I’ll freely admit, I have always been of the opinion that when it comes to the black art of precision automotive engineering the Germans and Italians pretty much set the standards for the rest of the world to follow. It’s fair to conclude then that jumping into a Japanese budget supermini from the power dense Teutonic weapon that is the Mercedes-AMG A 45, my expectations weren’t exactly lofty. And just as soon as I am done chomping on a sizeable entrée made purely from my utterances and a garnish of my preconceived notions, I’ll tell you that the Mazda 2 is a cracking little thing.
Sure, it’s got everything you can reasonably expect in a car that costs around Dh50K, however, unlike its rivals it brings genuinely superb driving dynamics to the table. Inputs to the steering translate into decisive actions rather than vague suggestions in relation to your direction of travel. The engine, despite its diminutive capacity, is zingy and revs with unexpected enthusiasm, too. It is sort of like what hot hatches used to be in the early Eighties — just about enough power, and a capable and willing chassis. The 2 would be epic with a manual gearbox, I reckon.
Fuel economy is genuinely impressive as well. Especially given my insistence to drive everywhere at full tilt in Sport mode (yes it has one!). The figures are hovering around a very reasonable 7.5 litres per 100km. Although I’m sure a more reasonable human being would be able to achieve much better efficiency. On a more mundane note, I do have a few issues. Admittedly, I have only driven the car for a few days, and perhaps I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have, but I still haven’t been able to find the lock-unlock button — and before you point it out Captain Obvious, it’s not on the centre console or next to the window switches. Also, the lack of keyless entry is a bit of a pain, and not something I imagine I’ll get used to in a hurry.
You see, you’d never encounter such shortcomings in a German... hang on a minute. Er, more next week.
Week 2 The Mazda 2 rises to the occasion when dep. ed Sony has to help a buddy carry an unfeasible amount of cargo — albeit with the rear seats down.
Highs More carrying capacity than you’d expect.
Lows Rear-passenger room.
Week 1 The Mazda 2, which emerged the Best Compact at our annual awards with its mix of good looks, upmarket cabin and sprightly dynamics, joins the wheels long-term fleet.
Highs Arguably the best car in its price range.
Lows None so far.