MAZDA2 NEO SEDAN

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

The cheap­est model in the range doesn’t get a cen­tre screen, which means it also doesn’t get a re­vers­ing cam­era, only rear park­ing sen­sors. Ser­vic­ing, at 12 months/10,000km in­ter­vals, costs a rea­son­able $873 over three years. Gets stan­dard power mir­rors and win­dows, as well as Blue­tooth, USB port and aux­il­iary jack. Cruise con­trol and push but­ton start are stan­dard.

DE­SIGN-TECH

The Mazda is prob­a­bly the best-look­ing of the small sedans. It looks like an in­te­grated de­sign, where oth­ers look like a hatch with a boot stuck on. In­side it’s not as roomy as the Honda and the lack of a cen­tre screen makes the cabin look and feel like the cheap­est model in the range. The in­te­rior is well-fin­ished, how­ever, and looks more at­trac­tive in­side than the Honda. Rear legroom is not nearly as gen­er­ous but the 440Lboot is large for a small car.

EN­GINE

The lit­tle 1.5-litre is sur­pris­ingly perky, de­spite its mod­est 79kW/139Nm out­puts. That might have some­thing to do with the fact that the Mazda weighs barely more than a tonne. The sixspeed trans­mis­sion is smooth shift­ing and the fuel con­sump­tion is im­pres­sive, at just 5.5L/ 100km.

SAFETY

The Mazda2 gets a five-star crash rat­ing, with an im­pres­sive 36.35 points out of a pos­si­ble 37. No re­vers­ing cam­era but there are six airbags and seat belt re­minders for all five pas­sen­gers. The Mazda also ac­ti­vates the haz­ard lights if it senses an emer­gency stop.

DRIV­ING

The Mazda feels nim­ble on the road, with light steer­ing for around town and a com­posed de­meanour on the open road. It feels se­cure through corners and rides com­fort­ably, although there is some road and tyre noise over rougher sur­faces.

VER­DICT A tight one. The Honda is big­ger and has more equip­ment but the Mazda

is cheaper and more fun to drive.

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