First Drive: Mazda2
Sector: Supermini Price: £11,995–£17,395 Fuel: 56.5–83.1mpg CO2: 89–117g/km
The launch of the new Mazda2 heralds the start of a pretty busy year for Mazda that will see it sweep a new broom throughout its range, to the point that 2014’s Mazda3 will be the oldest car in the range.
That’s not to say these new cars are emergency measures to reinvigorate a stagnant range. In fact, it comes off the back of two years of strong sales growth across Europe.
The signs are good that the upswing will continue with this supermini. The 2 shares styling with the 3, 6 and CX-5. giving it a more distinct style from most superminis, taking it a step away from the monobox shape.
Inside, the 2 delivers space and comfort for the driver. Coupled to a clear main instrument display with central counter flanked by digital displays for speed, fuel and other vitals, and simple rotary controls for the ventilation, the 2 has another typically logical and precise driving environment. There’s also decent rear seat space and a boot the same size as a Volkswagen Polo’s.
Choose the SE-L trim and above with the 89bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine or the more powerful 113bhp unit and you also enjoy a seven-inch colour touchscreen multimedia display. For the SE-L and Sport models, there are also Nav versions with integrated navigation and three years of free European map upgrades.
The 89bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine is expected to be the most popular and starts from £13,995. It’s a keen worker and offers 105g/km CO2 emission when matched with the five-speed manual gearbox. Go for the six-speed auto and emissions rise to 112g/km, while economy for the auto is 58.9mpg versus 62.8mpg for the manual.
The 74bhp 1.5 needs to be revved hard, but the 113bhp 1.5 addresses these complaints, although comes with economy penalties. We were not able to sample the 104bhp 1.5-litre turbodiesel, which delivers 83.1mpg combined economy and 89g/km CO2.
It is clear from the 2s we did drive Mazda has made significant improvements to the ride and refinement over the previous model. Noise is ably suppressed while comfort is on a par with the best in class on roads more akin to the lunar surface. Fortunately, this has not come at the expense of handling prowess, so the 2 remains a fun and feisty small car on twisty roads.