Two has loads in mind

Sedan ver­sion might tip men into the de­lights of Mazda’s lit­tle hero, says PAUL GOVER

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE -

GOLFERS of Aus­tralia, your new baby is here.

Build­ing a boot into the back of the Mazda2 has cre­ated a new sedan and a new choice for peo­ple who have clubs — or any­thing that fills 440 litres of stor­age — but only want or need a sub-com­pact car.

Mazda has al­ways done a good job on de­sign­ing its lit­tle sedans and the new Mazda2 is more of the same, with a cute tail that bal­ances the de­sign a lit­tle bet­ter than the hatch­back.

There is some clever think­ing in the boot, in­clud­ing sculpted plas­tic side pan­els that lib­er­ate space nor­mally hid­den be­hind a flat filler panel, and the ar­rival of the sedan also brings a slight tweak to the rest of the Mazda2 mod­els that ar­rived late in 2014.

There is still no stan­dard re­vers­ing cam­era, but equip­ment from the Neo up runs to cruise con­trol and rear park­ing radar. The Genki, only avail­able as a hatch, gets LED light­ing but also a $700 price rise.

The bot­tom line is still pegged at $14,990 for sedan and hatch, while the Maxx opens at $17,690. A cam­era comes for $778, sat­nav is $570 and there is a $400 safety pack, although few peo­ple take it.

The man who cre­ated the booted Two, de­signer Shigeki Naka­mura, is crafty and classy with his car.

“We looked at ev­ery­thing to max­imise the space. And we used plas­tic pan­els be­cause we wanted a more up­mar­ket look,” Mr Naka­mura tells Cars­Guide.

“We’ve tried re­ally hard to put some emo­tional value into the car. We wanted a pre­mium look and feel.”

On the num­bers front, apart from a boot that’s al­most dou­bled from 190 litres in the hatch to 440 in the sedan, the car is 260mm longer and 25mm lower.

The only ob­vi­ous vis­ual clue is a miss­ing rear wiper.

The sedan range mir­rors the hatch, with Neo and Maxx mod­els — although no Genki — and two lev­els of tune for the 1.5-litre petrol en­gine. That means 79kW/139Nm and 139/141, with six-speed man­ual and au­to­matic gear­boxes.

Mazda Aus­tralia ex­pects the sedan to con­trib­ute an ex­tra 200 sales a month, tak­ing the Mazda2 to 1200, with 70 per cent choos­ing the cheapie Neo and about 80 per cent go­ing with the auto.

“We’ll just see if we pick up a few more male cus­tomers. We’re not sure how many, but the hatch is run­ning 80:20 in favour of women,” mar­ket­ing head Alastair Doak said.

Test­ing the booted Two is easy. I open the lid, put things in the back, and they fit.

I have nowhere near enough stuff to chal­lenge the car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity on an overnight stay in Ade­laide, but there is plenty of proof that it will be a welcome work­horse for a lot of peo­ple.

Sit­ting butt-to-butt with a Mazda2 hatch, the car­ry­ing space is wider, deeper and longer. It looks like the sort of boot that will be good for small­fam­ily work and week­end war­riors of any age.

Dy­nam­i­cally, there is no change and noise lev­els seem the same as the Mazda2 hatch on un­fa­mil­iar Ade­laide roads.

Against its ri­vals, there are only four. And the Mazda is way bet­ter look­ing than a Toy­ota Yaris or Hyundai Ac­cent.

The Two is a classy car that should jump to the top of its class — four stars out of five.

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