If you’re contemplating buying an all-new Mazda2, you should think long and hard about it, as it could change your life. For a start, it’s a head-turner, so you won’t be able to go anywhere without people in the street giving you a double take. You may even decide to park it outside your lounge window so you can gaze at it when you’re at home, but this may deprive your houseplants of sunlight and make the place a bit gloomy.
The interior is problematic, too. Despite the Mazda2’s pint-size dimensions, it’s really spacious inside, so your friends will always be nagging you for lifts. If you’ve got a 6ft brother who plays rugby, you should probably go for something smaller, else he and his towering teammates will want ferrying around on weekends. There’s enough room inside for a giraffe; and a hippo.
I guess your knowledge of geography may improve because of the Mazda2 SE-L Nav, though, as its sat nav system is so easy to use and brilliant at finding places, you might end up exploring parts of the UK you’ve never even heard of before. Actually, the whole interior is laid out ever so logically, with everything where you’d expect it to be. All the buttons are clearly labelled and the trim and overall vibe in there’s quite posh.
Rocking up late to appointments, college, uni or work might become a bad habit if you drive a Mazda2, but not because it’s unreliable; far from it. The thing is, even the SE-L spec’ car I spent a week with (there’s a Sport model, too) was so much fun to drive that I really didn’t want to give the keys back when the nice delivery man came to collect it, and I kept finding excuses to drive it, the long way round.
Carrot Insurance does a lot to promote safe driving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – and the Mazda2 piles it on, like an over-zealous dinner lady serving up mashed potato. The 1.5-litre petrol engine isn’t fast like a raging bull or anything, but it’s more than enough to put a smile on your face when you work up and down the snappy 5-speed manual gearbox. Mazda’s boffins have worked wonders with the SKYACTIV stuff underneath, making the Mazda2 handle like a proper, back-to-basics little sports car – even if that’s not actually its intention. I covered around 500 miles in it and every journey was a pleasure, from a 3-hour drive on the motorway to popping down to the local takeaway. Just don’t complain if your meal’s cold when you arrive home with it, because you’ve chosen to take the long route back. It’s that kind of car. Addictive is the word.
The Mazda2 is really well suited to new, inexperienced drivers, too, the lane departure warning system, hill hold assist and smart city brake support keeping you safe, along with plenty of airbags. The speed limiter is a cinch to use and will save you exceeding the limit, the i-stop system means it’s pretty difficult to stall it and decent visibility out of all the windows means it’s easy to park. The Mazda2’s turning circle is amazingly compact, meaning it’s effortless to manoeuvre in tight car parks, driveways and narrow side streets. Even the wing mirrors are nice and large, making motorway driving that little bit less daunting, and the dashboard tells you the best gear to be in, helping you drive more smoothly and economically.
Priced at a very appealing £15,045, including Bluetooth, DAB radio, CD player, two USB ports and an Aux input, a 7-inch infotainment screen and all the other kit I’ve mentioned, it’s not going to break the bank – relatively speaking, anyway. The Mazda2 doesn’t guzzle fuel, either, averaging around 56mpg in real life. Replacing 15R eco’ tyres is obviously going to work out a little cheaper than if it had larger wheels, insurance group 15 for the 90PS is about the same as a comparable Fiesta, and band B road tax and 105g emissions mean you pay nothing for the first year and then £20 yearly after that. Only a tyre repair kit is provided, not an actual tyre, but those new to driving would probably want to wait til an orange or yellow van pulls up, anyway.
Now you know how stylish, well-built, practical, safe, driver-focussed and downright fun the new Mazda2 is, it’s upto you whether you’ll be gutsy enough to occasionally decline giving a lift and restrained enough not to randomly leap off the couch and go for a drive whenever the urge arises. Saying it’s a tough segment of the car market to be in is an understatement, with loads of great cars to choose from – but for now, the Mazda2 has jumped to the top of my list.