In the first major update to the Mazda2 since the current generation’s 2014 launch, Mazda has expanded both the hatchback and sedan ranges.
The former grows from three grades to four with a new, range-topping GT joining the entry-grade Neo, mid-spec Maxx and the high-grade Genki. The sedan range increases from two to three grades, with the GT available alongside the Neo and Maxx.
There is no increase in pricing and up to $1000 in added value. Prices range from $14,990 for the Neo manual up to $21,680 for the GT.
Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) are fitted as standard equipment (a first for the Light car segment) on the Genki and GT and available as options on the lower grades.
These i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies join Smart City Brake Support Forward (SCBS-F), which is now standard across the entire range – with Mazda the only volume seller to offer such – and Smart City Brake Support Reverse (SCBS-R), which can now be found on the Maxx variant up.
And following on from the Mazda3 and Mazda6 re-launches, Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control also makes its way to the new Mazda2.
Under the bonnet is a 1.5-litre, 79kW/139Nm petrol engine, with a (slightly) higher-spec, 81kW/141Nm alternative for Maxx, Genki and GT models including i-stop, mated to a six-speed manual or optional ($2000) six-speed automatic transmission. ADR combined cycle fuel economy figures start from 4.9 litres/100km.
In pursuit of improved ride and handling, the suspension bushings and front and rear dampers have been upgraded and the electric power steering recalibrated.
A noise-insulating windscreen, along with new engine and luggage compartment insulation and damping material, is aimed at improving NVH levels.
These tweaks have made what was one of the better drives in its segment even more so. Our Maxx hatch auto test car delighted, whether it was zipping around the city, cruising the motorway or tackling a sinuous back road.
The steering is direct and well-weighted, the grip level impressive and engine response eager. Seating comfort and overall cabin ergonomics also rate well.
Indeed, ticks are plenty and crosses few. Interior and boot space are not as generous as some (think Suzuki’s capacious Baleno) and the Mazda2 lacks the full-sized spare wheel of the likes of Hyundai’s Accent.
But, overall, it is worthy of being on every Light hatch buyer’s short list.