Mazda 2. The car we hate to forget

Kelly wades into an exceptionally crowded B-segment car market and finds a gem

No really. It’s littered with firm favourites such as the Volkswagen Polo, the Ford Fiesta and the Toyota Yaris. Plus, there’s strong competition in the form of the Kia Rio and the Hyundai i20. With a market this crowded and hotly contested, it’s easy to forget that the Mazda2 even exists. But exist it does and it took only a few days living with one to remind me why I’ve always liked it. Here are some reasons why you should consider a Mazda2 as your b-segment runaround.

It still looks great
I remember reviewing the Mazda2 when it first landed in SA. It was a metallic green colour if I’m not mistaken. And I loved it. Not just because of the green colour, but because it offered something different from the norm at the time. And even though this new iteration has evolved since then, it keeps a lot of the personality that I fell for in the first place. There’s that distinctive large Mazda grille, sharp styling lines and it’s generally an attractive vehicle. When you take a look at what its top competitors are, the Mazda2 is definitely the better-looking option of the bunch.

It’s well-specced
In the Mazda2 you get a plethora of standard features. This includes Apple CarPlay and Android auto, a Bluetooth handsfree system across the range, while safety is taken care of in the form of LED headlamps, and side and curtain airbags. A reverse camera, rear parking sensors are fitted to the Individual model, while the top-of-the-range Hazumi model benefits from Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Other nice-to-haves include alloy wheels, an adjustable multifunction steering wheel, cruise control and a 7-inch touch screen.

It’s nice to drive
I get it – a cup of tea is nice. But that’s genuinely how I feel about the Mazda2. It’s not an exciting drive by any stretch of the imagination. But I enjoyed my experience driving the 1.5L auto. Full disclosure, at this point in my lazy driving life, I enjoy almost any automatic. The Mazda2 was genuinely (how many times can I say genuinely?) a pleasant drive though. I enjoyed the overall driving experience of it.

As mentioned, it’s powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine. This unit is the only one available across the range. It comes mated with a six-speed manual transmission on the Active, Dynamique and Individual. A six-speed auto is available on the latter two, while the top-of-the-range Hazumi only comes in auto. The power output is 85kW no matter which version you choose.

It’s good value for money
With so much on offer in this car across the range, there’s no denying that it’s good value-for-money. Also, it won’t cost a fortune to insure unlike at least one other car in this segment which is the most stolen car in South Africa (side-eyes the VW Polo). For added peace of mind, there is a 3-year unlimited kilometre service plan, 3-year factory warranty, a 3-year roadside assistance and a 5-year Corrosion Warranty all included in the sale of new Mazda2s.

Verdict
“Don’t you, forget about me!” That’s what I imagine this Mazda2 is blasting at us. This is a hotly contested segment in South Africa and I do believe the Mazda2 deserves to be a top seller here.

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