The small hatchback segment is becoming increasingly popular once again. This, as people are increasingly only moving around within towns and large cities, as well as needing a light city car with regards to soaring fuel prices. Luckily, we recently tested the Peugeot 208, Renault Clio and the Mazda 2.
These hatchbacks compete within a more premium hatchback segment and are therefore all priced between R349900 and R424 900 with the Renault (Clio Expression EDC 88kW Turbo) coming in as the least expensive and the Peugeot (208 GT 1.2 96kW A/T) being the most expensive. The Mazda 2 (1.5L Hazumi Auto) falls right in the middle at R383 900.
|Renault Clio V 1.0 Turbo Intens||Peugeot 208 1.2T Allure||Mazda2 1.5L Hazumi auto|
|Price:||R349 900||R374 900||R395 500|
|Power and Torque:||74kW @ 5000rpm and 160Nm @ 2750rpm||74kW @ 5500rpm and 205Nm @ 1750rpm||85kW @ 6000rpm and 148Nm @ 4000rpm|
|Luggage space:||391 litres||311 litres||280 litres|
|0-100km/h:||11.8 seconds||9.9 seconds||10.4 seconds|
|Fuel consumption:||4.6L/100km||4.8L/100km||6.2L / 100km|
The Renault Clio V Intens TCe 100
We must begin this section on a pessimistic viewpoint. As of late, none of the latest Renault cars impressed us. These include the likes of the Kwid, Kiger, Triber, Captur and even the top-end Koleos. Gone were the impressive French designs of the past, which made Renaults an immediate must-have. Rather, each of the above-mentioned products seemed as if Renault were just ticking the boxes. The same could be said for the jerky small engines (albeit with big turbos) and CVT or AMT pairings.
Hearing then, that we would be receiving the new Clio, did not entice me. This, however, quickly changed, just by looking at the exterior design. It is certainly one of the most striking small hatchbacks currently on the market.
Inside, a well-designed cabin greets you with a more upmarket feel than the Kwid, Kiger, Triber, and even the Captur and Koleos. The car also has a portrait-orientated touchscreen with the latest tech and connections. The “Intens” model even has wireless charging capabilities. All the interior materials are either soft-touch plastic or leather wrapped.
Driving the car is quite fun, with the steering feeling much more direct. The ride quality is firm yet comfortable. The Eco and Multi Sense modes allow for improved fuel consumption, although the engine might be a bit more sluggish then.
Space in the second row is also adequate and adults will be able to sit here with ease.
Mazda 2, 1.5 Hazumi Auto
We immensely enjoyed our experience with the Mazda 2. Driving a mixture of urban and rural-coastal roads, the fuel consumption stood at a remarkable 6.2 litres per 100km. While the design is somewhat outdated and the infotainment screen is difficult to manage (and not operated by touch), the car felt sturdy and calming as it rounded the bends of Clarens Drive.
Unfortunately, we also have to state that the Mazda 2 Hazumi model is somewhat overpriced, compared to the current competition on offer. However, the option of the entry-level Mazda 2 at R284 000 offers more standard features than most of its competitors.
Whereas the Clio is all about alternative designs, the Mazda 2 has been designed to not stand out; which is a good thing. Inside, the design is also straightforward and minimalist. While the infotainment screen could be improved with touch functionality, the system does pair well with any Android or IOS device, and also has two USB slots.
The cabin also feels luxurious with a mixture of soft-touch plastics and leather. The seats are very comfortable and very supportive, while the heads-up display is a surprising gadget. Our only concern here is rear legroom and the rather small boot capacity.
The engine, however, is the key feature for us as the 1.5 litre, naturally aspirated petrol engine delivers 85kW and 148Nm. Mix this with the very capable 6-speed auto gearbox and low-revolution gearchanges (below 2000rpm) helps to keep the fuel consumption just above 6 litres per 100km. As it has no turbo, the engine does tend to search for more power in the higher revolutions, but luckily the ‘sport’ mode makes easy work off any overtaking efforts.
Apart from the boot capacity and the infotainment screen setup, we were very pleased with the Mazda 2. Even the entry-level models might be a viable option to look at.
Peugeot 208 1.2T Allure
Peugeot’s latest and greatest small hatchback, this striking new 208, is a great third contender in this trio of hatchbacks as it easily matches the other two for style, performance and ride.
They say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” so you’d be absolutely justified in choosing the voluptuous Clio or purposeful Mazda2 over this extremely modern design. With its headlight slashes, busy flank details, 3D tail light clusters and wild interior, this Peugeot is certainly meant to stand out.
Safety and luxury specifications are on par with the others while the 208 Allure model spoils its pilot with a holographic-like instrument cluster, alien dashboard shapes (including a flat chrome switch panel) and green contrast stitching on its vibrant furniture. It’s pretty crazy in here!
Ride comfort is similar to the Renault with an acceptable layer of smoothness hiding beneath a sporty suspension setup. The 1.2L turbo-petrol engine helps this 208 to reach slightly better performance figures, as a short but pointless drag-race with the Renault proved on our Youtube channel:
If you live in Namibia, you may want to ignore the Peugeot for now… as there are no dealers at the moment. That’s a real pity because most of us at NamWheels would have chosen it as our winner, but in the absence of any official dealerships, we’ll hand this win to the Renault Clio 1.0T Intens.
Why? Because it’s more affordable and torquey than the Mazda, whose unassisted engine and overzealous price tag hamper an otherwise winning recipe.