It was every traveller’s nightmare. At the end of a glorious week’s holiday in Yarmouth, we had inadvertently left my granddaughter’s travelling bag behind.
When we got home, a pert little Mazda2 TS2 Activematic was sitting patiently on the drive, ready to take up the challenge of a late evening 200 mile round trip back to Norfolk to effect recovery of the errant item.
The car looked tiny and, what’s more mated a four-speed automatic gearbox to its modest 1.5-litre engine – but boy did it prove itself up to the challenge.
It turned out to be a real pocket rocket, effortlessly cracking 11 seconds for the 0-62 mph sprint and handling like a sportscar. Through twisting country lanes and long dual carriageway stretches alike it had no trouble keeping pace with the flow of bigger cars, with no attendant fuss.
It was Tardis-like too, with loads of interior space and a fair-size boot. Most impressive of all was the remarkable lack of both engine and wind noise. What had promised to be a painful journey quickly turned into a pleasure.
Much of the Mazda2’s remarkable agility is down to the Japanese manufacturer’s newly declared philosophy that “If the car is lighter, it will be more fun to drive.”
Consequently the engineers put the Mazda2 on a heavy diet, shaving a few grams at a time off each one of thousands of components for an overall weight loss of 100 kg.
Across the range there’s a choice of three and five-door hatchbacks and three diesel and one petrol drivetrain, with four generous equipment levels available and prices ranging from £9,995 to £14,455 on the road. A sporty Tamura version is available at £11,520.
My test car consumed a frugal 44.8 mpg when driven in an unhurried fashion. Even more impressive is the 67.3 mpg achieved by least thirsty of the 1.3 litre diesels.
New features across the entire upgraded Mazda2 range deliver significant improvements to interior comfort, ride quality, handling and refinement.
Outside, the Upgraded Mazda2 carries forward the company’s ‘exquisite and dynamic’ design concept while blending the brand’s family face’ with a larger five-point grille and larger Mazda badge to harmonise the Mazda2 with the whole product line-up. The revised Mazda2 features newly designed front fog lamp bezels and wheels to create a stronger sense of quality and sportiness.
Inside, the finishes and decorative parts are revised to create a higher quality feel throughout the cabin. Included are a newly designed instrument panel, new seat patterns and seat fabric colours, and a meter panel with blackout finish dials and chrome rings, while the centre stack is finished in piano black.
Road holding and ride comfort have been improved thanks to a stiffer bodyshell, changes to the front suspension geometry, softer mountings for the rear trailing arms and re-tuned rear dampers.
Mazda2 equipment levels have always been unusually generous for a supermini. Now with the upgraded line-up, every model comes with remote central locking, air-conditioning, electric front windows, electric door mirrors, a piano black centre stack, CD radio with auxiliary jack and a Thatcham Category 1 alarm.
Moving up the range, TS2 models feature 15-inch alloy wheels, side and curtain airbags, leather steering wheel with audio controls, two additional audio speakers, 60/40 split rear seats, trip computer with speed alarm and – on the automatic – Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).
The new Tamura model adds 16-inch alloy wheels and a sports styling kit with side skirts, rear spoiler and four-lamp headlights to the TS2 features.
Sport models also feature 16-inch alloy wheels, plus sports seat trim, front fog lights, auto-lights and auto-wipers, cruise control, automatic climate control air-conditioning and DSC plus rear electric windows on the five-door.
The net result is a car that fully lives up to Mazda’ increasingly credible ‘Zoom Zoom’ slogan.