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DRIVING: Mazda2 Individual Plus Automatic

New Mazda2 Individual Plus derivative introduces enhancement features…

Last year, Mazda added a new member to its compact hatchback family and introduced the highly-specced 1,5 Individual Plus Automatic derivative. I’ve just spent a week with it and there’s plenty I’d like to share with those who may be considering buying one.

But first, a bit of background…

The Mazda2 Individual Plus Auto boasts a naturally-aspirated 1,5-litre engine that offers 82 kW of power and 145 N.m of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Claimed fuel consumption is 5,7 litres/100 km while the car reaches 0-100 km per hour in 10,4 seconds, with a top speed of 184 km per hour. Its engine is supported by SKYACTIV technology to increase fuel efficiency and engine output.

The 1,5 Individual Plus automatic is the seventh addition to the Mazda2 range and slots just below the top-of-the-range 1,5 DE Hazumi diesel automatic.

Impressions

The sub-compact hatchback market is one of the most competitive in South Africa, so there’s a lot out there with which to compare the Mazda2.

When it comes to design, the Mazda2 has a sporty but safe-looking exterior. By safe, I mean that it’s not at all in-your-face. It’s still a great-looking car with slightly more subtle features than some of its competitors, such as the new Renault Clio, which really stand out on the road. Having said that, what does make the Mazda2 noticeable is its long, swooping nose and prominent front grille, as well as its sporty and athletic-looking rear which sits high on its haunches. Overall, it’s a sleek and simple design, easy on the eyes and not something you’ll ever get tired of.

Inside, its minimalistic and sleek design gives the cabin a feeling of spaciousness for front passengers. However, as my friends and family pointed out during a weekend trip to Noordhoek over Ou Kaapse Weg, the back doesn’t feel quite as spacious. This might be something new Mazda buyers want to consider when choosing between the Mazda2 and Mazda3 (which is slightly bigger and offers more room at the back). Having said that, the front of the cabin, with all its user-friendly features, is a great place to be and I think owners will be happy spending a lot of time there.

I spent a week driving this derivative and what I enjoyed most was that it didn’t take long at all for me to feel completely comfortable behind the wheel. After a quick initial steering wheel and seat adjustment, I never had to fiddle with any levers or buttons again. The six-speed automatic gearbox was pretty smooth and the manual over-ride and sport button gave me a good sense of control, especially when travelling through winding mountain passes like Ou Kaapse Weg.

Favourite features 

There’s a lot that the Mazda2 Individual Plus 1,5-litre Auto has to offer. Some of my favourite features include its Heads-Up Display (HUD),which keeps you ‘up-to-speed’ by showing you important driving information such as the current speed limit as well as your speed you are doing. Its infotainment system offers Navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. Speaking of connectivity, two USB ports are also available. I loved how conveniently they’re placed at the base of the centre panel, which meant that my charger cable wasn’t hanging from an arbitrary place or getting in the way of my driving. Rear parking sensors, auto air-conditioning, side & curtain airbags, a back-up monitor as well as Lane Departure Warning all comes standard in the Individual Plus 1,5-litre auto model.

The Mazda2 Individual Plus 1,5-litre Auto is certainly a sub-compact hatch I’d recommend considering, especially when factoring in all of its features that come as standard. Although it is up against some stiff competition, it will not be easy to come by an auto version that offers as much as the Mazda 2’s Individual Plus does, for the same price.

The Mazda2 1,5 Individual Plus Automatic is priced at R286, 200 and is sold with a 3-year/unlimited km warranty and a 3-year/unlimited km service plan.

Source: Mazda South Africa

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