Maxx is sweet spot

Herald Sun - Motoring - - FIVE THINGS - Craig Duff

1Light It looks like a win­ner

cars aren’t known for their ex­te­rior ap­peal but the Mazda2 bucks the trend. It’s a smart, stylish city car with a unique de­sign lan­guage that is in­stantly iden­ti­fi­able as Mazda. That brand recog­ni­tion is a large part of the car’s suc­cess, along with a trendy in­te­rior. The only let­down is in the rear seats — space for stor­age and oc­cu­pants isn’t on par with some of the best in this field.

2and Price aligns on hatch sedan

Neo and Maxx vari­ants are the same price with a hatch or a boot, at $14,990 and $16,490 re­spec­tively. Only the hatch has the top-spec Genki trim, so those look­ing for all the fruit and with $20,690 to spend have to take the five-door road. The six-speed auto adds $2000. The cur­rent drive-away deals are $16,990, $19,690 and $22,690.

3The The Maxx is the sweet spot

mid-range vari­ant adds re­vers­ing cam­era, al­loy wheels, in­te­rior leather high­lights and seven-inch screen with Mazda’s im­prov­ing in­fo­tain­ment soft­ware. It uses less fuel than the Neo, even with marginally more power and torque. The Genki pre­mium brings ex­tra bling and sat­nav, head-up dis­play, rain-sens­ing wipers and up­graded lights whereas the re­vers­ing cam­era is a de­fault ex­pec­ta­tion and the screen lit­er­ally helps own­ers con­nect with their cars.

4The The pack is clos­ing in

Mazda2 was launched only last year but com­peti­tors are clos­ing in on the class leader. The Hyundai Ac­cent — also sold as a sedan and hatch — is lead­ing seg­ment sales this year cour­tesy of a $14,990 drive-away deal on the base model. It can’t match the 2 dy­nam­i­cally but it doesn’t have to: price is the pri­or­ity in the light car seg­ment when other fea­tures are com­pa­ra­ble. Mazda also suf­fers from an av­er­age war­ranty and ser­vice sched­ule against the South Korean ri­vals.

5Ac­tive Auto brak­ing is op­tional

safety ex­tends to city-speed au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing — as a $400 op­tion. That isn’t un­usual in this seg­ment but newer ri­vals have wisely in­cluded the fea­ture as stan­dard to make a point of dif­fer­ence and nib­ble at sales of the 2 by ap­peal­ing to the safety con­scious. As al­ways, good han­dling and road­hold­ing are the first safety steps and the Mazda2 rates in this re­gard.

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