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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: February 2, 2011 @ 7:04 am

    A brief drive: Mazda2 1.3 Sport

    Michael McAleer

    This week we have been driving a car that is very much overlooked by a lot of critics, me included, and that is the Mazda2. The 2 has always been a very worthy little supermini – for a start it looks really good, is well built and we had always remarked that it has one of the best little chassis around. Because it is so lightweight, something Mazda worked hard to achieve in order to reduce emissions, this car gets the best out of its power.

    Overlooked: Mazda's excellent Mazda2

    This time around, the 2 has been given a very subtle facelift, one that even the most ardent of Mazda nerds would be hard pressed to point out, but the clever thing is that the 1.3-litre petrol engine is now that bit cleaner so this car now sits in motor tax band A.

    Sporty: Sport model gets smart wheels, rear spoiler and side skirts.

    While so many of us are all rushing out to buy cars with diesel engines, even if they are more expensive in a lot of cases, it is good to drive a perky petrol powered car which doesn’t negatively penalise you in terms of road tax.

    There are two power outputs in the Mazda2, with a choice of 75- or 84hp. We had the 84hp version and it really felt very lively. In fact, with this engine and the lightweight body it felt a little bit like a cut-price hot hatch because the car has really superb steering and you find yourself engaging in some rather spirited driving as a result. Mazda tell us that another improvement is that there have been changes to the front engine geometry, with softer mountings for the rear trailing arms and re-tuned rear dampers and this has made the ride quality a little better.

    Interior: well put together and good quality materials.

    The Sport model we were driving is really well equipped. You get 16” alloy wheels, rear spoiler, side skirts, front fog lights, climate control and a Sports interior trim and all this costs €16,595 or €13,595 if you are scrapping a ten year-old car. This is a cracking little car for very little money.

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