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Date: 11 Dec 2017 Author Type: Press Release
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Liam Mothilall
Source: Julian Lurie
Since Mazda South Africa became totally independent from Ford last year, they’ve launched a brace of new models starting with the all new Mazda 3, the new Mazda 6 and Mazda CX-5 followed by all new Mazda 2 sub-compact, which also adopts the ‘KODO—Soul of Motion’ design language and full range of SKYACTIV Technology. There are seven variants of the new Mazda 2 but the model featured in this road test is the top of the range Mazda 2 1.5 DE Hazumi 6-speed Automatic 5-Door hatch.

The design of the new Mazda 2 is quite striking, incorporating the company’s new corporate shield shaped grille with body color front upper grille decoration, gently sloping windscreen, front fog lamps and alloy wheels which on the press vehicle were shod with Dunlop Sport 185/60R16 radials. The new model is slightly longer and lower than before and the front wheels have been moved 80mm further forward, to free up some extra leg room.

The interior design is a major step forward when compared to the previous model, and in fact is very similar to the new Mazda 3, sharing the same instrument cluster with the central rev counter, which also houses the digital speedometer, flanked by digital information displays on either side. A 7-inch color touch screen monitor is positioned in the center, at the top of the dashboard showing all data related to the infotainment system, including audio, phone connection, and the BOSE surround-sound system while a BMW iDrive-style controller, with a “click-‘n’-turn” wheel, takes care of items such as the infotainment system. The new Mazda 2 has slightly less headroom, front and rear, but space up front is fairly generous with comfortable bucket seats offering good thigh support and the driver’s seat is multi-adjustable, while at the rear, leg space is a little scarce and things are a bit tight for tall passengers if the front seats are adjusted far back. The 280 litre boot is quite generous for a small hatchback, and space can be further extended by folding down the split rear seat backrest. Storage for oddments is provided for in the cubby hole, the front door pockets, a magazine pocket behind the driver’s seat backrest, and two cup holders.

Standard equipment for the Mazda 2 1.5 DE Hazumi Auto as tested includes; electric windows front and rear, electric exterior mirrors, air-conditioning, multi-function steering wheel, adjustable for both reach and rake, a trip computer with four functions, an auxiliary-audio input jack, USB plug and keyless push-button engine start. A Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio capability and Internet radio integration, audio system with: 6 speakers and rear roof mounted “B” sting antenna are also standard, as is leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped: gear shift knob and handbrake, an armrest in soft-touch black with red stitching and headlamps with an auto on/off function.

Safety equipment is comprehensive, complete with the new Mazda 2’s SKYACTIV-body, employing a multi-load path structure that absorbs and disperses impact force. Also standard are dual front airbags for the driver and front passenger, childproof rear door locks and ISOFIX child restraint anchor points, vented disc brakes up front and drums at the rear with ABS, EBD and EBA, dynamic stability control and a rear window washer and wiper.

The new Mazda 2 is powered by the next generation SKYACTIV-D 4-cylinder 1.5 litre engine, which was developed in the pursuit of ideal combustion despite a very low compression ratio. It develops 77 KW at 4 000 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1 500 rpm. The performance from this engine is almost a match for a 2.5 litre petrol engine. With strong acceleration right up to the 5 000 rpm red line, it will cover the 0 to 100 km/h dash in just over 10 seconds after two gear-changes, and has a top speed touching 180 km/h.

Mazda claims a diesel consumption figure of just 4.4 litres per 100 km’s when matched to the 6-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic transmission, however over the week I had the press vehicle, the trip computer gave me a reading of 6.4 litres per 100 km’s on average, which is more realistic for town driving.

On the safety front, Mazda’s Proactive Safety system includes six airbags and side impact protection bars, while the excellent braking system comprises vented discs in front and solids at the rear with a raft of electronic driver aids including ABS, EBD, DSC and EBA. Seated behind the 4-spoke leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, front visibility is very good, but at the rear, the wide “C” pillar tends to obstruct the view when reversing out of an angle parking. All buttons, levers and switches are well positioned as is the automatic shift lever, while the three aircon vents, with one at each end of the dash and one centrally positioned, distribute the air very well.

On the road the sound of the diesel engine can be heard at idle or parking speeds, but after that it’s truly impossible to make out that there was diesel power under the bonnet, and in all conditions, the 1.5 litre turbo-diesel pulls strongly, with good linear power delivery, and the automatic gear changes are quick and smooth. Another plus for the 6-speed SKYACTIV is that when you select manual mode, the ‘box operates like a true manual shift car in that once you select a gear it will hold that gear right up to the red-line and only change up when the driver activates the change. The Mazda 2 Hazumi Auto is fitted with the start-stop system that some like and others find irritating, but seems the norm on new cars these days.

The power steering is well weighted and feels slightly quicker than before, but the car remains easy to manoeuvre, the ride is a lot more comfortable and composed, while the softer suspension does a good job of smoothing out ruts and bumps. In the curves and twists in some of our KZN midlands roads, the Mazda 2 exhibited good road-holding and handling and was a pleasure to drive. It’s clear that this new model Mazda 2 is a lot more grown up than the car it replaces. It’s more comfortable, more sophisticated and offers very good value for money.

The Mazda 2 1.5 DE Hazumi Auto 5-Door as tested, sells for R331 400 which includes a 3-year unlimited kilometer factory warranty, 3-year roadside assistance, a 3-year service plan and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty.
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