Mazda 2 Tamura 1.3 petrol

By Tim Saunders

Who Stole My House? is a great children’s book that my little daughter and I enjoy reading together. It tells the story of a snail who takes off their shell to have a bath and then forgets where they’ve left it. A common problem, you can imagine.

Nature knows that the weight of a snail’s shell cannot be too heavy otherwise it would have disastrous consequences.

The same is true in car production and the engineers at Mazda have given it considerable thought with the Mazda 2, which weighs a tad over 1,000kg, almost 100kg lighter than Vauxhall’s Corsa.

That sack of spuds difference leads the manufacturer to claim that its 1.3-litre petrol five-door hatchback will return 56mpg as its lighter shell makes for a more efficient vehicle. All sounds good on paper and should mean that the 42 litre tank will see the car travel 500 miles.

A lighter body does mean that it feels a bit leaf-like in high winds or when a lorry overtakes. But overall it provides an enjoyable drive and its five-speed gearbox is smooth and decisive - among the best on the market.

Distinctive and attractive styling boosts the Mazda 2 package as you can in the video at testdrives.biz. It’s a good quality and well put together vehicle. But to me the rear wiper looks out of place and the rear washer could be better positioned as water seems to miss the wiper when cleaning the screen.

Inside, the interior is comfortable if a little drab and black but there is reasonable leg room for both front and rear passengers. Rear passengers get privacy glass and for the driver there’s a useful left foot rest. The seats are comfy and the dashboard is well designed and easy to navigate. The stereo speakers seem to be of high quality picking up instruments that I was unaware of in my favourite tunes. I like the design of the glove box, too. The electrically folding wing mirrors prove particularly useful during a long traffic jam where I can only fit into my chosen lane by folding the mirrors to get past a van. It works a treat.

Parkers, the car experts, say: “The Mazda 2 introduced the world to the Japanese firm’s belief that light weight was every bit as important in the fight against emissions and fuel consumption. The philosophy of Mazda with the 2 is to make every component as light as possible.”

Despite my best efforts I have only experienced 49mpg when travelling at a constant 50mph. Travel at 70mph and this drops nearer to 40mpg. Although Mazda has shied away from incorporating engine start stop technology perhaps this would help improve efficiency as might fitting a six-speed gearbox and cruise control.

Mazda 2 1.3-litre Tamura (2012) five-door hatchback

New price range: £10,495 - £14,795

Economy: 46mpg

0-60mph: 13.2secs

Top speed: 106mph

Power: 82bhp

Fuel tank: 42 litres

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