December 11, 2017




Why we like Mazda’s cute baby Mazda2

2018 Mazda 2 GT Review

Mazda’s cutsiepie baby city-car, the Mazda2, comes in sedan and hatch. We drove the Sedan recently.

Both hatch and sedan share both trim levels, and engine/transmission specifications.

Outside:

Great proportions make the sedan look bigger than it is.

Make no mistake, it is a city car through and through. Up front, the Kodo Design language sees a shield grille, and flowing lines in the headlight arrays.

A 2,560mm wheelbase, and 16” wheels sit well with an overall length of 4,060mm (hatch). Bottom grades get 15” wheels.

As always with these small city cars, the hatch seems better resolved than the sedan. The hatch looks rounded, and the character lines, or creases in the metalwork, look better placed.

However, the sedan remains a model in its own right, despite the hatch outselling it.

The rear pillar makes the spacious boot look chunky because of the amount of space between the top of the wheel arch, and the bottom of the pillar.

Inside:

The cabin is great quality despite the entry level price, From $14,990 to $21,990. NOTE: GT now top model at $23,814

Smart City Braking (AEB autonomous emergency braking), is an option, and should be standard. From next year, new models will require AEB on the base model to attain a 5 star safety rating.

Plastics and other surfaces have a quality feel. Soft touch is associated with luxury, and Mazda have rolled soft touch out across its range to great effect.

The centre stack has a7” LCD touch screen, with a controller on the console near the gear selector. It is much easier to touch the screen for inputs.

Steering wheel controls have most of the basic functions for audio, and cruise control. The driver instruments contain the usual fuel and trip information.

There is no Apple Carplay/Android Auto, which is a complaint I had about the fabulous MX5 we drove a few weeks ago.

Seating is comfortable. Remembering most drivers won’t be traveling long distances, comfort and space is more than adequate.

The Drive:

Either a 79kw/139Nm or 81kw/141Nm 1.5 engine, is teamed with a 6 speed manual, or a 6 speed auto. I’m very pleased to see a proper automatic transmission with torque converter, instead of a CVT which is now being favoured.

The power is fine for city speeds. Manuals give much more control, and are easy to use, but autos are better for traffic.

Mazda2 feels nippy on takeoff, but overtaking needs planning.

Light steering, and a good quality reversing camera, make negotiating car parks a doddle.

Top models get climate control (manual AC on lower models) with vents that can be aimed exactly where you want them.

In addition to the regular driver instruments, Satnav and speed readouts appear on a Heads Up Display (HUD). The small glass panel flips up on the top of the dashboard.

Some brands project the info right on to the windscreen, but this fighter-jet-style flip up panel is a little easier to use. My only concern is it is mechanical, and moving parts make me a little nervous. I’d be just as happy having the panel fixed in place.

Conclusion:

You’re not going to use Mazda2 on road trips, so city short trips is its raisons d’etre.

It does this job very well. The sedan boot is big enough to take my folded Ebike without folding the back seats down.

A quiet-ish cabin, well laid out instruments, and comfortable seats, make commutes pleasurable.

Madza 2 is great 1st car for a new driver, second car for a family, and a canny choice for a price conscious downsizing retiree.

Importantly, safety, both active and passive, has not be sacrificed for price.

All in all, a great package, except for the abominable oversight of Carplay/Android auto. Millennials demand connectivity, and no matter what auto-makes say, their own proprietary systems don’t cut the mustard.

Smartphone owners want to be able to go from car to car, with their music and contacts exactly the same in all cases.

Price: From $14,990 to $21,990

Engine: 1.5L skyactive G, 79kw/139Nm or 81kw/141Nm

Transmission: 6 speed manual, or a 6 speed auto

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