While everyone is rushing to market with their twin-scroll compact SUV’s, Mazda appears to be fast asleep. Or are they?
You need to know: This Japanese company may not be among the technological pioneers but its products usually offer good value, striking designs and Eastern reliability. The Mazda2 is a small hatchback competing with VW’s Polo, the Toyota Yaris, as well as a flood of Hyundais, Kias, Fords, Nissans, etc. etc.
More info: It’s a hotly contested market where turbo power and self-venting gadgets are used as primary bait. It seems that Mazda ignored this – possibly on purpose – and simply stuck to the old recipe of simple drive trains and a few nice-to-have features. Time will tell if this conservative stance pays off but the old adage of “less to go wrong” certainly rings true.
What else? The 2 is an attractive hatchback with a stylish interior. It’s relatively easy to operate, rides comfortably and corners as commanded to. This high-spec petrol version is the commuter’s friend with a semi-obedient six-shot auto’box, Sport mode and shift paddles.
Like all free-breathing 1.5 four-pots, this engine feels spritely and delivers its 82kW or 145Nm in a relatively linear fashion. Our best 0-100km/h sprint at sea level was absolved in 10.17 seconds; two tenths faster than the manufacturer’s claim. A single emergency stop took 3.11 seconds and 41.4m; about par for this segment.
Watch out for: At just above R300,000 this isn’t a simple choice because the equivalent Kia is 10,500 cheaper, a loaded turbo (manual) Micra costs the same, Honda’s clever Jazz is 308 grand, a high-spec turbocharged Polo costs slightly more and the big Fiesta turbo is 324k. Add another 10k and you could even drive a new Mini…
Why you want one: The Mazda is missing ESP (or traction control) but offers auto lights and wipers, leather, climate control and rear park peepers; way more than most of the others. On top of the simple engine / gearbox combination and handsome looks, it also offers a three year / unlimited mileage warranty and service plan.
- Engine: 1.5L i-4 petrol
- Transmission: 6-speed Automatic, FWD
- Max. Power: 82kW
- Max. Torque: 145Nm
- Avg cons.: Claimed 5.7L/100km
- 0-100km/h: 10.17 seconds (Claimed 10.4)
- Top Speed: Claimed 184km/h
- List Price: R301,500