Mazda 2 Sport Nav

MAZDA is coming to the roulette table with its arms full of chips in 2015.

Mazda 2 Sport Nav

Engine: 1,496cc, four-cylinder

Power: 113bhp and 109lb.ft. of torque

Performance: 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds and 124mph

Economy: 56.5 mpg (combined)

CO2 emissions: 117g/km

Price: £16,995

In 2015 the Japanese manufacturer aims to double the sales it experienced in the UK during the early days of the economic collapse – a rise from 25,550 to over 50,000 – and its strategy is bold.

Its gamble includes an all-new range launched over less than 12 months.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This year has already seen the launch of a new Mazda6 and that will be followed by new versions of the Mazda5 people carrier, striking new CX-3 small SUV and the hotly-anticipated new MX-5 later in the year.

By the end of the year the Japanese manufacturers oldest vehicle will be the Mazda3 hatchback it launched just over three months ago.

The freshest face in the line-up as of April will be this: the new Mazda2.

Eyeing the hostile hunting ground occupied by the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo, MINI five-door, Audi A1 and Hyundai i20, it has to deliver.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Having seen the car in print before attending the recent Devon launch event, I was pleased to see that the changes to the Mazda2’s design are more striking in the metal.

A new Mazda grille echoes that of BMWs 3-series in that its offers glimpses of the chrome grille surround at the inner edge of each headlight cluster.

Semi-circular daytime running lights add some distinctive bling and emphasise the no-nonsense, appearance of a frowning face.

Nose down, thanks to a rising shoulder-line, the 2 has broad haunches and sleeker rear light clusters, adding poise at the rear.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Four specifications will be available from next month, priced from £11,995, including a specially specced-up Sports Launch Edition.

The full-timers are SE, SE-L, Sport, with the latter two available with the option of integrated sat-nav for an extra £400.

There are three 1.5-litre petrol engines (74, 89 and 113bhp) and a 104bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine, the mid-powered petrol available with a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Standard on all Mazda2s are those daytime running lights, halogen headlights, a roof spoiler, CD player, air conditioning, cruise control, a fuel-saving stop/start system and gear-shift indicator, trip computer and steering wheel-mounted stereo controls.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The first car I stepped into was a range-topping 113bhp Sport Nav, which adds the seven-inch touchscreen sat-nav, LED daytime running lights and headlights, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, leather gear knob and steering wheel, 16-inch alloys, keyless entry and engine starting, parking sensors and automatic hill-hold.

In the interests of safety, Mazda has also fitted a lane departure warning system and Smart City Brake Support, which warns the driver if sensors detect an imminent collision and can even apply the brakes (between 2.5 and 18.5mph).

The Mazda2 is also the first car in the B-segment to include a head-up speed display, coming part of the optional £400 Safety Pack.

Perhaps primed to make the best possible impact, the Sport Nav looks great inside, with the £800 option of full leather trimming a swathe of dash and the door cards as well as the seats.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Interior design is good too. It’s a driver-centric cabin with circular vents flanking an instrument binnacle which places a rev-counter at its centre.

An idrive-style dial on the centre console allows the driver to negotiate through the various functions of the multimedia system, meanwhile.

The appearance is premium and the finish impressive.

Mazda’s interior ergonomics impress too. The steering wheel can be adjusted to give a decent seating position for a six footer and the neat gear-lever quickly communicates a short throw.

Where a Fiesta or Corsa can feel quite enclosed – cocooning, some might say – the Mazda 2 feels airy and open, with good all-round visibility.

There’s a small car feel which continues with the drive.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mazda puts huge stock in its products being lightweight and the 2 weighs in between 1,045 and 1,115kg.

While not hyper alert, its biddable from the start and that 114bhp petrol engine makes good progress, Mazda claiming an 8.7 second dash to 62mph and 124mph top speed, coupled with 117g/km CO2 emissions and 56.5mpg fuel economy.

The Mazda2 might have an 80mm longer wheelbase than its predecessor and be 140mm longer overall  with a 280 litre boot  but it still feels like a small car. Pleasingly so in many respects. Nimble, fun.

Only overly light steering really hinders the driving experience.

The ride is even relatively pliant...

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I drove four derivatives and key observations were of a 89bhp petrol engine which feels better when equipped with the automatic gearbox, which overcame the manuals long third gear, and a strong, refined diesel engine which claimed 83.1mpg and 89g/km CO2 emissions.

Mazda has put its new Mazda2 right in the thick of the class leaders on-paper.

In the metal its design and sense of fun out on the road also makes it a winner.

A slight lack of interior space will be a drawback for some potential buyers but in every other respect it is up there with the best in the class.


Related topics: