Locally, the Mazda2 is the brand's first foray into the highly competitive subcompact market; a market segment which has been dominated by Honda and Toyota for past few years. Building on the Zoom-Zoom experience, the dynamic styling of the Mazda2 hatchback is sure to attract attention. The design team headed by Ikuo Maeda was tasked to make a dynamic design which would create an impression of athletic movement from the compact base. The result is a solid form free from unnecessary ornamentation with most components being hidden away from normal view.
In the powertrain department, the 86 PS-rated 1.3-liter engines with Sequential Valve-Timing (S-VT) offer a good combination of power delivery and pulling power in Metropolitan stop-and-go traffic conditions. Despite the engine being economical in nature, it performs quite well. It has a good amount of low-end torque for daily city slicker duties and a decent top-end if you need to take out on the open road. Don't expect a lot of punch, as it still is a 1.3-liter.
What you can expect is good fuel efficiency. The consumption of the engine lies on the proper use of the powerband and torque range which is concentrated in the low to mid rev range. A 11-12 km/liter fuel consumption was achieved on mixed driving conditions with heavy traffic included.
The suspension is built with a MacPherson front setup and a rear torsion beam. Steering is aided by an electronic power assist system, not a very common feature in the class. The hatchback is quite nimble and is quick to maneuver when weaving through traffic; and it corners pretty well and goes where you point the wheel. Being a hatchback, this example of the Mazda2 is free of the extra rear overhang that its sedan brother has, giving it better cornering manners as well.
The cars strengths as a city car are obvious. Doing the daily commute to and from work is easy, and the versatility of the hatchback body and the variable interior configurations allow the Mazda to serve as a great car for out of town trips or runs to the supermarket. The rear seats fold down for maximum cargo space, at the expense of 3 rear passengers of course.
Being a base model, there is no unique feature that is of note. It has a decent sounding MP3 capable CD player. However, I really felt that it should have come with alloy wheels instead of steel rims with wheel covers. Nevertheless, being priced at a competitive Php689,000, the Mazda2 S variant is attractive choice for those who need a basic everyday commuter, yet offers fun driving characteristics on weekends. However, price being considered, it is in the shadow of its cousin, the Ford Fiesta... a car that offers quite a bit more at the same price.