Vince Pornelos / Vince Pornelos | June 15, 2010 11:36
Baby's got backIf you found the Mazda2 hatch a little too small when it comes to trunk space, Mazda Philippines now has the sedan version of their subcompact on offer, promising more space with the fun factor and handling that the brand has been known for.
So how does it stack up?
For starters, it features the same cheerful exterior and interior with the Mazda family face up and the 5 point grille. I still think the hatch looks better, but the sedan is every bit the sporty, friendly car that the hatch is.
With the addition of a trunk, the new Mazda2 affords quite a bit more cargo space. Where the hatch is capable of 250 liters of trunk space with the rear seat up, the sedan gets 450 liters for a 200 liter improvement over the hatch. If the rear seats are folded down, you get a longer compartment, though the hatch's configuration with the rear seats down can swallow bulkier cargo.
The sedan has the same 1.5 liter MZR engine under the hood. As far as power and torque are concerned, the engine produces 103 hp and 135 Newton-meters of torque; not exactly great, but definitely a great match for the car's mass and dimensions. Mated with the 4-speed automatic transmission, the Mazda2 sedan is very light and very easy to drive. More importantly, the powertrain yields good fuel economy figures, averaging 12.8 kilometers to the liter on mixed city and highway driving, with moderate to heavy traffic as well. Plenty of plus points so far for the new subcompact sedan.
The sedan is quite a comfortable car too, as like the hatch, there are high levels of silence and refinement even in our far less than perfect city streets. Sound suppression is very good, and the ride comfort is too, especially considering the 2's handling abilities.
But it''s not easy to just add a trunk and not mess up the vehicle's dynamics. When Mazda added the trunk, the wheelbase wasn't extended along with the extra 350mm of length, as such, the sedan version has a far longer rear overhang than the hatchback. The Mazda2 sedan's handling is close to the hatch, but on the limit the sedan is markedly twitchier, especially when under heavy braking.
A previous comment I had for the hatchback was the plasticky feel of the interior, and the same goes for the sedan, but that's a compromise that's quite common in this class of car. What's strange is the discomforting odor that emerges intermittently from the aircon system; the same smell that the Mazda2 hatch had when I tested it a few months ago, reminiscent of a dehumidifier on overdrive.
Regardless, for a price of PhP 785,000, the Mazda2 sedan is quite good value for the class, given its style, design, handling, comfort an practicality. And in a highly competitive class of car with dominant players like the Vios or City, Mazda seems to have a worthy contender in the Mazda2 1.5R sedan.