Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Stylish and Dynamic; the Perky Hatch Is a Hot Seller and It's Easy to See Why A[euro]" There's Plenty to like in a Small Package

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Stylish and Dynamic; the Perky Hatch Is a Hot Seller and It's Easy to See Why A[euro]" There's Plenty to like in a Small Package

Article excerpt

THINGS are rollicking along for Mazda in Australia. Almost 44,000 vehicles found new homes in the first six months of 2011 giving Mazda its best half year sales figures in this country.

That success gathered momentum over the back end with the Mazda2 and 3 in particular picking up the pace.

Despite the four-wheel drive gridlock found outside most schools each morning, smaller cars are growing in popularity with price and economy garnering interest from all sectors of the community.

The Mazda2 is an important cog in this push, claiming some 13 per cent of the light car segment.

Production had moved to Thailand last year but is now back in Japan at the main plant in Hiroshima.

The Mazda2 can seat four adults in relative comfort. Legroom at the back is pretty generous but the sloping roof is a tad inconvenient for taller passengers.

The front is more spacious although the rounded centre console does intrude on knee space.

Seats are small but comfortable and supportive with quality materials giving a sense of class.

Hard plastics abound but stylish touches and peppy trim softens the look. At 250-litres the boot is better than average for this class and will hold a small weekly shop. Of course the back seats can be dropped if you need a bit more room. Visibility out the back window is a little restricted.

On the road

The Mazda2 is a zippy little thing with the 1.5-litre engine a very willing soldier. Swift acceleration brings whiny revs but that settles down at cruising speed.

City driving is its forte and it loves being hustled along especially around corners.

Driving dynamics are good, understeer negligible and steering feel impressive. Suspension changes have made for a smoother ride but there is still a fair bit of road noise.

The Sport Mode is especially helpful on steep climbs when a bit more urging is needed. Although the four-speed auto gearbox is up to most tasks, one gets the feeling an additional gear wouldn't go astray. …

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