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First drive: Mazda2 (pre-production). Image by Mazda.

First drive: Mazda2 (pre-production)
Mazda2 promises a lot in pre-production guise.

   



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Mazda2 (pre-production)

4 4 4 4 4

It will be next year before the public will get an opportunity to experience the new Mazda2, but we've had a drive in a pre-production example to get a taste of what to expect from the new supermini. Mazda's 'Kodo - Soul of Motion' design language is present and correct, but the 2 also debuts the latest SkyActiv engine engines.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Mazda2 SkyActiv-G 1.5 75hp
Pricing: to be confirmed
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, five-speed manual
Body style: five-door hatchback
CO2 emissions: 110g/km (Band B, 20 per year)
Combined fuel economy: 60.1mpg
Top speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 12.1 seconds
Power: 75hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 135Nm at 3,800rpm

What's this?

Mazda's new small car, which will be pitched against some already well-established rivals. The Mazda2 is all-new, built on a modified platform derived from the Mazda3, and will come with a choice of 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines.

Despite its compact footprint the Mazda2 is a well-proportioned car thanks to a wheelbase that is stretched by 80mm over its predecessor, whilst the A-pillars have also been moved rearwards, resulting in a side profile that is similar to that of the larger Mazda3.

Inside, there is room for five, though headroom is a bit tight for those that aren't so vertically-challenged, but concave door designs do help it to feel less cramped. There's a deep boot that can be expanded up to 950 litres by dropping the 60:40 split rear seats.

How does it drive?

The bijou Mazda may be pitched mainly at urban dwellers but out on open roads and at higher speeds it feels just as surefooted as it does around town, thanks no doubt to that longer wheelbase. Its cabin is easily one of the most attractive in the segment and must include plenty of noise insulation helping to give the car an increased sense of refinement in comparison to many of its rivals. Overall the design is fresh and well laid out, with the majority of the car's infotainment system accessed through a freestanding seven-inch colour touchscreen, which is operated via a rotary controller located just behind the gear selector. The highly specified model we drove featured a leather interior that gave it the type of finish you would expect from an Audi A1 or Mercedes-Benz A-Class, though it's unlikely many Mazda2s in the UK will be so specified.

On paper, a 75hp power output from a 1.5-litre engine might not sound hugely appealing, but it feels perkier than expected. It pulls away from rest easily enough from moderately low revs but you do need to use the full rev range while also working the five-speed manual gearbox to get the most out of it. There was a slightly stiff mechanical gearchange in the cars that we drove, but being early pre-production versions this may be ironed out once the car begins full production. With so much emphasis both on diesel and small turbocharged petrol engines from other car makers the naturally aspirated 1.5-litre unit in the Mazda may put many off at first glance, but throughout a day of predominantly town driving the fuel consumption didn't differ a great deal from that quoted by the Japanese manufacturer.

Around town the electrically-assisted power steering feels light but still gives a reassuringly connected feel through the multi-function steering wheel. The engine generates enough torque to allow the Mazda happily can sit in third gear in all but stop-start traffic - only requiring first gear when moving away from rest.

Verdict

The Mazda2 is certainly one of the standout designs in the busy B-segment and even lower down the trim levels it has retained a high level of quality in both fit and finish. It does face plenty of stiff competition, particularly in relation to some of the engines being offered by other manufacturers - such as Ford's EcoBoost units. It is also unlikely to be the cheapest car in its class when it goes on sale in 2015, but with the most expressive use of its current design language, as well as a smart interior, the Mazda is arguably desirable enough to justify any potential price premium.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Dave Humphreys - 20 Nov 2014



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2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.

2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.2015 Mazda2. Image by Max Earey.



2015 Mazda2. Image by Mazda.
 

2015 Mazda2. Image by Mazda.
 

2015 Mazda2. Image by Mazda.
 

2015 Mazda2. Image by Mazda.
 

2015 Mazda2. Image by Mazda.
 

2015 Mazda2. Image by Mazda.
 

2015 Mazda2. Image by Mazda.
 

2015 Mazda2. Image by Mazda.
 

2015 Mazda2. Image by Mazda.
 






 

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