The sedan version of the Mazda 2 isn’t just an afterthought, writes David Bonnici
Little cars with a boot aren’t normally as popular as the hatch versions because they often don’t look as good.
Quite often the boot appears to be tacked on as an afterthought and doesn’t offer much of an advantage in terms of space.
One company that has got the small sedan right over the years is Mazda and I reckon it’s on a winner with the new latest Mazda 2 sedan.
For a start, it looks good, I reckon better than the hatch, with more than a passing resemblance to it’s graceful Mazda 3 and 6 siblings.
Its form is matched by function with a huge (for its class) 440-litre cargo area hidden under a small boot lid considerably bigger than the 250-litre cargo area at the back of the hatch.
The Mazda 2 feels pretty roomy for a compact car. The front seats are comfortable. Legroom is at a premium in the back but there’s plenty of arm and headroom for two adults.
As you’d expect from Mazda, the interior is well put together. The interior designs of many small cars go too far in trying to appeal to younger drivers but this has a nice general appeal to it.
For the driver, the Mazda 2 Maxx has extras such as the seven-inch touch screen that sits on the dash in place of the standard entertainment unit with buttons in the base-model Neo.
The main gauge cluster in front of the steering wheel looks good, though the LCD displays on either side of the speedometer that show the tacho, fuel contents and trip computer info can be difficult to see on a bright day.
The entertainment system syncs quickly to your phone or device via Bluetooth, the reversing camera is clear and the in-built satnav works fine. The touch screen can be hard to reach while driving so there’s a little control knob on the centre console that’s easy enough to use. It does take a while to input your destination into the satnav.
There are buttons on the steering wheel to control volume and select songs, radio stations and entertainment mode, as well as phone, trip computer and cruise control.
The air-conditioner is how I like it – nice and simple – and it’s pretty powerful for a little car.
There isn’t too much storage in the centre console – one of my first-world pet hates is when a car has push-button start but nowhere convenient to leave your keys while you drive. There’s a couple of cup holders and a small pocket in front of the gear stick as well as the usual door pockets and glovebox.
For this rev head, compact cars aren’t usually the most exciting to test drive but I quite enjoyed driving the Mazda 2.
It goes well, has nimble steering but doesn’t feel as floaty as some small cars. It even has a throaty, sports-car-like exhaust note. The 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, SKYACTIV-Drive petrol engine is more than enough and is quiet economical despite revving well beyond 2000rpm at 100km/h in sixth gear.
The manual version I drove was zippy. The gear shifting felt a little loose and it was a little too easy to accidentally slip into reverse gear – not much fun at traffic lights.
It has i-stop which stops the car when idling. I don’t usually like this feature but I must admit that when I first picked it up, I didn’t realise it was even engaged as the engine is so quiet. The engine starts instantaneously when you lift your foot off the brake.
Safety features include hill-start assist and Smart City Brake Support, which senses a potential collision and primes the brakes so the car stops quicker when you stomp on the pedal. If you’re too slow, it will stop automatically to reduce the impact.
Mazda 2 pricing starts at $16,990 drive-away for the Neo and $19,690 for the Maxx.
For more details and to book a test drive with your local dealer, visit www.mazda.com.au/cars/mazda2-sedan