New car family view: Mazda2
June Neary gives you the family lowdown on the refreshed Mazda2.
THE revamped Mazda2 has a smarter look in restyled guise to ensure that supermini buyers don't ignore its appeal. And the changes go more than skin-deep. There are upgrades, too, under the bonnet and up front there's a five-point grille and larger badge. Plus, Mazda has added their Activematic four-speed auto to the range.
Buyers are offered an upgraded Euro 5-compliant powertrain line-up. Most customers will probably go for the 1.3-litre petrol unit, offered with either 75PS or 84PS, but there is also a pokier 1.5-litre good for 102PS.
Perhaps the biggest advance in terms of mechanicals, however, is the introduction of a far more competitive, more powerful 1.6-litre turbo diesel offering 95PS.
So does it zoom zoom? Well, yes, up to a point. The high-mounted gear lever shifts neatly and the whole car feels light on its feet but never unstable. The 1.3 TS will cover the 0-62mph dash in 14.9 seconds and go on to a top speed of 104mph. The 1.5 Sport by comparison, whether as a three- or five-door guise, is sprightlier at 10.7 seconds and 115mph.
As well as a stiffer bodyshell, the drive and handling are enhanced by modifications to the front suspension geometry and rear trailing arms that now have softer mountings. The rear dampers also have been revised and retuned. The changes may be modest individually, but with the whole greater than the parts, the result is a car that should feel more planted to the road without losing any of its zest for life. The four-speed automatic transmission is a first on the Mazda2.
Three- and five-door options give flexibility for parents who perhaps have young children and are looking for a small runabout. Those back doors certainly make wrestling Junior into the rear childseat a lot easier than would be the case if they were having to lean through in a three-door model. And there are ISOFIX fastenings for said seat. There are a trio of three-point rear seatbelts in the Mazda2 but five adults is a bit ambitious, the case with all superminis.
The Mazda brand is in ruder health than at any point I can remember and cars like this are the reason why. This improved Mazda2 has a touch of sportiness about it and remains a really class-competitive supermini – one that should make any small-car buyer's shopping list.