The box is about an efficient container as you can get - straight sides, no awkward angles to get things stuck on, maximum space inside.
Mazda's last Mazda2 was a box. So was the Demio before it. Both good reliable transport but boring.
The latest Mazda2 isn't a box. And it's a lot more exciting. It also backs up its good looks with a sparkling road manner that should make the car a big success in this section of the car market.
The new Mazda2 reflects the enthusiasm which Mazda has brought into the brand. And it takes many of its styling cues from the new range of models.
There is the aggressive front end with its bulging front guards which is straight out of the Mazda3 and the CX7 while the sharply rising wedge shape of the car gives the Mazda2 a sporting style that is more European than Japanese.
It is actually shorter than the old model but it makes up for it with a wider track. The result is more space inside.
Pushing the wheels further out to the corners is one of the quickest ways of gaining interior space and the back seat of the new Mazda now gets the legroom you'd expect in a much bigger vehicle. With the driver and front passenger sitting higher there is also good footroom as well.
However, there has to be a payback for the cabin space and that's usually in the luggage area. The Mazda2's isn't huge but the bulging back end does help extend the length and therefore the size of the boot. And the temporary spare tyre takes up less space than a full-sized wheel and tyre.
The rear seat folds down in a 60-40 split to increase the space but it's a shame it doesn't fold right up to give a flat floor.
As well as space, the Mazda2 also has driving appeal. There is good visibility because the driver sits reasonably high in the cloth trimmed sports style seats and the rising wedge of the styling means the glass in the driver's door is lower at the front than at the back. This increases the sensation of space and confidence in seeing round the front of the car.
The driving position feels good, especially with the leather trimmed steering wheel in the Sports model, and the gearshift, a part of the central console rather than between the front seats, falls naturally into the left hand.
The 1.5-litre engine is based on the unit in the previous Mazda2. It's now got sequential valve timing and an electronic throttle.
It's a high revving engine that is at its best at over 4000rpm when its peak torque is produced. Keep the revs up and it performs admirably. And with a snicky five speed manual gearbox matched to the engine it's got a good sporty feel to it. The car itself is considerably than its predecessor so the engine is pulling less weight around and this adds to its appeal.
Add good steering feel and the whole car gives the impression of being very nimble and agile. It's a more rigid structure to begin with and this helps in the handling area. Pushed into corners, it stays well balanced and on line.
Despite its limited power the car will still speed from a standing start to the speed limit in just over 10.5 seconds. Acceleration is good and because the torque comes on so high up the rev range there's a real urge when pushed over 4000rpm.
The car's good acceleration and cruising ability helps with the impression that the Mazda2 is bigger than it is. It feels like a larger car both in size and performance.
However you can be quickly brought back to reality when the roads get a little rougher. The suspension is fine - up to a point.
It's solid and comfortable on the smooth stuff but it does quickly reach its limits.
The Mazda2 is as original looking inside as it is out. It is a very black, plastic interior that shares some of the features of the new MX-5. That probably helps with the car's sporting image.
A mixture of smooth with the textured panelling helps lift the appearance inside along with a good use of alloy finish highlighting on some of the interior features.
The instrumentation is simple - just white dialled speedometer and tachometer and an electronic fuel gauge. There is just a warning light for the water temperature which goes off when it has reached operating temperature.
But I missed a clock, one of the few things I felt the well-appointed little car should've had.