Available in four hatchback versions – Neo, Maxx, Genki and GT – and three sedans – Neo, Maxx and GT- the new Mazda2 follows on from the Mazda3 and 6 with G-Vectoring Control producing even safer handling.
In a first for the light-car segment, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert come to Mazda2, being fitted as standard on up-spec Genki and GT. This joins smart city brake – forward support across the range (the only volume seller to do this) and smart city brake support – reverse, now standard from the Maxx up.
Updates to suspension and recalibration of electric power steering have bettered ride and handling and wind noise has been reduced by an insulated windscreen. Likewise engine noise and road noise are kept at bay by insulation and suspension damping.
Like its larger stablemates, the new Mazda2 gains an upgraded steering wheel, while each member of the new range is full of distinguishing features. Neo and Maxx now include electric folding mirrors with integrated indicators, with Maxx also earning DAB+ radio (note that the CD player has been deleted across the range).
Genki gets automatic folding mirrors, LED foglamps, a colour active driving display, and blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert as standard. GT rides on modern silver 16-inch alloy wheels as stylish as they come, with interior upgrades including white leather trim. Both are topped off with the latest shark fin antenna on hatch models.
Contemporary colours include a new Deep Crimson Mica, with debuts by Eternal Blue Mica, Meteor Grey Mica and Jet Black Mica all joining Soul Red Metallic, Dynamic Blue Mica, Snowflake White Pearl Mica and Aluminium Metallic on the palette.
The new Mazda2 is powered by a 1.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine, with an up-spec version for Maxx, Genki and GT with i-stop, mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
There has been no change to prices over the previous models, with the entry-level Neo manual hatch and sedan at $14,990 (auto $2000 extra) and the GT equivalents topping out the range at $21,680 and $23,680, respectively. All prices are driveaway.
The Mazda2 GT hatch we are currently testing has quality materials and very good fit and finish. Minimalism is the catch-cry, with two-tone black-and-white seats replaced by solid white material extending as far as the seatback.
The seat centre section is given a new look with dot pattern material with a thin red line, flanked by fine rows of stitching running up the centre of the back, distinguishing the depth of the seat.
Black accents added to the shoulder sections unite the whole design. Piano black and satin chrome highlights and door trim stitching add to the quality feel. An upgraded steering wheel has been stolen from the prestige Mazda CX-9 SUV.
Automatic folding mirrors on locking the car give an easy check as to whether the car is secured from the outside when walking away.
An active driving display directly in front of the driver has been improved to help them concentrate on driving the vehicle. Now full colour, it is brighter and has more contrast, with warnings displayed in red and amber.
The main dial consists of a traditional analogue tachometer and digital speed read-out, both easy to read at a glance. This is flanked by LCD displays, including in the test vehicle suggested gear-shift points to obtain optimum performance and economy from the 1.5-litre engine.
Info is also reflected as a head-up display that’s set to focus at 1.5 metres from the driver’s eyes. Speed and speed limits, turn-by-turn sat nav directions and safety system information are displayed.
A full-colour 7.0-inch display screen is situated on the top of the central dashboard, once again at driver eye level, with data control from a wheel and switches on the centre console. Menu switching can also be done via voice control.
Mazda MZD Connect gives easy access to the internet and social networking services. Internet radio Aha by Harman is included.
The high-spec engine in the GT comes with the Mazda i-stop engine start / stop system aimed at saving fuel. If you don’t want to reduce emissions it can be turned off.
With 81 kW of peak power and 141 Nm of torque, the high-compression motor works best in the higher rev range, doing so accompanied by a brassy note.
In a solid workout over several days of city living the Mazda2 GT hatch six-speed manual averaged fuel consumption straddling nine litres per 100 kilometres, while when set free on the motorway, it recorded a best figure of 4.7 litres per 100 kilometres.
Nimble steering makes the Mazda2 the ideal town car for zippy heavy traffic manoeuvres, while rear cross traffic alert warns audibly of vehicles behind when reversing out of parking spots.
Brakes are ventilated discs at front and drums the back with pedal feel tuned to the driver’s input for vehicle safety and stability. A lightweight, rigid body structure ensures occupants protection in the event of an accident.
Cabin storage space in the hatchback boot is 250 litres, enough space for a large suitcase or average-size baby stroller. The tailgate is light and easy to operate via a button on the inside lip.
Even the quality of sound heard when closing the Mazda2 rear doors has been addressed in the new model to make it more pleasing the ears. Premium quality is certainly Mazda’s aim.
AT A GLANCE
Mazda2 Neo hatch or sedan: $14,990 (manual), $16,990 (automatic)
Mazda2 Maxx hatch or sedan: $17,690 (manual), $19,690 (automatic)
Mazda2 Genki hatch or sedan: $20,690 (manual), $22,690 (automatic)
Mazda2 GT hatch or sedan: $21,680 (manual), $23,680 (automatic)