Mazda’s striking little hatch tested

This small hatchback has been a hit with Aussies for years and the latest version adds sporty looks to the impressive package.

Small cars today have a lot of features, but you pay for the privilege. We’ll see if the Mazda2 SP Pure is worth adding to your shopping list.

WHERE THE

Mazda’s four-speed compact hatchback range starts at about $24,900 drive-away for the base Mazda2 Pure and goes up to about $30,000 for the series-topping GT version. We tested the $27,500 Pure SP, the second rung on the ladder.

That’s expensive, but the days of under $20,000 hatchbacks thrown at first car buyers are over — only emerging brands like China’s MG are playing in that space.

The SP adds a touch of sporty styling to the 2. It features 16-inch black alloy wheels, black exterior accents, a chrome exhaust and black cloth seats with contrasting red stitching.

A seven-inch central screen is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has Bluetooth connectivity and digital radio.

Mazda backs its vehicles with a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty and maintenance is capped at $1,702 over a five-year period.

COMFORT

The Mazda2 is small inside, even compared to rivals, but the driver’s seat has enough manual adjustment for most people to find a comfortable spot, while the leather-wrapped steering wheel can be adjusted.

The back seat is cramped and best used for shorter trips. There are no vents or charging points on the back. A pair of USB charging ports and a 12V outlet serve the front row. The hatch trunk is very small at 250 liters, but sedan buyers will be pleasantly surprised by the large 440 liter trunk, which will swallow a set of golf clubs.

Well-stocked suspension will help smooth out bumps and bumps in the road, but you’ll feel the bigger potholes as it struggles to get the car under control.

Tire roar and engine noise can be intrusive, but no more so than other small hatchbacks.

SAFETY

Safety is Mazda’s strong point. There is a long list of standard equipment that overshadows much more expensive machines.

The 2 brakes automatically when it detects a potential collision with a car or pedestrian and pulls the steering wheel to keep you in your lane if you drift off track. Sensors will also pick up vehicles in your blind spot and sound the alarm if a car approaches from the side while you’re backing up.

Other safety equipment includes six airbags and a reversing camera with parking sensors.

THE DRIVING

The 2 isn’t meant to be a performance car, so economy is the name of the game.

Power comes from a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 82 kW and 144 Nm. It feels fast in traffic, but can sound coarse when turned hard.

The 2 is one of the more dynamic small hatchbacks. It has sweet steering and decent body control, making it a nice companion for a winding road.

On the highway it feels stable and planted, but you have to wind it up to overtake.

Fuel consumption of 5.3 l/100 km is normal, but benefits from the fact that you only need cheaper unleaded petrol.

PRONOUNCEMENT 3.5/5

Safe, stylish and cheap to run, but the price pushes it out of the realm of most first-time car buyers.

ALTERNATIVES

Toyota Yaris Ascent Sport, about $27,200 driving

Expensive, but packed with safety equipment. Available as a hybrid.

Kia Rio GT-Line, drive away $27,990

Range topper with sporty flair and industry-leading seven-year warranty. Not so nice to drive.

MG3 Excite, $19,990

Cheap and cheerful, but crash protection, safety and road holding are substandard.

MAZDA2 PURE SP VITALS

PRICE About $27,500 drive-away

ENGINE 1.5 liter four-cylinder petrol, 82 kW and 144 Nm

WARRANTY/MAINTENANCE Five Years/Unlimited Mileage, $1702 Five Years

SAFETY 6 airbags, automatic emergency braking system, blind spot warning, lane assist, rear cross traffic warning, reversing camera, parking sensors

THIRST 5.3L/100km

SPARE Space saver

LUGGAGE 250L

#Mazdas #striking #hatch #tested

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