In a world where connectivity is king and social media, like a hatchback, can lay bare through the ‘rear window’ even the most personal information, there are people, usually older, who prefer to hang on to their privacy.

In automotive terms the latter are the sedan folk who like to lock away possessions out of sight in a car boot. Mazda has tipped its cap to them by introducing a sedan version of its popular Mazda2, leaving the hatch to attract the younger, more connected, buyer.

Available in Neo and Maxx specification – the high-end Genki has been let go – sedan prices start with an entry level of $14,990 for the Neo manual.

Neo and Maxx hatchback share their prices with the sedan, while the added Genki tops out the range at $20,690. The mid-spec Mazda2 Maxx hatchback was on test.

There’s no disguising the Mazda-ness of the ‘2’, with the front taking on the brand DNA. Designers created a dynamic profile by pushing the compact cabin toward the rear of the lower body’s forward sloping lines.

The overall effect of this body design is that of forward momentum, while wheels positioned as close as possible to the four corners of the body create a short overhang and achieve a wide track.

The passenger cabin takes on high ideals with cues taken from small aircraft. The instrument panel spreads like the wings of a plane; the round air-conditioning louvres resemble jet engines; the radiating lines of the door trim convey the image of air flowing from a jet engine.

The intention is to create a feeling of quality that goes beyond the modest class of the car. The driver-centric cockpit environment and classy colour co-ordinated surroundings work well.


Next-generation HMI (Human Machine Interface) with Commander control knob on the centre console, allows easy access to navigation, communications and infotainment, including social media via MZD Connect.

A number of functions can be controlled by voice activation, including switching menus, audio play, stop and skip functions, station selection, as well as zooming in and out of the navigation system maps.

With a mobile music player or smartphone connected to the onboard head unit via USB, voice commands can also be used to search for songs by artist name, or to call phone numbers stored in the phone’s contact list.

Of two engines available to the Mazda2, the Maxx takes the uprated 1.5-litre Skyactiv-G four-cylinder producing 81 kW of power and 141 Nm of torque, it’s coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The latter allows drivers to press a switch on the shift gate to switch to the Sport drive mode, where the transmission is automatically set to start out in a low gear. It also increases the amount of torque output when the accelerator pedal is pressed down further to deliver increased acceleration and a sense of fast response with a minimum of pedal action.

Central to this is the delivery of a good field of vision from the driver’s seat, plus the placement of new Human Machine Interface devices to minimise movement of the driver’s line of sight, as well as the adoption of Mazda’s i-Activsense advanced safety technologies.

Available across the Mazda2 range is the Smart City Brake Support option, which, when driving at low speeds (4 to 30 km/h) around town, the system automatically applies the brakes to prevent colliding with the vehicle ahead, or reduce the amount of damage in the event an accident cannot be avoided.

A strong body structure and a full suite of airbags takes care of the passive safety of occupants.

There’s good space in the Mazda2 Maxx cabin, with ample head and shoulder room for the average-size occupants in front, while rear leg room is adequate.

Rear seatbacks fold to increase cargo carrying capacity from 250 litres. And with just one side of the 60:40 division dropped will take a golf bag or similar long load.

Instruments are clear and easy to read, as is the 7.0-inch screen perched on top of the central dashboard, conveniently at driver’s eye level.

Mazda claims 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres for fuel consumption on the combined urban / highway cycle. The test car came up with 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres on the daily city commute and an efficient 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres on motorway runs.

The ride was a bit bumpy and noisy on some uneven road surfaces. The car handled confidently without suspension trauma. Parking, with the aid of the reversing camera and its guidelines, was a doddle with such a small car.

Sport mode had the engine holding the revs before gear changes, making lots of noise but not much action in the performance department. Stick to saving fuel in Normal mode is my advice.

Led by the likes of the Mazda2, little cars have come a long way with quality finish and fittings, along with the latest in engine technology, infotainment and connectivity beyond the passenger cabin. Sharp pricing continues to be a major attraction too.



Neo 1.5-litre five-door hatch: $14,990 (manual), $16990 (automatic) Maxx 1.5-litre five-door hatch: $17,690 (manual), $19,690 (automatic) Genki 1.5-litre five-door hatch: $20,690 (manual), $22,690(automatic)
Neo 1.5-litre four-door sedan: $14,990 (manual), $16990 (automatic)
Maxx 1.5-litre four-door sedan: $17,690 (manual), $19,690 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.

15-inch alloy wheels. Steel spare
ABS anti-locking brakes with electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist and emergency stop signal
Dynamic stability control
Reverse camera
7-inch full colour screen and HMI with Commander control
One touch (up and down) power window (driver)
Tachometer and electronic odometer / tripmeter
Tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel
Trip computer
Satellite navigation
Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio
Internet radio integration (Pandora, Stitcher and Aha)
i-stop engine technology

SPECIFICATIONS (1.5-litre four-cylinder high-spec petrol engine)
Capacity: 1496 cc
Configuration: 1.5-litre in-line 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC S-VT petrol (Skyactiv-G) with i-stop
Maximum Power: 81 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 141 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Emission rating: Euro 5

Drivetrain: Six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic

Length: 4060 mm
Width: 1695 mm
Height: 1495 mm
Wheelbase: 2570 mm
Track: 1495 mm (front); 1485 mm (rear)
Kerb weight: 1049 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 44 litres
Turning circle: 9.4 m

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Drum

Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h: N/A
Top speed: N/A

Fuel type: 91 RON unleaded, E10
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 4.9 litres per 100 km. CO2 emissions 134g per km

3 years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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