TWO FOR THE ROAD
Mazda makeover adds value, keeps costs down
WHEN you’re on a winner, back it like Winx. The payout is only going to be marginal but
still at the top of the field. That’s approach taken with facelifted Mazda2, bringing welcome safety updates what is second best-selling light car in the country (watch out, Hyundai Accent) and most popular privately bought segment.
Exterior changes are barely worth mentioning — will anyone spot the shark-fin antenna on roof of higherspec models?
Mazda has fitted more kit, headlined by 30km/h city-speed autonomous emergency braking on all versions, and tried to reduce noise intrusion with improved glass sound deadening in key areas.
In this segment only the Skoda Fabia can match Mazda for standard AEB and the maker says likes of blind spot and rear cross-traffic alert are a first class.
More importantly, given the price-conscious nature light car segment, prices are unchanged from previous version. Drive-away start at $16,990 for Neo hatch or sedan, rise to $19,690 the Maxx, $22,690 for the hatchonly Genki and top out at $23,680 GT (pictured) in four or five-door guise.
The nameplate takes over from S Pack after Mazda’s research showed people paying top dollar for their city car didn’t want it described as a “pack” edition.
Not that Mazda is discounting the whole pack mentality approach — advertising campaign for update is tagged “2Tribe” in a bid to encourage young women feel part of network. Mazda Australia boss Vinesh Bhindi says the “overwhelming majority” buyers are women, with a smattering of males and empty nesters making up mix.
The entry level Neo will account for almost half Mazda2 sales, despite having an engine that is about 0.5L/100km less fuel efficient and with marginally power than the next three grades.
It still the only version to make do sensors rather than a reversing camera.
About 80 per cent of buyers will pay an extra $2000 for a six-speed auto. Hatch variants are tipped to account 74 cent of all Mazda2 sales.
The CD player has been deleted across the range as yet another indication this car is for smartphone-equipped millennials with downloaded tunes and apps for musicstreaming. As was the case previously, of eight-hued palette only Mazda’s “soul red metallic” paint costs extra, at $300.
ON THE ROAD
Mazda says the facelifted 2 is quieter than its predecessor. I’d need a back-to-back drive or a sound engineer to discern differences.
Plant the right foot — you need to, because non-turbo 2 needs to have revs on board
do its best work and the 1.5-litre engine cranks up volume along with pace. Semi-trailers blasting alongside likewise intrude cabin ambience.
The Mazda2 is far less vocal when driven in city environs and the steering and throttle are on par with best the class.
If carrying gear part of routine, sedan is pick
440L of cargo space to hatch’s 250L. Otherwise, smaller hatch a smarter look and car park.
It’s a mild makeover but Mazda really didn’t need to do much to keep the 2 at the top of the charts. Active safety should tick
boxes for ANCAP and buyers alike.
DEALER: Geelong Mazda PHONE: 5221 7233 WEB: geelongmazda.com.au