Behind The Wheel: Mazda 2 Hatchback

The B-segment hatchback has always been a very competitive category in Malaysia’s automotive industry. Among the different cars within the segment, the Mazda 2 has been deemed a premium product due to its price. For 2020, the Mazda 2 received a mild facelift, and Mazda Malaysia has given us a chance to take a closer look at the updated Mazda 2.

At first glance, the shape of the Mazda 2 hatchback is retained from the pre-facelift car. Upon closer inspection, one can notice that the updated car comes a new front fascia that is dominated by the huge grille. Apart from that, some visual changes can be seen around the front and rear bumpers. For the final highlight about the exterior, the headlights are now wider which gives the front a fiercer look, while there are some minor visual differences made it into the tail lamps.

Stepping inside, you’ll be greeted by the familiar Mazda 2 interior. The only update that Mazda have given the otherwise minimalist Mazda 2 interior is the gift of Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Back to the driver seat, a bigger size individual like me do find the driver seat is on the tighter side, but getting comfortable is fairly easy as there are plenty of seat adjustment to get a comfortable seating position.

To get the Mazda 2 going, the 1.5L inline 4 engine produces about 114bhp at 6,000rpm and 149Nm of torque at 4,000rpm and the 6-speed automatic transmission has been brought forward from the pre-facelift car. When driving at low speed, the engine can feel lackluster as the lack of torque below 2,000rpm is quite prominent. This also created the abrupt downshifting to provide sufficient torque to get the car going, which makes driving slow some getting used to.

On the other hand, driving fast will make the engine in the Mazda 2 come alive. When the engine go above 2,500rpm, the engine felt rapid and energetic on acceleration. When you’re gunning it, you can feel the push from the seats even though this is a naturally aspirated 1.5L engine that the competitors couldn’t give. Apart from the low speed gear hunting, the 6 speed transmission do shift gears smoothly.

To complement the engine, the simple McPherson strut at the front and the rear torsion beam suspension setup is very well balanced. Even though its comfort base suspension, Mazda manage to add in a hint of sportiness into the suspension to keep the car planted through the corners. Working together with the electric power steering, the steering gives you plenty of confidence to chuck the Mazda 2 around the corners. It gives you go cart driving feel.

The 4 wheel disc brakes in the Mazda 2 slows the car down with ease. Weighing in at 1,097kg, the lack of weight also helps in making sure the brakes can work efficiently to slow down the car to avoid any unnecessary collision.  The thing that I could not wrap my head around is the bare basic safety system on the Mazda 2. Even though the basic safety system covers all the basic safety that meets our local standard with equipment like ABS, traction control, and 2 airbags, but some of the Mazda 2 competitors do give you more within this department.

For an asking price of RM 103,670, the Mazda 2 is quite expensive when you consider most of the buyer in this segment usually has a budget of around RM 80,000 to RM90,000. As a car enthusiast like me, take the safety system out of equation, I do feel that the Mazda 2 is a great hatchback for those who really enjoy driving. If your commute usually without passengers and you have passion in driving, the Mazda 2 will be the car for you.

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