Jolly lit­tle jelly bean

The small­est Mazda wins on looks alone

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

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Given Mazda is a mar­ket leader, it’s hard to be­lieve that it was strug­gling just a few years ago. Then came a re­mark­able re­birth fol­low­ing the launch of the new ‘‘Zoom Zoom’’ range of models.

Mazda is ex­pected to sell more than 100,000 cars in Aus­tralia this year led by the Mazda3. Its glory has re­flected on the smaller Mazda2.

The Mazda2 was launched in 2002, win­ning small car fans with its prac­ti­cal boxy shape, qual­ity and econ­omy. It was up­graded in 2005 and re­placed in 2007 by the ap­peal­ing ‘‘jelly bean’’ shape. Ini­tially it was a five-door hatch. The three-door added in 2008 was in turn re­placed in 2010 by a four-door sedan. The model range starts with the Neo, then goes up-spec to the Maxx and the range­top­ping Genki.

Mazda op­ti­mised the cabin to make it as roomy and as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble within the 2’s mod­est di­men­sions. Up­right seat­ing po­si­tions and high roofline meant it could ac­com­mo­date four adults in ac­cept­able com­fort.

There was plenty of scope for ad­just­ing the front seats for a com­fort­able po­si­tion for the driver and front pas­sen­ger. Rear oc­cu­pants also could ad­just the seats fore and aft as well as for rake. The boot is small but holds a rel­a­tively rea­son­able amount of gear. The per­for­mance was quite strong in all con­di­tions with its 1.5-litre four-cylin­der en­gine show­ing plenty of pulling power and re­sponse across a broad range of en­gine speeds. Trans­mis­sion op­tions were four­speed auto and five-speed man­ual. The man­ual was the pick if you wanted the best get-upand-go but the auto was widely pre­ferred. The 2005 up­grade brought man­ual shift­ing to the auto, which made it a much more at­trac­tive op­tion.

The Mazda2 rated highly for its ride and han­dling. Its road­hold­ing and cor­ner­ing were ex­em­plary and the ride was firm but com­fort­able.

The only down­side of the 2007 model’s re­vised lines is slightly re­stricted rear vi­sion.

NOW

The few com­plaints fielded by

Cars­guide are an in­di­ca­tor that Mazda got it pretty right. It’s a solidly built car with a sound me­chan­i­cal package and lit­tle of a se­ri­ous na­ture seems to go wrong.

That’s a good start­ing point, but each car needs to be thor­oughly in­spected be­fore any money changes hands. The Mazda2 is still rel­a­tively young — with the ear­li­est cars clock­ing 150,000km or so, and later ones yet to reach 50,000 km — but it’s im­por­tant to check the ser­vice his­tory of any ex­am­ple un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

Oil changes are sched­uled for 10,000km and it’s vi­tal that this rou­tine is kept up. For some own­ers, the 2’s re­li­a­bil­ity is an in­vi­ta­tion to skip ser­vices. Only buy a car with a ser­vice his­tory that stacks up.

SMITHY SAYS

It’s a keeper and you can buy with con­fi­dence.

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