BABY MAZDA HAS PLENTY OF SASS

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway - Peter Barn­well

NEW Mazda2 ar­rives here in Novem­ber amid a flurry of ac­tiv­ity in the light pas­sen­ger car seg­ment.

It’s the fourth new Mazda in rapid suc­ces­sion with Skyactiv econ­omy and emis­sions op­ti­mi­sa­tion tech­nol­ogy and so-called Kodo-style de­sign. Other tech­nol­ogy from the three larger cars, Mazda 6 and 3 and the CX5 fil­ters down to the 2 – stuff like MCD dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­ity and some driver as­sist fea­tures such as lane keep­ing as­sist, re­verse cam­era, auto brake and pos­si­bly radar cruise con­trol.

Satnav wasn’t on the Sin­ga­pore spec’ cars we drove nor was auto wipers, but a navi sys­tem pos­si­bly app driven is a fait ac­com­pli .

Though pric­ing was not re­leased at the pre­view drive it will likely be around the same mark as the cur­rent model and cer­tainly com­pet­i­tive with VW's new Polo, which starts at $16,290.

The new Mazda2 line-up will likely re­tain three grades, con­ven­tional auto and man­ual six-speed trans­mis­sions and for some rea­son two ver­sions of the 1.5-litre petrol four cylin­der called the V-P5 and the F-P5.

The ra­tio­nale be­hind two 1.5 petrols is driven by econ­omy, with the en­gines ca­pa­ble of up to 25 per cent bet­ter fuel econ­omy than the cur­rent car.

If that's no ex­ag­ger­a­tion, it means the most eco­nom­i­cal Mazda2 will sip reg­u­lar un­leaded 91 RON at 4.8litres/100km, a fig­ure any hy­brid car would strug­gle to achieve.

The higher spec' 1.5 F-P5 scores di­rect fuel in­jec­tion, in­ter­nal fric­tion re­duc­tion, high 13:1 com­pres­sion, pis­ton crowns with a com­bus­tion cav­ity and vari­able SVT cam tim­ing both sides, with the in­take driven elec­tri­cally and the ex­haust by en­gine oil pres­sure.

In­ter­est­ingly, the higher spec' en­gine is the only one to get iStop en­gine stop/start for fuel sav­ings in traf­fic.

It's good for 81kW/141Nm out­put – sig­nif­i­cantly more than the pre­vi­ous Mazda2 rated at 76/135.

The “cheaper'' V- P5 en­gine misses out on the elec­tric in­take cam SVT sys­tem and runs a lower 12:1 com­pres­sion ra­tion to achieve 79kW/139Nm.

We fail to un­der­stand the rea­sons for two such sim­i­lar en­gines that would cost pretty much the same to man­u­fac­ture. Of­fer­ing just the higher out­put F-PS would have done the trick. But that's not our call. Apart from the sen­sa­tion styling that's sure to win many hearts, other things that will make Mazda2 buy­ers happy will be the new six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with pad­dle shift and se­quen­tial mode on the se­lec­tor stick. It also has two drive modes, nor­mal and sport, that al­ter en­gine rev shift points.

It's about the same size ex­ter­nally as the cur­rent Mazda2 with slightly less room inside gauged by crit­i­cal di­men­sions. And the boot seems smaller. In­te­rior space is ad­e­quate for four adults.

As a com­pletely new car, the new Mazda2 boasts im­prove- ments across the board to ride and han­dling, noise and vi­bra­tion re­duc­tion, drive feel, safety and stan­dard equip­ment. The lat­ter is still to be fi­nalised but will likely re­flect the cur­rent model regime. The in­te­rior in par­tic­u­lar is a big step up over the cur­rent car and fea­tures a tablet-style cen­tre pod and neat, com­pact in­stru­ment clus­ter. A num­ber of fas­cia ma­te­rial are used inside.

The ex­te­rior styling is a par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive ren­di­tion of the Kodo style fea­tured across all new Maz­das.

Ver­dict: A im­pres­sive lit­tle car that will likely can­ni­balise Mazda3 sales as well as dom­i­nate the light seg­ment. It has plenty of sass, goes great, uses min­i­mal fuel and has a qual­ity feel at a (po­ten­tially) bar­gain price.

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