THE Mazda2 may offer a slimmed-down range these days but that doesn’t mean a slimmed-down dose of appeal.
This is still one of the best small cars to drive, the range these days based around 1.3-litre petrol power, with the additional option of an automatic variant.
This model first arrived in the UK in 2003 as essentially a re-badged Ford Fusion but the second generation version that arrived here in 2007 was much more its own car, even though it shared much with Ford’s Fiesta supermini under the skin.
From the start, the car’s sharp handling won admirers, thanks to Mazda’s use of ultra-light yet strong steels.
To improve things further, the bodyshell was stiffened in 2011 to give even better road holding and ride comfort.
A bit more “zoom zoom” if you like.
Under the bonnet, buyers will find an upgraded Euro 5-compliant powertrain line-up.
Today’s range is based around a 1.3-litre petrol unit, offered with either 75 or 84PS, plus there’s also an automatic version if you want it.
So does it zoom zoom? Well yes, up to a point. The high-mounted gear lever shifts neatly and the whole car feels handy and light on its feet.
It never feels unstable and the steering's quick acting. Performance-wise, the 75PS 1.3 will cover the 0-62mph dash in 14.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 104mph. The 84PS 1.3 by comparison is of course sprightlier and will do 0-62mph in 13.6 seconds and keep going to a top speed of 106mph.
If your experience of Mazda2 motoring is limited to the original version of this car, on the road, you should notice the benefits of the package of changes introduced in 2011. These included a stiffer bodyshell which, along with revised rear dampers and tweaked front suspension geometry, has improved the handling.
The exterior styling looks classy and dynamic thanks to a package of aesthetic changes introduced in 2011.
These included a smarter nose, revised front fog lamp bezels and more striking wheels.