Even though it is almost 100kg lighter than its predecessor the Mazda2 is a stronger, safer and quieter vehicle.
Mazda2 is the first of Mazda's second generation of vehicles to reverse the light vehicle segment trend towards bigger and heavier vehicles.
Lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in this new generation car in this new generation car also see another step along the environmental friendliness road from Mazda. The car continues with the Zoom Zoom Mazda philosophy of a car being for enjoyment and fun to drive.
With the new Mazda2 the designers have produced a smaller, lighter car while still being able to enhance the cars' safety aspects along with quietness and comfort. Safety and comfort have more traditionally been improved through increasing vehicle weight. Mazda "gram strategy' first employed in the third generation MX-5 is the result of Mazda's designers' analysis of every gram of weight to see where savings are able to be made. Attention to detail means that simply shaving a small amount from the bonnet by making the latch smaller and the hinges thinner helps in the weight loss but all the while it does not affect strength or safety. In fact sixty per cent of the Mazda2's weight saving comes from solutions that include the body shell, which was slimmed down by 22kg. Even though Mazda2's body may be lighter, it is also stronger. This is the first Mazda to use new generation ultra high-tensile steel for greater rigidity and better crash resistance. Its effect is quite obvious when driving the car. The use of high tensile steel has jumped from 5 per cent in the superseded car to 31 per cent in this model. 20 percent of Mazda2's weight savings were from feature adjustments, while the final 20 percent came from making the car's exterior dimensions smaller (it's 40mm shorter and 55mm lower though 15mm wider) than the last model. The wheelbase of 2490mm is the same as the previous model giving sure footed cornering as expected from this small Mazda.
Mazda2's body benefits from localised stiffening such as around the suspension towers, ensuring maximum benefit with minimal weight penalty. The rigid body structure offers better handling stability and agility as well as improved NVH and a stronger passenger safety cell. Mazda2 is so much more responsive in the steering. Point it at corner and instead of waiting for response this car just hangs in and says come on drive me out, the fun aspect is back in small cars, thanks Mazda! Throttle response is part of this aspect and even though the power output is down over the previous model, that weight saving and the very peppy motor mean a much better and sharper package. The engine is cleaner and uses less fuel than before. Both Classic and Sport models, Sport auto was the test vehicle, are powered by the same Mazda MZR 1.5-litre engine with Sequential Valve Timing (S-VT). Power output is quoted at 76kW from 6000rpm while the torque is impressive at 137Nm from 4000rpm. Low down this car hauls away well, open road performance is excellent. Mazda quote 6.81/100km in combined fuel usage, I won't quibble with that one suffice to say I reckon it could be well lowered on a good trip. The engine is EUR1 IV compliant for emissions. The auto works well in hill work not hunting around for gears, rather getting down to the optimum level and staying there making driving that much easier.
Mazda2 is not only a fun car to look at with its' sharp styling, but also one to drive. You get a feeling of being in something far more expensive and larger when behind the wheel of this vehicle. The interior is quite an exciting place to be, the layout so up to date, again continuing the Mazda Zoom Zoom feeling. The gearlever is well positioned, the air conditioning controls fall easily to had, the 6 stack CD stereo of the Sport Mazda2 has great reproduction and is simple to operate. Seats are very supportive with plenty of adjustment, the raised seating position means excellent viewing all round. The back seat takes two in real comfort, the boot not as big as some in the class though.
The car feels quite tight and has a feeling of firmness all round in cornering it is very stable and has excellent ride characteristics. The car also boasts stability control, ABS braking with EBS and a host of airbags, all going to make Mazda2 one of the safest feeling small cars I've driven. Mazda has stepped up the Zoom-Zoom factor in Mazda2.
The car comes in two grades Classic and Sport. The Sport gains a body kit with rear spoiler, alloy wheels - these 16 inch ones really fill the wheel arches nicely and front fog lamps. Add a 6 stack CD player and dynamic stability control plus there's more. Mazda have continued along the same excellent road when they introduced the Mazda6 and the Mazda3.
The Sport retails at $23,100 for the manual and $24,500 for the Sport version.
Mazda2 lifts the ante in the small car segment up at least another notch.