Subcompact sedans are one of the sought after vehicles in the Philippine automotive market. Its size, along with a relatively fuel-efficient engine and reasonable price, makes it an attractive choice. In fact, in AutoDeal, subcompact sedans are among the top selling vehicles, accounting to 23.4% last June 2017.
With that, Mazda Philippines lent us the keys of the new Mazda2 V+ Sedan to take it out for a week-long date. Does it have what it takes to smash its rivals such as the Toyota Vios and the Honda City? Let’s find out.
At first glance, you might have a hard time spotting the differences between the new and the outgoing Mazda2 Sedan. You’re not alone and your eyes are just fine because its exterior is almost similar to its predecessor. Subtle design tweaks are integrated to the vehicle, which include restyled turn signals on the side mirrors and LED fog lights with chrome bezels. Other than that, this Mazda2 is as good-looking as ever courtesy of the brand’s KODO: Soul of Motion design.
The interior also gets minor design changes. Overall, the 2 has a black interior theme along with splashes of silver. I found the silver trims on the dashboard more ‘premium-looking’ as compared to the red accents of the outgoing model. Yes, the color red depicts sportiness but silver gives you class. I don’t know about you but I’ll go with class. Aside from the silver accents, it comes with a revamped steering wheel and a new carbon fiber on the dashboard, while the instrument cluster comes with a digital tachometer.
The Mazda2 Sedan also has paddle shifters, giving you the option to have a more engaging drive. In addition, this vehicle is ‘Anti-Distracted Driving Act-ready’ thanks to Mazda’s MZD Connect rotary knob, which is integrated with 5 surrounding buttons (Entertainment, Home, Navigation, Back, and Favorites) and volume dial.
The rotary knob allows the driver to easily control the 2’s infotainment system. The driver can tilt or turn the knob towards the desired function. Toggling the knob is seamless and it doesn’t lag, giving you precise movement whenever you want to switch radio stations, music, or adjust the volume. Moreover, this Mazda2 sedan has Bluetooth function.
Rear passengers are greeted with ample leg-, head-, and knee-room. It can accommodate 2 to 3 occupants provided that they are 5’5” individuals and averagely fit. The trunk space of the vehicle is also decent; you can load up to 3 regular gym bags plus more room for other luggage.
So, that’s just about it if your concern is the 2 Sedan’s aesthetics. However, don’t walk away just yet because the major improvement fitted to this vehicle can’t be seen but rather felt.
The new Mazda2 Sedan is now equipped with G-Vectoring Control (GVC), which is part of the brand’s series of vehicle dynamics control technology. Of note, the Mazda3, 6, and the all-new CX-5 comes with the same GVC tech. This enabled us to confidently tackle winding roads as it helps improve the 2 Sedan’s cornering response and stability by optimizing vertical load on each tire when needed. It also reduced the car’s body roll, yielding to a comfortable ride.
Under the hood, the Mazda2 Sedan V+ is still powered by a 1.5L SkyActiv-G engine that delivers 108 hp and 139 Nm of torque. Shifting is done via 6-speed automatic transmission with sport mode. In case you’re wondering, the 1.5L SkyActiv-G is a carry-over engine from the outgoing Mazda2 Sedan model.
The Mazda2 Sedan has no problem when it comes to city driving thanks to its light steering feel and agility. Driving through congested city streets and parking on tight spaces was not a problem. The rear view camera also provide a clear image of what’s behind the vehicle whenever you’re backing into a parking space. In terms of ride comfort, the vehicle can absorb road imperfections within reason. In terms of fuel economy, the Mazda2 Sedan registered 11 km/l during the city drive while running at around 40 km/h.
Out on the open highway, the Mazda2 sedan’s 1.5L engine delivered good performance. It has enough power and shifts smoothly with minimum lag, allowing you to overtake slower vehicles with good measure. The light steering wheel becomes firm when you start to increase the vehicle’s speed, which gives you more control. However, the road noise is a tad audible inside the cabin but that can be faulted to the econo tires that come as standard. They last longer but econo tires are a bit noisy. When the sport mode is engaged, the transmission will switch at higher, performance-oriented rpm, which makes the 2 Sedan an even more exciting machine to drive. Fuel economy-wise, the Mazda2 Sedan yielded 18 km/l while running at an average speed of 90 km/h (note: sport mode is not engaged during this run).
Overall, the Mazda2 Sedan may look almost the same as its predecessor but sometimes, unseen changes are better. In this case, Mazda integrated the 2 Sedan with the GVC tech, which makes your drive more enjoyable without compromising safety. Does it have what it takes to contend the local subcompact sedan segment? Well, we think it can. With its GVC tech, updated design, and competitive price tag, the Mazda2 poses a great threat to its rivals.