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Roy Lewis road tests the Mazda 2 1.5-litre 3-door Sport petrol manual
7:00am Friday 11th November 2011 in Road Tests
AT-A-GLANCE Mazda 2 1.5-litre 3-door Sport petrol manual.
Top speed: 115mph.
0-60mph: 10.7 seconds.
C02 emissions (g/km): 135.
Verdict: Sporty styling, punchy motor, excellent build quality, fun to drive, well equipped, firm but comfortable ride, good buy.
WHEN a new model shoots to the top of a manufacturer’s selling list it makes many would-be buyers sit up and take notice.
And when the car is a supermini it invariably g rabs maximum attention because this segment of the market is flourishing, partly due to motorists downsizing in a bid to save on running costs.
So with the difficult financial climate, the facelifted Mazda 2 hatch couldn’t have been available at a better time.
After all, the new model is a big step forward over the previous car, being better built, lighter, leaner and fitter with lower running costs.
It’s a practical five-seater with suf ficient power and space to cater for the small family and their luggage. And prices are competitive, too, considering the generous equipment levels, going from £10,305 to £14,765 (on the road).
The car is available with three and five doors, and a choice of petrol and diesel motors. The 1.3- litre petrol has 75bhp and 84bhp outputs while the 1.5-litre petrol pushes out a healthy 101bhp. An automatic 1.5-litre is available and there is also a frugal 1.6-litre diesel.
Selling really well is the updated 1.5-litre Sport which has a punchy motor that returns a combined fuel consumption figure of 48.7mpg. And it looks the part with side skirts, a small rear spoiler and front fog lights.
The ef ficiency of the 2 has undoubtedly been enhanced by significant weight reduction, enabling the car to be quicker off the mark and more economical.
But the weight loss has not been at the expense of strength because the bodyshell has actually been stiffened considerably.
On the road the Sport drives as good as it looks. The motor is eager and with firmer suspension the car has taut handling and excellent road-holding characteristics, though the accurate steering is on the light side which may not be to everyone’s tastes.
The ride is fairly firm but is surprisingly comfortable with potholes and road imperfections being soaked up admirably.
Inside, there is classic simplicity with easy-to-read instruments neatly g rouped together and attractively laid out with chrome ring detailing. There is plenty of storage space and a particularly useful item is the glove b ox with a small integrated paper rack while there is also a floor console.
The cabin is roomy and there is seating in the rear for three adults at a push.
The boot is not large but is a reasonable size for a car in this class with the split rear seats folding easily and neatly for extra load lugging.
Mazda, which has an enviable record for reliability, has also ensured the car is tops for safety with a five-star Euro NCAP rating for occupants.
But what will probably impress buyers more is the generous range of equipment which on the Sport includes climate control, cruise control, automatic lights, and rain-sensing wipers.
There are alloy wheels, a stability programme, traction control, remote central locking, CD radio, MP3 connection and alarm and immobiliser.
This lightweight hatch is stylish and practical and should prove a good buy and an excellent alternative to mainstream rivals.