Access was also praised thanks to the wide-opening doors, low sills and generous head and legroom as well as clear and logically laid-out controls and good visibility.
Mazda2 is available with four engine options of 1.25, 1.4, 1.6 petrol and a 1.4-litre common rail diesel engine and four specification levels, S, TS, TS2 and Sport. In addition, a new Auto Shift Manual transmission (ASM) provides a choice between clutchless manual gearshifts or a full automatic mode and is available on both the 1.4-litre petrol and diesel versions with prices starting from £9,295 (including a customer saving of £705 until 20 December 2003). ASM combines the advantages of an automatic transmission with the flexibility and low fuel consumption of a manual transmission.
The Mazda2 is outstandingly frugal in both petrol and diesel variants. Lively 1.25-litre 75 ps, 1.4-litre 80 ps or 1.6-litre 100 ps four cylinder 16-valve petrol engines with manual transmission return 44.8 mpg, 43.5 mpg and 39.8 mpg respectively on the official Combined cycle.
The 1.4-litre diesel engine has a power output of 68 ps at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 160 Nm at 2,000 rpm whilst returning 62.8mpg (Combined cycle). Auto Shift Manual models return the same Combined fuel consumption as normal manual transmission models.
Standard features such as multi-adjustable driver’s seat, steering wheel height adjust, steering wheel mounted audio controls and power steering make the Mazda2 easy to control with minimum effort. In addition, its ride and handling characteristics ensure a level of driveability and comfort more usually associated with larger cars.
Inside, there is generous head and shoulder room. Ten innovative storage compartments make clever use of space for smaller items. For larger items, Mazda2 also possesses a luggage compartment that is unusually large for this class. With the rear seats folded down Mazda2 has a load capacity of 1,044-litres with a flat floor.