LED headlamps, dual-zone aircon and 16-inch alloys are standard. The price includes $2000 for the six-speed auto and $400 for autonomous emergency braking. Service intervals are 12 months/ 10,000km, which amounts to $941 over the first three years if you keep under the distance limit or $1332 if you do 15,000km a year. Mazda has an edge on resale values, according to Glass’s Guide.
The Mazda is a victim of its own success. The curvaceous “Kodo” styling is such a common sight on the roads that it’s taken for granted. The cabin layout is cute without being cutting edge, though the head-up display is a welcome addition. Luggage space isn’t huge at 250L but this isn’t a family bus. The front seats are among the best in class with good bolstering and a decent drive position.
The 1.5-litre four-cylinder (81kW/141Nm) claims thirst of 4.9L/100km. It is a willing combination, belying the low outputs to deliver solid performance around town or on the open road, though it isn’t as instantly responsive as the Skoda.
A five-star safety rating and six airbags put the Mazda2 at the top of the light car totem pole. The autonomous emergency braking operates at up to 30km/h, while Skoda’s version is good up to triple figures. The Mazda performed better in physical crash tests.
As a balanced package, the Mazda takes some beating. It cedes outright pace to the Skoda, not poise. The suspension is firm enough to sit flat through the turns without unduly jostling the occupants and the steering weight and responsiveness are class-leading.