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Sunday, March 27, 2022

Review: 2022 Mazda2 1.5 Premium


The sub-compact car segment is typically filled with choices that fulfill the needs, but not exactly the wants of car buyers. They looked at as basic transportation so the criteria to succeed aren’t exactly long. One brand, however, is looking at the segment in a different light. Thanks to its upmarket push, Mazda is pitting its Mazda2 in the segment not for volume, as its competitors all do, but for presence. Free from the shackles of sales projections, it has allowed them to reposition their small hatchback (yes, it’s just available with one body style now) to become a style leader.

In terms of age, the current Mazda2 is considered as the elder in the sub-compact car class. Yet, despite the basic foundations being seven years old, tweaks and revamps have managed to turn back time. Two years ago brought a major refresh, and with it came the brand’s “Evolved Kodo” design. The new front clip didn’t really jive well with the sedan, but they do seem to work on the hatchback. For 2022, it goes a step further by adding high-gloss black 16-inch alloy wheels and the availability of Mazda’s newest trademark color: Platinum Quartz Metallic. It’s a tricky hue to shoot based on lighting conditions, so photos don’t do it justice. It is a looker though, especially the way it plays with light and shadow.



Compared to newer members of the Mazda family, the Mazda2 is starting to show its age inside. Yet, it continues to appeal to commonsense with everything exactly where the driver expects it to be. Typically, sub-compact cars sacrifice ergonomics, particularly with the positioning of pedal box because of packaging, but not here. The pedals line up well with the driver’s seat for a truly comfortable driving position. Electric seat adjustment isn’t available, but the 6-way manual adjustment and tilt/telescopic wheel adjustment allows anyone to find a good posture.

The driver is greeted with dials with a center-mounted tach and digital speedometer. It’s easy to read and decipher, if a bit pixel-starved. For 2022, the heads-up display returns and now features a full-color display. However, the information’s not projected on the windshield, but on a little plastic pane set atop the dash. As with other Mazdas, the Mazda2’s infotainment system is of a free-standing tablet-like design. The basic OS looks the same as before, but hides nifty (and segment-first) features such as wireless Apple CarPlay. Sensible too that wireless device charging comes standard, but for those who prefer to juice up (or connect) the old-fashioned way, there are USB ports located in front of the shifter.



Functionally ergonomic as the cabin is, Mazda continues to push the edge when it comes to interior color and texture. In the Mazda2, they masterfully play with the senses to create a refreshingly unique interior. This one has seats covered in blue leather with white piping and stitching, and black Ultrasuede inserts. The same blue leather is found on the dashboard and front knee pads, while the round AC vents have the white accent rings, and the door trims also have the black Ultrasuede. Even the oh-so-typical piano black trim has been given a twist with a knurled texture. It’s different and nice.

In terms of space, there’s no escaping the fact that the Mazda2 is tight. Front space is plenty for two typically-sized adults, although heftier passengers won’t find the experience to be as forgiving. There’s not much in way of shoulder space that Mazda couldn’t even fit a proper front arm rest or storage bin. Things take a turn for the worst at the back where two adults would be the maximum limit. Even then, some passengers may find their knees scraping against the seat backs especially if the ones seated at the front are long-legged. Luggage space isn’t a strong suit either because of the high lip and small hatch aperture. With the rear seats up, there’s only a paltry 280 liters of space, enough for just a couple of overnight bags or knapsacks.



The Mazda2 may not be the most practical choice in the sub-compact segment, but it does continue to stand out in one aspect: the drive. Admittedly, the 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine doesn’t produce headline grabbing figures, but in reality, it has been tuned to deliver a sense of linearity and engagement typically absent from others in this class. Progression is smooth, predictable, and quick, especially in the confines of the city. The close-ratio gearing of the 6-speed automatic makes it quite zippy and entertaining. Fuel economy is also pretty stellar, going up as high as 16.4 km/L in light urban traffic before settling to 11.6 km/L in mixed conditions.

On the open road, drivers can enjoy extra oomph thanks to a toggle switch located just below the shifter. Labeled, “Sport”, it increases the throttle sensitivity and keeps the revs up. It’s almost unnecessary though because the standard flappy paddles provide the extra kick if necessary. Take note though that despite the better equipment levels, cruise control still isn’t available.



Besides the powertrain, the chassis tuning is equally stellar. It drives like a bigger car not because it lacks agility or maneuverability, but in that it doesn’t compromise long distance comfort or high-speed stability. The steering, for instance, gives a predictable motion that removes the need to seesaw the wheel especially during hard cornering. The suspension is firm, but is able to absorb potholes and road cracks with ease even with the tire pressure pumped up to the recommended 36 PSI. And even the brakes are a part of the class act offering excellent modulation with a solid pedal feel and confident stopping power.

Two years ago, the biggest complaint levied against the Mazda2 was that it didn’t fit in with the entire “Mazda Premium” push. At the time, the lack of standard features made it clear that Mazda was spec-ing it to meet a target price. This time around, they’ve managed to turn things around it make it a more complete package. The only genuine complaint is the lack of cruise control, but everything else is there from the blue/black leather seats and to a complete set of safety features such as 6 SRS airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control, and rear parking sensors with reverse camera. It also gets i-Activsense which bundles autonomous emergency braking (Smart City Brake Support), lane departure warning (no lane keep assist, though), drive attention alert, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert.



Priced at P 1,195,000, the 2022 Mazda2 is even more expensive than its most direct competitor, the Honda City RS Hatchback. However, with the added equipment as well as the standard 5-year free service plan, Mazda Philippines says owners effectively gain back a total of P 130,000.

Seven years on, the Mazda2’s greatest strength has always been in that it’s relatable to both enthusiast and consumer alike. It’s not vying to be the most practical sub-compact car, but rather, it’s all about democratizing style and driving fun. This hatchback isn’t for everyone, but it rewards those who actually choose a car that’s more heart over mind. In the end, it’s more of an emotional rather than rational choice and that makes it all the more unique.

2022 Mazda2 1.5 Premium

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Ownership 2022 Mazda2 1.5 Premium
Year Introduced 2015 (Refreshed: 2017, 2020, 2022)
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact Hatchback
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Hatchback
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 110 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 141 @ 4,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control No
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 11.6 km/L @ 22 km/h,
16.4 km/L @ 46 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,065
Width (mm) 1,695
Height (mm) 1,524
Wheelbase (mm) 2,570
Curb Weight (kg) 1,037
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Parking Brake Manual
Tires Dunlop Enasave EC300+ 185/60 R 16 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Rear
Parking Camera Yes, Rear
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-plt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Pre-Collision Braking
Lane Departure Warning
Driver Attention Monitor
Blindspot Monitoring
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps No
Auto Lights No
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) 6-way, Manual
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) 4-way Manual
Seating Surface Leather/Ultrasuede
Folding Rear Seat 60/40
Sunroof No
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto-dimming
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay (Wireless/Wired)
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes

12 comments:

  1. I think the major reason why they discontinued the Mazda 2 Sedan is that, if they put the same features as of this Premium hatchback variant, the price of the sedan might end up a bit close with the lower Mazda 3 variants—and probably, they're trying to refocus to their Mazda 3 sedans. Lower sales for the Mazda 2 sedan version might also be a reason.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're actually rationalizing their line-up now. With the Mazda3 moving upmarket (cheapest is now P 1.495 million), they could have chosen to bring in the Mazda2 sedan back for 2022. Thankfully, they didn't. Given how everyone else competes in the sub-compact segment, Mazda realized they can't compete...the Mazda2 is still there for presence more than anything. And yes, they're focusing on their Mazda3 now.

      Delete
    2. Yes they're realigning themselves as a "premium brand" now, hence the exorbitant prices. (And we all knew where they're going.)


      With their recently announced new platform for future vehicles, they're eyeing to compete even against luxury manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. It'll only be a matter of time before Mazda consider themselves from "premium brand" into a luxury brand.

      Delete
  2. How are the sales of the Mazda2 compared to the other vehicles in the Mazda Ph lineup? Is this still a viable model for the company?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mazda2 is just there for presence, but it's not even part of their top three best-selling vehicles locally which are the Mazda CX-5, CX-8, and Mazda3 (based on 2021 figures).

      Delete
  3. This 3rd gen Mazda is already 8 years old already... Mazda is selling us old cars based on old platforms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't the current vios still based on the old platform too?

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    2. You are correct. The current Vios has a platform that can be dated as far back as 2013. It's also still based off the first-gen model that launched in 2002.

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    3. Vios is marketed and sold as an every man's car while the Mazda is sold and marketed as premium so there is no excuse for using an old platform. Looks old already and hard to justify its price

      Delete
    4. Isn't the new Lexus IS350 based on the old platform too?

      Delete
  4. You should be so emo to fork out 1.2M for this

    ReplyDelete

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