Japanese car manufacturer Mazda has just launched its all new and very stylish Mazda 2 which will face some tough opposition from the Ford Fiesta and the latest Vauxhall Corsa in the very competitive supermini sector, writes Bryan Longworth.
However, the company is very confident the new model will make a big impact with Peter Albion, the UK Mazda sales director, stating they expect the car to be a “game changer” in its sector because, he says, it will raise class standards across design, engineering, comfort, specification, connectivity and safety.
Indeed, the new fourth generation Mazda 2 supermini has already made a big impact in other parts of the world being voted Car of the Year in Japan and getting the Golden Steering Wheel award in Germany which is not bad going for starters.
The new Mazda 2, which is a very good-looking car especially up front, replaces the previous model that had links with Ford from the era when Mazda and Ford were closely connected but now that relationship has ended and the latest model is 100 per cent Mazda.
It features the impressive signature “wing” front grille and predatory headlamp styling which instantly identifies it as the latest addition to the Mazda family and its distinctive styling provides the car with plenty of kerb appeal.
Prices for the 16 strong all new Mazda 2 line-up which has a mix of petrol and diesel engines and manual and automatic transmissions start at £11,995 for the 1.5-litre 75ps SE and rise to £17,395.
There is a five level grade structure SE, SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav with a range of Euro 6-compliant Skyactiv powertrains: 1.5-litre 75, 90 and 115ps petrol and 1.5-litre 105ps diesel engines.
And a comprehensive safety package is standard which features hill hold assist, tyre pressure monitoring system, dynamic stability control and traction control which all help to make this a very well-equipped car.
Mazda designers have given the interior a more up-market ambience than that on the previous model with a well-designed instrument panel and the touch screen satellite navigation has been much acclaimed which also offers internet radio and access to Facebook.
The Mazda 2, which is longer and lighter than the previous model, is only available as a five door but that will be appealing especially to family and older owners who prefer this to a three door because of the easier access it provides for the rear seats and it makes it much more user-friendly for close parking and placing shopping on the rear seats.
There is a large load area at the rear but no spare wheel and only a puncture repair kit which is not as satisfactory as I once found ironically on a Mazda launch in Italy when I tried unsuccessfully to repair a puncture with a repair kit and had to wait for a spare wheel from the back-up crew.
I have always had a soft spot for Mazda because my first test car was one of their rotary engined models a long time ago and while their sales have been hit in recent years the Mazda 2 is the car to provide the company with a UK sales boost.
Model: New Mazda 2.
Engines: Diesel and petrol.
Grade structure: Five.
Range: 16 models.
Transmissions: Automatic and manual.
Price: From £11,995 on the road.