With the arrival of the all-new Mazda2, the Hiroshima-based company has finally solidified its four core SKYACTIV models, adding the new 2 to the CX-5, Mazda3 and Mazda6.
The outgoing Mazda2 captured the World Car of the Year prize back in 2008, so the new model has a lot to live up to.
And from our brief test of a pre-production model (albeit an undisguised one built later than the first new Mazda2 we drove last month) at the Shuzenji proving ground two hours south of Tokyo, first impressions are stellar for a hatchback that has to lock horns with the likes of the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai i20.
The fourth all-SKYACTIV Mazda model is totally new. By that, we mean the 2 gets an all-new platform, all-new powertrains, a redesigned interior, improved driver comfort, enhanced on-road dynamics and a stylish new body.
Bigger all-round, the Mazda2 gains 160 mm in length to 4060mm, picks up 25mm in height to 1500 mm, while its wheelbase stretches 80mm to 2570mm. Width remains unchanged. And when you consider the new 2 is a bigger car with significantly more new technologies, a kerb weight gain of just 40kg for the base Japanese version (up from 990 to 1030kg) is more than acceptable.