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Geneva show: Mazda2 sedan confirmed

2 to tango: The Hazumi previews the new Mazda2 due to appear in road-going form in Paris this September, alongside a sedan version.

Third-gen Mazda2 range to include sedan version, but three-door is a no-go

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Mazda logo5 Mar 2014

By MIKE COSTELLO

MAZDA has confirmed a four-door sedan version of the new-generation Mazda2 hatchback previewed in Geneva this week by the Hazumi concept is in the works, but it will not bother with a three-door hatch variant.

The company also has a high-riding ‘CX-3’ crossover version of the hatchback on the drawing board, with the Hazumi’s chic lines said to work well in a slightly more rugged iteration.

While not officially confirmed yet, Nissan and its Juke – to name just one key rival in the city SUV segment – should be prepared.

Larger yet probably leaner than before thanks to new modular underpinnings shared with the Mazda3, the third-generation DF-series Mazda2 hatch is expected to make its world premiere in road-going form in Paris this September before an Australian launch by early 2015.

Mazda Australia is undecided on the sedan variant, however, with the local arm weighing up sales potential. It is understood the company will also await a clearer picture of the design of the four-door before committing to the car Down Under.

Likewise, the new uber-frugal 1.5-litre SkyActiv diesel engine premiered in the Hazumi is unlikely for Australia due to the unpopularity of oil-burning engines in B-segment cars in the local market. Instead, a 1.5-litre SkyActiv petrol from the European Mazda3 will be offered, bringing big fuel savings over the current petrol version with the same capacity.

Expect the styling of the production car to be largely unchanged from the Hazumi, with only the more lairy concept elements such as the oversized wheels and novel doorhandles to be axed. The futuristic cabin will also be toned down.

“It will not be easy to see the difference between them (concept and road car),” said Mazda general manager of design Ikuo Maeda in Geneva this week. Maeda-san penned the original Mazda2, as well as the radical Shinari concept that previewed Mazda’s new design.

“That car (Hazumi) is concept, typical concept needs decorations like bigger wheels … but proportions won’t change.” The new 2 will be the fourth car to get the full ‘Kodo’ treatment – Mazda’s corporate name for its design language – after the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5. Both the 6 and CX-5 were previewed by largely accurate concepts.

Maeda-san said the biggest change on the new 2 compared to the outgoing model will be a more gender-equal design.

“Back then I tried to focus on making the female a high priority, with a friendly face and a calm design. But this Hazumi is like boy, so the difference is girl and boy,” he said.

“Hazumi has a solid feel … on the other hand, the current car is very lean, the Hazumi is more solid and strong.” Maeda-san admitted it had been difficult to maintain the taut lines of Hazumi while incorporating the packaging needs of a sedan. Indeed, a number of brands have struggled with making light-sized sedans look appealing over the years.

Both sedan and three-door body styles were available for short periods of time in Australia in the current-generation Mazda2, but were discontinued due to slow sales, the latter as part of a production switch in 2010.

Even with just a five-door offering, the baby Mazda has been Australia’s favourite light car for some time, topping its segment for sales last year and leading the race in 2014.

In ditching the three-door from the global roster from the very start, the current Mazda2 follows in the wheel tracks of Renault’s five-door-only Clio as another B-segment baby without a three-door offering.

As a relatively small-volume car-maker, Mazda has been open in the past about the need to minimise its portfolio of offerings to be as cost-effective as possible.

As GoAuto has reported, the new Mazda2 is also expected to spawn a new sub-compact Nissan Juke rival called the CX-3. While still not confirmed for production officially, Maeda-san admits his team have done design work on a high-riding Hazumi.

“I can say it looks good, it looks great,” he said. “We can deliver Kodo on all different types of vehicle large, small and SUV.”

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