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Driven: Re-booted Mazda2 Sedan lands

Maxx power: The new Mazda2 Sedan is now available in two variants including the Maxx which offers two more kilowatts than the base Neo.

Critical Neo version added to resurrected Mazda2 Sedan range

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Mazda logo21 Aug 2015

MAZDA has resurrected the big-booted sedan version of its Mazda2 light car, after the model fell off the local market in 2011, following a production shake-up.

For its return, the Japanese car-maker is forecasting a warmer reception with around 200 sedan sales predicted per month, accounting for about 17 per cent of total Mazda2 registrations.

The new Mazda2 Sedan is available in a kit-boosted Maxx variant as before, but this time round it is joined by a second, more affordable Neo option as well, priced from $14,990 before on-road costs.

Mazda predicts the Neo to be the most popular of the sedan pair accounting for about 70 per cent of the total, but Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak told GoAuto that more affordable versions serve an important role attracting attention.

“The last time, the dealers were very keen for us to add a Neo spec to the mix but we couldn’t get one,” he said. “We usually sell a rich mix anyway but it seems if you don’t at least offer that entry grade and that price point to get people thinking, then they seem to walk away to begin with.

“That’s why we did it on CX-3. We were very keen to bring that car in at $19,990. The fact that we’ve sold hardly any of them is irrelevant. It’s the fact that it’s there.” In addition to the most attainable Neo version, the two-variant range could be joined by a third, more generously equipped Genki, which is already available for the hatchback.

“It’s already homologated for the hatch so we could do it,” said Mr Doak. “So absolutely, if we get that feedback we would look at it. Maybe that’s a nice way to keep the model fresh as it goes through its lifecycle.

“Where these things are really selling is sub-$20,000 so obviously we want to go in and hit the sweet spot straight away and see where the demand sits. If there is an obvious opportunity to do something different we will look at it.” Since its launched in October last year, the hatch has been selling well and the Sedan would continue to perform solidly thanks in part to its looks, said Mr Doak.

When asked what would allow the new version to improve on the tally of the previous sedan, Mr Doak responded, “Because it looks the way it does for a start, which will get it a place on more shopping lists.

“And maybe even people who might not have considered a sedan but who will be attracted because it has a much bigger boot space.

“It (hatch) has performed probably slightly above our expectations so far,” he said. “We’ve been very happy. Up to last month it was number one in the segment so you can't really ask for much more. Its market share is very strong and we’ ve been delighted by it.” With the exception of its obvious hind-end difference and subtle interior pattern alterations, the new Sedan is identical to the hatchback equivalents, sharing the same 1.5-litre Skyactiv powertrains, coupled to either manual or automatic transmissions.

While the hatch offers 250 litres of boot space, the Sedan takes that capacity to a significant 440 litres – class-leading, says its maker. Unlike a key rival – the Mitsubishi Mirage sedan – Mazda's boot is expandable with 60/40 split second row seating.

Its bigger rear has increased overall length by 260mm to 4320mm, while the Sedan also sits 25mm lower for a more purposeful stance. The dimensional change has minimally affected aft cabin space with 8mm less headroom but 2mm more shoulder room.

Up front it is business as usual with a 79kW/139Nm powering the entry level Neo and 81kW/141Nm for the Maxx priced from $17,690 when fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox. Opting for the six-speed automatic adds $2000 to both variants.

Fuel consumption of the 'high-spec' engine is the lowest of the two versions with 4.9-litres used per 100 kilometres when fitted with an automatic transmission or 5.2L/100km for the manual.

Strangely, when powered by the 'standard-spec' engine in auto guise, fuel consumption increases to 5.5L/100km but efficiency falls to 5.4L/100km when equipped with the manual gearbox.

Suspension is MacPherson struts up front and torsion beam at the rear, steering is electric power assisted, while brakes are 258mm discs at the front and drum at the back.

Interiors for the entry-level Neo are the same as hatch versions with “denim” look cloth, but Maxx gets a black fabric interior with red stitching, which is unique to the Sedan. A red cloth option is also available for the top-spec car.

Smart City Brake Support is available optionally, which automatically applies the brakes at speeds between 4km/h and 30km/h if the driver does not intervene when a collision is imminent.

Both versions feature keyless start, cruise control, two-way adjustable steering column, trip computer, steering wheel controls, USB and auxiliary inputs.

Moving up to the Maxx adds a reversing camera with corresponding 7.0-inch MZD Connect screen, the sound system has two more speakers taking the total to six, internet radio, optional navigation and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, gear lever and handbrake.

Neo gets 15-inch steel wheels versus the same sized alloy version fitted to the Maxx.

Safety features include front, side and curtain airbags, all the usual electronic stability programs, Isofix child seat mounts, hill hold, seatbelt warning in both rows and rear parking sensors.

Maxx owners can opt for a no-cost Colour Pack, which adds vivid red interior with matching red and white gloss interior trims.

Paint is offered in metallic/pearlescent colours only, including a Titanium Flash option unique to the Sedan. All colours are included in the price except Soul Red, which costs $200.

2015 Mazda Mazda2 Sedan pricing*
Neo $14,990
Neo (a) $16,990
Maxx $17,690
Maxx (a) $19,690
*Excludes on-road costs.

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