The skinny: The handsome, and well finished Mazda2 hatch has grown a longer rump to become the Mazda2 sedan. Unlike its short-lived predecessor though, a more integrated look gives it a strong showing in the style stakes.
With a solid dynamic starting point, the new Mazda2 sedan stands a very real chance of breathing some life into the light sedan segment.
Vehicle Style: Light sedan
Price: $14,990 (Neo manual) to $19690 (Maxx automatic)
- Neo 79kW/139Nm 1.5 petrol 4cyl | 6spd manual / 6spd automatic
- Maxx 81kw/141Nm 1.5 petrol 4cyl | 6spd manual / 6spd automatic
Fuel Economy claimed:
- Neo 5.4 manual/5.5 automatic l/100km
- Maxx 5.2 manual/4.9 automatic l/100km
From the front you’d struggle to pick it as anything other than a Mazda2. From the side, the difference is clear - this one has a longer cargo bay attached to its derrière.
This time however, Mazda has worked hard to keep the balanced flow of the existing Mazda2 hatch, and the results are better balanced.
On the inside it’s business as usual. The driver-centric dash remains, and there are some trim changes, but otherwise this is Mazda2 through and through.
And that’s no bad thing at all, particularly for anyone after a big boot in a small footprint.
- Neo: Power windows, cloth seat trim in black and blue, trip computer, cruise control, air conditioning, rear park sensors, push-button start, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth phone and audio, USB and aux-in, AM/FM/CD player with four speakers, 15-inch steel wheels.
- Maxx adds: leather wrapped steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake, unique cloth trim, reverse camera, seven-inch MZD connect touchscreen with rotary controller, internet radio integration, six speakers, 15-inch alloy wheels.
- Luggage capacity: 440 litres
In the Neo, the Mazda2 sedan keeps it simple, with handsome black and red cloth trim and a mostly dark dashboard. The layout is simple, and easy to get used to.
Step into the Maxx and Mazda’s clever MZD Connect touchscreen and scroll wheel interface can be found. It’s been added to the Maxx hatch too, as part of a running change to the range.
There’s a few more highlights inside the Maxx, red decor trims on the dash, extra brightwork here and there, and the very obvious screen in the middle.
The pattern on the seat trim is a little more sedate than what you’ll find in the hatch, and the red interior option isn’t available. Nevertheless, it’s a well turned out interior.
As per the hatch, front and rear space carries over, that means that the driver and front passenger get a very healthy range of adjustment. It also means the rear seat isn’t as generous as it could be, however it’s still just fine for most occasions.
And the boot? It holds a very impressive 440 litres, which makes it even bigger than the 408 litre boot on the larger Mazda3.
ON THE ROAD
- Neo: 79kW/139Nm 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated petrol inline four
- Maxx: 81kW/141Nm 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated petrol inline four.
- 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
- MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear suspension
- Disc brakes front, drum brakes rear
- Electric power steering
As with the hatch range, the Mazda2 sedan brings a choice of two engine outputs. Neo models arrive with a 1.5 litre naturally aspirated petrol four cylinder engine that makes 79kW at 6000rpm and 139Nm at 4000rpm.
Step into the Maxx and the high output 1.5 litre engine musters 81kW and 141Nm at the same rev points. Both engines are available with a six-speed manual, or six-speed automatic transmission.
With the Mazda2’s city-based buyers in mind, the launch route for the sedan saw us ducking in and out of the city of Adelaide, with a quick run through the hills for good measure.
From behind the wheel, there’s little to separate the sedan from its five-door counterpart.
Jostling with evening peak hour traffic saw the Mazda2 well and truly able to keep at the head of the flow.
Both engines have the required zing to move away from traffic lights smartly. As an added bonus they also sound unexpectedly enthusiastic from about 3000rpm onwards.
Opt for the manual transmission and you’ll find one of the nicest manuals in the light car class. The gear lever moves cleanly through its gate, while the clutch has a positive feeling take-up point, and a solid, but not heavy feel.
Those who prefer an automatic don’t miss out either. Trundling around town the auto is smooth, relaxed, and incredibly well-sorted.
Ask for more and it will push on with zest too. There’s a selectable sport mode that brings later gearshifts and more eager kickdowns - opting for the auto brings no penalty over the manual.
With two people on board the ride feels nicely balanced. In the city the Mazda2 can take patched tarmac, rapid-fire catseyes, and speed humps in its stride without upsetting occupants.
Take the Mazda2 out of town, and as the speed increases so does the handling verve. The combination of level cornering and eager steering really makes the 2 shine amongst its competitors, and all the while, the ride stays friendly-feeling.
Unfortunately adding a bigger boot hasn’t helped keep tyre noise out of the cabin, a sore point both the Mazda2 hatch and sedan. While it is quieter than the previous model, it’s the one area some competitors have the Mazda2 beat.
ANCAP rating: The Mazda2 (hatch or sedan) has yet to be tested by ANCAP.
Safety features: Stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD, brake assist and six airbags (front, front side, full-length curtain) are standard across the Mazda2 range. Reverse sensors have also been added across the range, and Maxx models come with a standard reversing camera, or as a dealer-fitted accessory for Neo
Smart City Brake Support is available as a $400 option on all models in the range.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
Unlike the bustling hatchback scene, things are a little more quiet when it comes to light sedans.
Toyota’s Yaris is showing its age, the Holden Barina offers great infotainment as standard, While the Honda City makes clever use of its interior space.
The Mitsubishi Mirage sedan is also classed as a light car, despite being based on the sub-light Mirage hatch - the smaller underpinnings, and class-below interior really show however.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Like a light car, like a big boot, like a bit of style in the mix too? Then 2 may just be your lucky number.
Mazda’s internal goal with the Mazda2 was ‘segment leading style’ and that applies regardless of body style. Building on an already thoroughly well-developed base, this new variant should find plenty of homes with buyers looking to utilise the extra boot space.
While it will never surpass the five-door model in the hatch-centric Australian market, it should sit comfortably in the Mazda range and add incremental sales.
And if you’re in the market for a nimble little hatch, why not take a look at the Mazda2 sedan? With no price penalty over the hatch and a far bigger boot, it could be the perfect fit you never knew you needed.