Mazda’s ageing second-generation Mazda2 has a replacement at last, with the covers coming off its successor in Japan today.
Shown here in its home-market ‘Demio’ form, the new hatch’s unveiling follows the debut in March of the sleek Hazumi concept.
As expected, that concept proved a telling teaser of what was to come. Just as the Minagi became the CX-5 and the Takeri became the Mazda6, much of the Hazumi’s look can be seen in this final production model.
The now-familiar redesigned version of Mazda’s five-point grille again dominates this new model, with the long blade-like chrome garnish appearing to reach back into the engine bay.
And, as with the Takeri concept and its descendant the new Mazda6, the ultra-sharp headlights and rear lamps of the Mazda2 have been made larger and more rounded in the leap to production.
Little has changed through the profile though, with the same sweeping character lines of the Hazumi concept also appearing on the new Mazda2.
The show car’s heavily pumped guards have been made more slender for the final product, and the supercar-like door mirrors have also been replaced with more conventional units.
Mazda's Australian arm has also previously said it will likely offer the new 2 in hatch form only, with the previous generation's four-door sedan attracting less than 15 percent of range sales.
It’s good news in the cabin, too, with much of the streamlined and premium look of the Hazumi’s cabin translating nicely to production.
There’s a tiered dash design sitting neatly above a compact centre console and, in this clearly up-spec trim, a stitched leather-like wrap has been applied.
The sloping frame of the concept’s dash display has been replaced with a more familiar rectangle design, and the Mazda3’s jet fighter-inspired head-up display can also be seen above the instrument cluster.
Chrome and piano black highlights, along with contrast stitching to the sports seats, round out the new upmarket look.
Mazda's new hatch is built on the company's own unique SkyActiv architecture, stepping away from the underpinnings that the previous model shared, in part, with Ford's compact Fiesta.
It has been reported that the new 2's chassis is a new version of the SkyActiv platform, either different or dramatically revised to the architecture beneath the new Mazda3 and CX-5.
A kerb weight below 1000kg has been reported, but Mazda has yet to confirm figures.
The new model also gets a more cost-effective twist-beam rear axle design, rather than the multi-link arrangement of the new 3.
The new Mazda2 rides on an 80mm longer wheelbase, now measuring 2570mm, and overall length has grown by 160mm to 4060mm.
Height has grown 25mm to 1050mm, but width remains unchanged at 1695mm.
Australian specifications for the new Mazda2 are still to be confirmed, although it is known that some markets will be offered the company’s new 1.5 litre SkyActiv-D diesel engine.
Power in the compact diesel is listed at 77kW at 4000rpm and 250Nm between 1500 and 2500rpm.
Like Mazda’s larger 2.2 litre diesel, the Euro 6-compliant 1.5 litre unit boasts a low compression ratio - 14.8:1 in this case.
The direct-injected four-cylinder engine features a 76mm bore and 82.5mm stroke. There’s also a variable-geometry turbo with rotation sensor and a liquid-cooled intercooler integrated with the intake mainfold.
The company's 73kW 1.5 litre SkyActiv petrol engine will also feature, and it's this engine we can expect to see in Australian-delivered models.
Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions will be offered with the new engines.
Along with its SkyActiv engines, the new Mazda2 also features the company's SkyActiv construction technologies and its new i-ActivSense collision avoidance systems.
Details of the new Mazda2's local specifications will surface in the coming months, as we move closer to an Australian debut set to occur in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Year-to-date, the current Mazda2 has notched up 6616 sales, compared to 7736 for the i20, 6573 for the Yaris and 4506 for the Swift.