Lighter, stronger, safer, cuter, more fuel-efficient and offering better value than ever before is how Mazda is summing up the new Mazda2. We just think it looks cool... as you would expect of a car designed by Ikuo Maeda ? the man responsible for the RX-8 and whose father designed the original RX-7.
At $16,500, the new Mazda2 Neo is only $165 more than the superseded model yet adds about $1000 of additional value. The new Mazda2 is also available in Maxx grade which adds 15 inch alloy wheels, six-disc CD player, steering wheel mounted audio controls and a rear spoiler to the standard kit and is priced from $18,710.
New standard features include an anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), remote locking, driver?s seat height adjustment, a centre rear headrest and an AUX jack that enables any MP3 player (including iPod?) to be played through the car?s stereo.
Air conditioning, power windows and mirrors and an MP3 compatible CD player with four speakers are also part of the package.
Importantly, the new Mazda2 becomes the first Mazda and the first Japanese model in the light car class available with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) across all models for an extra $700. DSC is a state-of-the-art automated anti-skid system that helps prevent front or rear wheel slides.
The range-topping Genki model features a unique body kit and now comes with 16 inch alloys, unique seat trim, six airbags, leather-trimmed steering wheel and front fog lamps.
It is priced from $20,845. Originally designed as a Japanese home market model the Genki will be available to Australian Mazda2 buyers.
According to Mazda the interior was designed to be a space that communicates movement; unlike interiors with flat surfaces, the architecture selected combines confidence-inspiring solidity with strong visual movement.
The gear shift has been integrated into the centre console and is now higher and closer to the driver.
Overall the new Mazda2 is a little smaller with 41mm cut from its length (now 3885mm), 65mm from its height, although the wheelbase stays the same (2490mm) and width has increased a little (15mm). However, interior space for people and cargo remains very competitive.
It is partly this reduction in size that has helped Mazda reduce the weight of the new 2 by 100kg over the outgoing model.
Taking into account the larger list of standard features in the Australian delivered Neo model, that weight advantage is reduced to 60kg.
To further reduce weight the Mazda2 team looked to the MX-5 and its weight saving ?gram strategy? for inspiration. The ?gram strategy? ensures that every aspect of the car was checked for excess.
That attention to detail meant shaving 0.69kg from the bonnet by making the latch smaller and its hinges thinner, however the single biggest gain was in the body shell, which was slimmed by 22kg to 215kg.
The Mazda2?s body may be lighter but it?s also stronger, being the first Mazda to use new generation ultra high-tensile steel, while the proportion of high-tensile steel has jumped from just 5 per cent in the superseded car to 31 per cent.
More rigid than before, the Mazda2?s body benefits from localised stiffening such as around the suspension towers. These focused stiffening techniques ensure maximum benefit with minimal weight penalty. Benefits include better handling, improved NVH and a stronger passenger safety cell.
Mazda2 also offers more protection in a crash thanks to the stiffer chassis, while cars fitted with six airbags (available across the range and standard on the range topping Genki) are expected to earn a top, five-star NCAP rating.
All Mazda2 models now comply with the strict Euro Stage 4 emission regulations and are powered by a 1.5-litre MZR engine that features Sequential Valve Timing (S-VT) to boost cylinder charging efficiency and Tumble Swirl Control Valves in the intake manifold that optimise the air/fuel ratio to promote combustion stability.
The engine develops 76kW at 6000rpm (EEC) and 137Nm at 4000rpm (EEC) and with reduced friction losses and the lower body weight, combines to reduce fuel consumption and therefore C02 emissions. The new Mazda2 also promises to be quicker than the outgoing model.
The new Mazda2 uses an average of just 6.4L/100km on the ADR 81/01 cycle compared with 6.6L/100km on the outgoing model, while automatic transmission versions now average 6.8L/100km compared with 7.0L/100km previously.
Mazda Australia expects to sell about 850 Mazda2s a month. The superseded model has averaged 450 a month since its late 2002 launch.
The new Mazda2, like the rest of the Mazda passenger and SUV range, comes with a three year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
? $16,500 - Mazda2 Neo.
? $18,710 - Mazda2 Maxx.
? $20,845 - Mazda2 Genki.
? $1,650 - Automatic Transmission.
? $1,100 - Safety Pack Option (Neo & Maxx)[Adds side (front) and curtain (front and rear) airbags, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control System (TCS)].
? $700 - DSC Option[Adds DSC and TCS].
Click on the link to see the full specification chart: