). The Carol was equipped with a 358 cc 4-cylinder DA OHV engine with an output of 18 PS (13 kW). After Honda’s 356 cc DOHC alloy 4-cylinder engine, this was the smallest 4-cylinder engine in automotive history, the engine was mated to a 4-speed gearbox.
In 1962, Mazda launched a DeLuxe version of the Carol. The 2-soor version was launched in September 1963. A mild facelift version was released in October 1966. It came with new bumpers. The gearbox which was initially synchronized with first three gears became fully synchronized. About 265,226 units of Carol were produced until August 1970.
Carol 600 (1962-1964)
In the fall of 1962, Mazda introduced their Carol 600, equipped with a larger 586 cc RA OHV engine. It was also longer in length with 3200 mm, while the weight of the vehicle stayed between 560 kg (1235 lb) and 585 kg (1290 lb). It was available in two versions in the home market, i.e. Standard 2-door and DeLuxe 2- or 4-door. The 4-door sedan version was also released by Mazda. Throughout its lifetime, about 8,800 units were produced. In domestic market it was known as Carol 600, while in export market it was known as P600. With the launch of Mazda Familia 800 sedan, the Carol 600 was discontinued.
Autozam Mk I (1989-1990)
The kei car class resuscitated in the last half of 1980s and the name Carol was resurrected by Mazda in 1989 with the launch of Autozam Carol. The Autozam was Mazda’s new brand which was used for kei cars for small period of time. Suzuki was the company that manufactured Carol for Mazda. Although, its chassis and mechanicals were based in the Suzuki Alto, exterior styling and interior treatment were matchless. It featured round headlights that were quite in the automotive market of that time. The looks of the car were somehow resembled with Nissan Be-1 and Pao. It was powered by a 547 cc 3-cylinder SOHC Suzuki’s F5B engine rated at 40 PS (29 kW) at 7500 rpm. It was offered both as front wheel drive (AA5PA) and 4-wheel drive (AA5RA) versions.
There were three different versions available, i.e. E, F (4-wheel drive) and top end G. The G version came with Canvas Top; the F came with a 5-speed gearbox; and the E or front-wheel drives versions came with a 4- or 5-speed manual and a 3-speed automatic transmission. The kei car regulation of 1990 allowed the automakers to use larger engine as well as an extension of 10 cm in body length.
Autozam Mk II (1990-1994)
Followed the revised regulations, Mazda introduced an updated Carol within four months of time in 1989. This updated version was longer in length by 6 cm and equipped with a larger 657 cc Suzuki F6A engine delivering 52 PS (38 kW). A turbocharged engine with 61 PS (45 kW) was launched in 1991 followed by the extension in length of the car to 329 cm in 1992.
Autozam Mk III (1995-1998)
In October 1995, Mazda launched the new version of Carol offered as a 1996 model. It was also available in both front-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive layouts. It still used the same platform as predecessors.
Carol Mk III (1999-2000)
A completely redesigned Carol was introduced by Mazda in October 1998. This model was launched with Mazda brand name. It was offered with two engine options, i.e. with the previous 657 cc F6A engine and with a new 658 cc DOHC engine. The AZ-Offroad and AZ-Wagon were also introduced almost at the same time when Carol was launched and all three were closely related. It was also offered as front-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive.
Carol Mk IV (2001-2003)
In 2001, the Carol was introduced with revised looks. The new VVT engine was used to enhance the emission of the car. The safety features were also enhanced for this model.
Carol Mk V (2004-2009)
In 2004, Suzuki decided to introduce a replacement vehicle for their Suzuki Alto. This also resulted in the replacement of the rebadged Carol.
Carol Mk VI (2010-present)
The Mazda revealed the 2010 model year Carol at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2009. Whenever Suzuki Alto receives any upgradation, the Carol is also updated. The Carol Mk VI is available as 4-wheel drive and continuous variable transmission (CVT).