Driving the Mazda2 – The 7 Year Itch

A seven year period seems to be one of great relevance. For example, my son has just turned seven and appears to know EVERYTHING, You get 7 years bad luck should you break a mirror, a dog ages 7 years to 1 human year, then of course there is that 7 year itch, not just an outstanding 1955 comedy with silver screen goddess Marilyn Monroe but the psychological term that suggests your happiness in a relationship wanes after seven years (or less according to some people I know!),

Anyway, Seven years became relevant for me when reviewing the latest version of the Mazda2, as we have a 2010/11 version in the family and it would appear that much has changed in the years between the two models.

Mazda NZ handed me the keyfob to the petrol 1.5L LTD version in Dynamic blue mica and it’s quite the looker. The smiling face (the new Mazda grille) offers instant appeal especially underlined with chrome. Stronger more defined lines gives the compact car more character and the 16” silver machined alloys are sure to grab your attention.

The Mazda2 has grown in  size over the past 7 years (haven’t we all) it’s longer (now a shade over 4m) and marginally taller (I wish) but unlike me, its width has remained the same (1.65m), the result gives a little more room inside for the passengers and the keeps the boot vast (280L) for such a small mini/hatch. While on the subject of the interior, there has been a lot of changes there too. The LTD sports leather/suede seats and a more upmarket feel to the finishing. The HUD (head up display) comes via a pop up screen and the infotainment screen is now dash mounted and works (our family member is an imported version – and has all the ‘fun’ that comes along with it). The gear lever has moved to a more natural centre console position and makes the dash less cluttered.

The 1.5L 16v engine is much stronger than the families 3rd gen. 81kW/141Nm may not sound earth shattering but bare in mind this is not a big or heavy car, so there’s plenty enough to keep you whizzing around the town – there’s even a sport setting should you be feeling brave (ok; so more frisky than brave – but still). The Mazda2 sips fuel at a ridiculously slow rate, it’s reported to be 4.9L/100k’s but in real world driving it appears to be even better, it’s seriously hard to make the needle move. It’s nimble on its feet but strong enough not to get blown around in heavy gusts on the Harbour Bridge.

The differences between third and fourth generation Madza2’s in expansive and stretches from the cosmetic to the core and beyond; with the latest evolution sporting GVC (G-Vectoring Control). It’s fair to say that I am a big fan of Mazda’s GVC, when it comes to their SUV’s this smart handling system offers increased cornering confidence and reduced passenger discomfort (for all those motion sickness people out there). Putting it into a vehicle this size just accentuates its impressiveness – leaving the previous model in it’s wake in an old vs new test.


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