First Drive: All New Mazda2
By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist
Follow Tim on twitter: @carwriteups
It is always good to drive a car before it gets to the dealerships. And that’s what I managed to do with the all-new Mazda2.
The hatchback will hit UK showrooms on 20 March 2015 and will, according to Mazda, bring new levels of technological sophistication and driving pleasure to the competitive supermini segment. Is it spin, or is this car really a gem? I got behind the wheel in glorious Devon to find out.
Certainly, even before any driving takes place, the appearance of the Mazda2 impresses. Featuring predatory headlamp styling, the supermini shuns bland monobox styling in favour of dynamic, muscular, cab-rearward proportions. It’s more interesting than rivals like the Ford Fiesta, and has a sportier stance than, say, the VW Polo, or Hyundai i20.
Inside, the athletic flavour continues. There’s also lots of front shoulder and rear knee room, and this is complemented by comfortable seats as well as genuinely lucid instrumentation and switchgear.
There’s a five level trim structure – SE, SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav. The materials in the top of the range Sport Nav model, on test here, are admirable. Most touch-points are covered and padded well, but cheap, scratchy, plastic electric window switch surrounds rain on the parade a little.
In-car connectivity and equipment levels are up there with the best. A seven-inch colour touch-screen display, a rotary multimedia commander infotainment control, and an integrated satellite navigation system feature. Benefits also include 16-inch alloy wheels, smart keyless entry and climate control air-conditioning. The boot is good too; it’s deep, oblong and practical – perfect for the weekly shop or a pushchair.
There are two engines to choose from: a 1.5-litre petrol, which will likely occupy 90 per cent of sales and has three different power outputs (74, 89 and 113bhp) and a 104bhp 1.5-litre diesel. The 1.5 petrol 113bhp pulls nicely, is quiet and handles well; the other model I drove – the petrol with 89 horses – feels underpowered, and I really had to work the gears to get it up Devon’s steep hills. This caused the car to get stressed and consequently engine noise filled the cabin.
The all-new Mazda2 incorporates a comprehensive array of active safety systems and will be priced from £11,995 to £17,395 on-the-road. Its arrival will be celebrated by the availability of a special £14,995 89bhp petrol powered Sports Launch Edition. The car will come well stacked with kit, and represents excellent value for money.
So, in many ways; yes, the box-fresh Mazda2 is a gem – especially given the firm’s excellent reliability record and penchant for standing out from the rest of the pack.
PROS ‘N’ CONS
Some cheap cabin plastics X
89bhp petrol variant underpowered X