New Mazda 2 Released
9th September, 2007
Lighter and stronger is the way Mazda sums up the new Mazda 2, a car which is Mazda's way of playing catch-up with the Suzuki Swift and others.
At $16,500 (RRP), the new Mazda 2 Neo is some $165 more than the superseded model.
New standard features include an anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), remote locking, driver’s seat height adjustment, a centre rear headrestraint and an AUX jack that enables any MP3 player (including iPod®) to be played through the car’s stereo.
Air conditioning, power windows and mirrors and an MP3 compatible CD player with four speakers are also part of the package.
The new Mazda 2 becomes the first Mazda and the first Japanese model in the light car class available with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) across all models. DSC is a state-of-the-art automated anti-skid system that helps prevent front or rear wheel slides.
New Mazda 2 is also available in Maxx grade which adds 15 inch alloy wheels, six-disc CD player, steering wheel mounted audio controls and a rear spoiler. It is priced from $18,710 (RRP).
Boasting a body kit, the range-topping Genki model now comes with 16 inch alloys, unique seat trim, six airbags, leather-trimmed steering wheel and front fog lamps. It is priced from $20,845 (RRP).
Style is the number one reason for purchase in the so-called Light or B car segment and when it comes to looks the new Mazda 2 is a radical departure from the boxy shape of the car launched back in late 2002.
The new Mazda 2 was penned by Ikuo Maeda – the man responsible for the RX-8 and whose father designed the original RX-7.
The guards and the steeply sloping shoulder line are just two elements that ensure the new Mazda 2 looks looks like its moving even when it’s standing still.
This aggressive look also brings practical benefits. With the beltline descending towards the front of the car – it is 40 mm lower than the outgoing model – and together with a lower positioning of the side mirrors means increased visibility diagonally to the front and down. This results in increased safety when driving on narrow roads and turning at intersections, where pedestrians could cross the road.
Inside, the cabin was designed to be a space that communicates movement. Unlike interiors with flat surfaces, the architecture selected combines confidence-inspiring solidity with strong visual movement.
By emphasising the horizontal plane, a subjectively large spatial feel is achieved. The contrast between silver accents and an otherwise dark background, along with many round elements, add sportiness and individuality to the cockpit.
The new cabin layout also aids driving enjoyment with the gearbox shift lever integrated into the centre console and mounted 38 mm higher and therefore closer to the driver.
The car’s new shape is more aerodynamic than before benefiting both fuel economy and wind noise. General noise intrusion into the cabin has been one area where Mazda 2 programme manager Shigeo Mizuno and his team have worked hard to improve.
Driver fatigue has been reduced with wind and road noise significantly less than that produced by the outgoing model. On a coarse road surface noise inside the new Mazda 2 is a significant 2.3 decibels lower than the superseded car.
Overall the new Mazda 2 is a little smaller with 41 mm cut from its length (now 3,885 mm), 65 mm from its height, although the wheelbase stays the same (2,490 mm) and width has increased a little (15 mm). However, interior space for people and cargo remains very competitive.
This downsizing helped Mazda cut 100 kg from the first generation Mazda 2’s chassis. The car’s improved standard feature list means that Australian Neo models are about 60 kg lighter than before.
The new Mazda 2’s shorter dimensions contribute just 40 kg to the 100 kg weight reduction. To further reduce flab and therefore improve fuel consumption and performance, the Mazda 2 team had to get clever, looking to the MX-5 and its weight saving “gramme strategy” for inspiration.
The “gramme strategy” ensures that every aspect of the car was checked for excess. That attention to detail meant shaving 0.69 kg from the bonnet by making the latch smaller and its hinges thinner.
There are many examples of how weight was trimmed, however the single biggest gain was in the body shell, which was slimmed by 22 kg to 215 kg.
The Mazda 2’s body may be lighter but it’s also stronger, being the first Mazda to use new generation ultra high-tensile steel, while the proportion of high-tensile steel has jumped from just 5 per cent in the superseded car to 31 per cent.
More rigid than before, the Mazda 2’s body benefits from localised stiffening such as around the suspension towers. These focused stiffening techniques ensure maximum benefit with minimal weight penalty. Benefits include better handling, improved NVH and a stronger passenger safety cell.
All Mazda 2 models now comply with the Euro Stage 4 emission regulations and are powered by a 1.5-litre MZR engine that features Sequential Valve Timing (S-VT) to boost cylinder charging efficiency and Tumble Swirl Control Valves in the intake manifold that optimise the air/fuel ratio to promote combustion stability.
The engine develops 76 kW at 6,000 rpm (EEC) and 137 Nm at 4,000 rpm (EEC) and with reduced friction losses and the lower body weight, combines to reduce fuel consumption and therefore C02 emissions. The new Mazda 2 also promises to be quicker than the outgoing model.
The new Mazda 2 uses an average of 6.4L/100km on the ADR 81/01 cycle compared with 6.6L/100km on the outgoing model, while automatic transmission versions now average 6.8L/100km compared with 7.0L/100km previously.
Drive the 1.5-litre Mazda 2 and those carefully chosen stiffening techniques and the lighter body are obvious, which says more about the old car than it does about the new car!
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