Mazda2 1.5 90ps SE-L Nav17 | 03 | 2015Scotcars rating

    Mazda bids to grab a sizeable slice of burgeoning supermini market with new Mazda2

    MAZDA HAS PRODUCED something of a cracker in the shape of its long awaited, new supermini. The Mazda2 builds on the success of its most recent models, the Mazda3 and facelifted Mazda6, both of which stand up strongly against their respective main rivals in their sectors.

    It's no surprise then that the Mazda2 again sets new benchmarks in the ultra-competitive supermini sector, as it goes head-to-head with the likes of the long established market leader, the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and Skoda Fabia. Those three models highlight how tough the sector is.

    Externally the new-gen Mazda2 is something of a headturner, and from a number of angles resembles a scaled-down Mazda3, which is no bad thing. There's the family's new familiar trapezoidal grille which features the Japanese brand’s chrome-finished ‘wing design’ insert first seen on the facelifted 6 saloon.

    Personally, I love the bold creases and curves along the car’s flanks which, when mated to the sexy swooping roofline and the steeply rising waist, help characterise Mazda's Kodo design language. There's no question this is a smart and distinctive small car.

    Body-coloured door mirror housings and a subtle tailgate spoiler are standard across the range. Step up to the SE-L model and you get 15in alloys and front foglights. The Sport models — which stand proudly as the Mazda2's flagship — gets larger 16in alloys, LED daytime running lights and colour-coded grille insert.

    Related: Roadtest — Mazda6 2.2 SkyActiv Sport Nav diesel

    And it's just as attractive and appealing inside the cabin, where Mazda has successfully pushed the 2 much more upmarket. You won't be able to miss the trio of eyeball air vents (look carefully, and you'll spot the fourth cleverly hidden in the facia below the infotainment touchscreen) that feature controls with an Audi-style, metal-effect knurled finish. Cool.

    Just as eye-catching is the large speedometer which is flanked by digital readouts for the rev counter and trip computer.

    Overall — and being honest — it lacks the ultra-premium feel of the Polo, which enjoys more soft-touch materials and just has a more overall quality feel to it.

    But don't get me wrong: the interior of the Mazda2 is a terrific place to be, made all the more appealing by the soft leather on the steering wheel and sturdy switchgear.

    The entry-level 74bhp version of the 1.5 SkyActiv-G returns economy and CO2 emissions of 60.1mpg and 110g/km. Our pick and likely to be the most popular model is the 89bhp version, which returns 62.7mpg and 105g/km with the five-speed manual gearbox or 58.8mpg and 112g/km with the six-speed auto.

    The range-topping 114bhp petrol is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox and returns 57.6mpg and 115g/km. The cleanest model in the range, and by quite some distance, is the 104bhp 1.5 SkyActic-D, capable of 83.1mpg and 89g/km – identical to the 104bhp VW Polo 1.4TDI.

    Related: Great deals on all-new Mazda2

    We're driving my personal favourite: the Mazda2 1.5 89bhp SE-L Nav. It'll set you back £14,395 — splash out on the vibrant Soul Red Metallic, as pictured, which'll cost you a n additional £650 — but it gets electrically folding heated door mirrors, electric windows all round, cruise control and DAB digital radio.

    The astute amongst you will obviously has deduced the 'Nav' bit of the spec applies to the satellite-navigation, elegantly integrated into the 7in touchscreen. But this model also gets important safety features, including lane departure warning and emergency braking around town.

    Pricewise it's competitive: a Fiesta fitted with a 99bhp Ecoboost engine, but with less kit as standard, stats at £14,095.

    It may not be the roomiest supermini on the market, but it'll accommodate four six-footers without any complaints. And the rear doors — this latest Mazda2 is only available as a five-door — allow easy access to the back seats. Fold those rear seats down and the Mazda2 has 950 litres of stowage, with 280 litres available with them positioned upright.

    Related: Mazda unveils new MX-5

    Out on the road, the newcomer rides superbly. Despite being chokkabloc with kit, the Mazda2 weighs 1050kg, a result of the boffins' determination to shave weight off the car. That, in turn, benefits the car's ride, handling, performance and braking.

    It's not intended to be a supermini, yet the new model fairly scampers along with a healthy zest, comfortably ducking below the 10s barrier on the 0-62mph sprint.

    And you should get used to this four-cylinder 1.5 Skyactiv-G petrol engine: essentially, albeit differently tuned, it'll be the core unit of the new MX-5. It's that good.

    The gearshift in the 2 also feels sporty, with short throws. Ok, if you want to crack on across your favourite cross country route, you'll find yourself flicking up and down through the gearbox, but that's no bad thing. And you'll quickly realise Mazda really knows how to connect with drivers.

    There's something about the Mazda2 which just works. It's one of those cars which simply appear to cope with whatever demands are thrown at it. It really is a delight, and it's a spacious supermini for today's buzzy life.

    Test one: I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

    Related: Exclusive — Siberia in a Mazda3

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    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £14,395
    Engine / Power: 1496cc SkyActiv petrol engine, five-speed manual gearbox / 89bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 9.4sec; / Max 114mph
    How big/heavy?: L4060mm W1695mm H1495mm / kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 62.8mpg combined / 105g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: VW Polo, Ford Fiesta

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