One in every three cars sold in the UK is a B-segment car or "Supermini", so Mazda had to develop a car to replace the Demio that would challenge the class leaders in terms of specification, driving dynamics, value and handling.

With the new Mazda2, the company has entered the second phase of its model renewal programme, following the Mazda6. The third phase comes later this year with the launch of the Mazda RX-8 sports car. And an amazing year for Mazda will conclude with the replacement to the 323, due early in 2004. The Mazda MX-Sportif, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, gives a clue to what the 323 replacement will look like.

The Mazda2 is available with four engine options 1.25, 1.4, 1.6 petrol and a 1.4 MZ-CD common-rail diesel engine with four specification levels, S, TS, TS2 and Sport. The Mazda2 goes on sale in the UK at the end of March priced between £8,760 and £11,995.

Until June the Mazda2 is offered with one year's free insurance on all TS2 models and the 1.6 Sport, which also includes a free of charge accessory tailgate spoiler. The Mazda2 TS models are offered with free 5-spoke 14" alloy wheels and Mazda2 1.25S customers will benefit from a £265 customer saving bringing the on-the-road price down to just £8,495.

Mazda2 features bold exterior styling, picking up on many of the family features first seen on the Mazda6. There are a few particular stylistic touches worth pointing out, like the front spoiler with large air intakes and the original rear end design, dominated by the hatch which reaches down low into the bumper area to give estate-like ease of loading.

continues... | Part Two

Published : 30/03/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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