Mazda2 – the entry level small car in Mazda’s attractive range
Car Reviewed: Mazda2 1.5 GT Sport Tech
What’s not to like? The range-topping Mazda2 GT Sport Tech, around £21,000, very well-equipped, a pleasure to drive and up to 57.3mpg.
I happened to follow a week in a much bigger car with this compact hatchback, yet it didn’t seem unduly small…because, in its class, it isn’t. Four adults can be pretty comfortable on board and the boot is reasonable and typical of this sort of car with easy-folding seats to enlarge its capacity.
Step inside and you see a very simple facia. The main instrument, a touch quirkily, features a traditional analogue rev-counter rather than a speedometer; the speed is a digital display (easily converted from mph to kph if you want) in the bottom corner of the dial.
At 70 mph, the needle indicates an impressively-low 1750rpm from the mild-hybrid 115 PS 1.5-litre engine. Mazda’s Skyactiv petrol engine technology includes a compression ratio as high as a diesel’s and the 1.5-litre is blessed with a four-branch exhaust manifold for greater breathing efficiency. I did find, when negotiating a long uphill stretch, that there was the indication that I should change gear from 6th to 5th, although the engine seemed happy enough, certainly not struggling in any way.
A neat 6-speed manual gearbox adds MX5-like fun to the drive and the steering is easy and accurate. There is some autonomy in lane-keeping, but not in an annoying way.
As to the ride, this small car dealt rather well with our local deteriorating road surfaces.
The aircon’s air-distribution system has been particularly well-designed.
Apart from all these plus-points, it’s worth noting the range of equipment in the GT Sport Tech: electric windows all around; parking cameras; a 360-degree camera; blind-spot monitoring; adaptive LED headlights; and ‘Smart city rear support rear’ so that you get some help in avoiding rearward collisions.
I can’t fault this Mazda, although on one occasion, when I happened to lean against the closed driver’s door, it felt like it was about to cave in, with a sound of metal bending. But it didn’t.
The indicated consumption, over two hundred varied miles, at 57.3mpg, was better than the official WLTP 56.5mpg; the 44-litre fuel tank allowing a very useful range of around 550miles.
Mazda’s clever stop/start system, i-stop, gives the smoothest engine re-start because the starter motor is not needed. Just combustion is necessary; this is achieved by the system stopping the engine with the four cylinders in the optimum position for re-combustion to take place…in just 0.35 seconds, twice as fast as any other method and smooth as silk.
All-in-all a very satisfactory and likeable little car and very frugal in these times of higher fuel prices.
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
The Kia Soul EV was the manufacturer’s first contemporary zero-emission vehicle Car Reviewed: …