As a Volkswagen Golf driver and enthusiastic supporter of German engineering, I thought the Mazda 2 would struggle to make a positive impression on me. But I have to admit I am pleasantly surprised. Sure, the engine won’t win any high-performance awards, but nonetheless the car seems pretty well thought out and put together.

The drive is smooth, and both road and wind noise appear to be well controlled. Electronic gadgetry around the cabin is also comparable to vehicles that are way pricier than this little nipper. But if I had to complain about a few things, they would be the lack of armrest or elbow support between the front seats, and the driver’s footwell seems rather narrow, although surprisingly the foot controls don’t feel too cramped at all.

Oh, and as a photographer lugging lots of equipment around, I found boot space to be inadequate. But overall, this is a surprising little car that’s fun to drive.