2015-Mazda2-2

Mazda have unveiled its new fourth-generation Demio/Mazda2 at its Hofu plant in Japan. The new 2 sees Mazda’s city car transform into a mini-Mazda3 thanks to the introduction of SkyActiv technology and Kodo design language.

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The new 2 follows where the Hazumi Concept car left off. Its a pretty little thing with a relatively long nose, sporty details, and a very distinctive face. It’s very clear Mazda’s designers have gone for a form over function philiosophy here. Most cars in this class have short bonnets to maximise interior space. That’s not the case with the new 2 as it sports a relatively long bonnet in the pursuit of style. I for one think its worked.

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Mazda know how to make good looking small cars. Since the third generation Mazda2 was launched in 2007, it remains one of the best looking cars in its class today. This new one has stepped the game up. It has a European look to it and Mazda have done a great job of incorporating a family face without falling into the trap of other manufacturers which end up looking like scaled down versions of each other. The Mazda2 looks similar to the 3 and 6 but has its own character.

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The rear is quite similar to the outgoing car which is no bad thing. As with most cars these days the 2 has grown. It now measures at 4060mm long, 1695mm wide, and 1500mm tall. However, thanks to SkyActiv technology it also weighs less. Mazda are suggesting the 2 will weigh between 1010kg-1130kg depending on engine sizes. That’s not to say the 2 won’t fare well against crash tests as it has received the highest rating from US NCAP, Euro NCAP, and JINCAP. Mazda claim the new SkyActiv body is also 22% more rigid than before.

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Inside are probably where the biggest changes lie. The European-look of the exterior continues inside. It does look more premium in there than it ever did before. There’s the option of a heads-up display, Mazda’s great MZD Connect system, and a promise of higher quality materials. The design is clean and simple. I love the contrast colour scheme. That ivory/red combo makes it look like an Italian sports car. Mazda have also put an emphasis in having a sporty driving position.

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Of course one of the highlights of any new Mazda these days are the engine and chassis. Mazda have shown the industry there’s still life in internal combustion engines and making cars lighter not only helps economy but also improves driver enjoyment. The 2 is no exception. There are two new engines available on the 2. A 1.3L SkyActiv-G with 92bhp and 120NM of torque and a 1.5L SkyActiv-D with 105bhp and 250NM of torque. Buyers will have the choice of either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed auto for either engines.

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Handling was said to be one of the main priorities for Mazda’s engineers and they’ve fine tuned the chassis of the new 2. In the front there’s a MacPherson strut suspension setup and rear torsion beam at the rear. Not to mention the extra ridigity in the body. Some models even get a ‘Sport’ button… which is exciting.

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The new 2 will go on sale in Japan “some time in the Fall” and prices have yet to be announced. The new 2 will be produced at Mazda’s Hofu plant, Thailand, and Mexico. It’s not sure whether NZ Mazda2s will be sourced from Japan or Thailand though I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll be from the latter. Either way, the new 2 looks promising. The small car segment is growing fast (in more ways than one) and the 2 has always been something different. It’s the stylish and sporty alternative in a typically sensible and dull segment.

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