The first ever Mazda that I’ve encountered was the brand’s hallmark model, RX-8. So, when a brand built such good sports car, how well will the pedestrian models that is coming out of the famed Japanese marque do?
When I was given a chance to drive the all-new Mazda 2 sedan a punt around, I simply couldn’t resist. To see if this car lives up to its potential, I took the car for a bit of a road trip down south.
Price: RM 85,996.30 (without insurance)
Engine: 1.5-litre SkyActiv-G petrol
Power: 114hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 148Nm @ 4,000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
What is it?
This is the third iteration of Mazda’s 2 model, aimed to give the B-segment a run for its money, which boast an ever steady supply of competition, from the “Big Three” Japanese marques, the Koreans, and of course, our very own local car manufacturers.
It is no secret that the company shifted its design ideas from the Nagare design language, which was featured on one of Mazda’s most recent concept car, Furai to the current Kodo style. The first good thing that the Mazda Kodo design was its vivid imprint on the 2. With its noticeable big nostril that it now shares with its bigger brothers, the 3, 6 and the CX cousins, this Mazda 2’s stance is certainly more masculine, powerful and has an overall sense of eagerness that is ready to pounce.
Interior and comfort
And the good story continues whilst being inside the car. The two things which capture my attention was the exquisite looking red stitching that runs through the interior and the pop up Heads-Up Display (HUD) above the dashboard. The red stitching inside the car exudes a dash of premium feel and for what you're getting, it's an absolute bonus that makes it so much better than the usual fake plastic moulded stitching. Meanwhile, using the HUD unit was very intuitive. It is a way to keep me alert on my speed limit on the highway and its simple directional instructions from the GPS that flashed onto the HUD also reduces my gazing time away from the road.
Fiddling around with the MZD Connects panel reveals a pretty good interface, and Mazda seems to have paid some designers very well to think through it. Both the touch panel and joystick worked really well and the GPS was accurate in helping me getting around the bustling Melaka town. Of course the connectivity for the Mazda 2 was hassle free which I was able to use my iPhone via Bluetooth and USB seamlessly and another cookie points for its extra USB ports.
The interior cabin is definitely roomy. The sitting position is good with a great driving vision of the outside roads, especially with both driver and passenger almost 180cm in height, unfortunately you might not be getting the same deal for the rear seats. For a sedan, the back seats are undersize and does not provide enough legroom for a long comfortable journey.
Another thing that is a let-down is the utility box. Situated in between the driver and passenger, the only thing the Mazda 2 provide is the two space for cups. The cup holders is not exactly the most strategic place to put drinks, as it get in the when the driver pulls the hand break. Additionally, as we are on a road trip, moving things from the rear storage trunk was a bit of a hassle as the model that I tested did not have an external boot release button on the boot itself; a feature, which I feel, would have complete its image as a good overall performer.
How does it drive?
The 148 Nm of torque comes in handy especially in darting around town, quickly inches it ahead of its other normally aspirated competition within its class. The 2’s lighter kerb weight of just a bit over a ton must have aided in this by its clever use of aluminium.
From small town to the open road, I took the 2 for an exciting drive on the long stretch of highway to Johor Premium Outlet for a quick half day shopping. The drive to Johor was a great opportunity for me to check out the 2’s performance.
On the highway, the 2 was doing well as a class leader that wind noise was never too much, the engine was smooth for both cruising and under hard acceleration. However, when the car hits above 140 km/h, it uncovers the 2’s weak point which discloses it’s unnerving.
Perhaps the stability at high speed might a deal breaker for you, but my test drive with this Mazda 2 proved to be a delightful drive on overall, it is just simply a really good car.
How economical is it?
The design language does come with many other improvements and it’s not all cosmetics. The Mazda 2 comes with a full suite of Skyactiv technologies, which contributes to its fuel saving sensibility, with fuel efficient powertrains and lightweight construction.
My weekend trip down to Melaka which started in Kuala Lumpur along with a detour to JPO before coming back home had merely managed to consume one and a half tank of petrol with a spirited drive on the highway showing 6.8L/100KM. The start-stop never felt intrusive, unlike in some cars.
I always felt that making supercars were simple; keeping it as light as possible and making it run fast at hyper speed are its main goal, but making an everyday go-to car? Now that’s a big challenge. The great car manufactures would need to balance the importance of usability and the desirability factor for its customers and it is actually safe to say that this Mazda 2 display its features very well.
Be it sedan or hatchback, the Mazda 2 doesn’t just get you to point A and B. It is something you can comfortably drive to work and be stuck in a traffic jam with on a daily basis but when the weekend swing by, don’t be afraid to take it out with you.
At the time of writing, it's been announced that the Mazda 2 is the runner’ up car of the year for ASEAN CAR OF THE YEAR AWARD. Not a bad effort for the little 2 beating out all but one rival, across all vehicle classes.