Anyone trying out the new Mazda2 is in for a bit of a shock.
For even though it comes into what is generally known as the Supemini category this car is anything but mini – super or otherwise.
It has grown dramatically in size over its predecessor, which means not only do passengers get far more space but the extra length means a far nicer, more stable ride.
The new car is 140mm longer than the model it replaces and 20mm higher. Combine that with moving the front axle forward by 80mm and you have a car which offers a lot more comfort.
In designing this, the fourth generation Mazda2, the company has also gone for a far more dramatic image, in keeping with other models in it’s stable.
The now corporate face with its “wing” grille and predator-like headlights not only give it more road presence but make it instantly recognisable as a Mazda.
Dramatic creases in the metal also give it a more stunning appearance although the rear aspect is a lot less dramatic.
Inside, the dashboard is dominated by a 7-inch colour screen which is used for the satellite navigation system as well as other on-board features like
the radio controls and in-car set-up, all of which are managed by a control knob near the gear shift.
My test car was powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. And while I often find that automatic gearboxes and smaller engined cars don’t go together too well the Mazda2 is super smooth, responsive to kickdown and still good on economy.
In fact the auto box added even more refinement to an already very quiet, smooth running car which always felt as if it had a larger engine under the bonnet, particularly when cruising at high speed on the motorway.
There is the option to drive this car using the gearbox manually but it was so good I rarely used it. And alongside the gearshift is a button to call up sport mode if you want livelier performance at any time.
The MAZDA2 offers a comfortable yet slightly sporty ride but while it feels well planted I found the steering a little light for my taste. The one benefit of that, however, was the superb manoeuvrability and nimbleness of this car with one of the best turning circles I have come across in a long time. A boon in multi-storey car parks.
Standard features on my car included 15-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio, lane departure warning system, cruise control, adjustable speed limiter, electric windows front and rear and the ability to connect to the outside world via a smartphone for those who can’t live without the internet – even on the highway.
When it comes to boot space this car is very practical, offering some 280 litres of space with the 60/40 split rear seat backs up and 950 litres with them lowered.
So if you are looking for a practical super-mini that defies super-mini proportions the Mazda2 is certainly worth a test drive.
Model: Mazda2 SE-L Nav Auto
Mechanical: 4 cyl, 1496cc 90 bhp petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox.
Max speed: 110 mph
0-62mph: 12.0 secs
Combined mpg: 58.9
Insurance group: 15E
CO2 emissions: 112 g/km
Warranty: Three years/60,000miles