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Genki tops upgraded Mazda2 range

Flagship: Mazda has brought the Genki nameplate back to the Australian Mazda2 line-up, and at a cheaper starting price to boot.

Upgraded Mazda2 flagship arrives to top Japanese-built Two range

Mazda logo1 Jun 2011

MAZDA has reintroduced a top-shelf version of its smallest model, featuring a host of extra standard equipment for $445 less than before.

The 2011 Mazda2 Genki manual hatchback is now available for $20,495 plus on-road costs (or $22,490 drive-away) in five-speed manual form or $22,145 plus ORCs ($24,140 drive-away) as a four-speed auto.

That is down from the $20,940 starting price at which the superseded Mazda2 Genki was last sold in January, despite the addition of automatic headlights, cruise control, a full-function trip computer and climate-control air-conditioning.

It also undercuts the most expensive versions of its most direct premium-light rivals such as Ford’s Fiesta, Hyundai’s i20, Honda’s Jazz and Toyota’s Yaris by at least $500.

The upgraded Mazda2 Genki five-door, which is also the first mainstream light-car to come with rain-sensing wipers, also receives subtle changes to its front bumper and wheel design, and a chromed exhaust outlet.

The changes bring the Genki in line with downstream Neo and Maxx versions of Australia’s Mazda2, production of which returned to Japan in February after an eight-month stint in Thailand.

Despite the subsequent discontinuation of a four-door sedan derivative, Mazda has sold 5768 examples of its now hatch-only Mazda2 so far this year – up 30.5 per cent on 2010 figures and accounting for 13 per cent share of Australia’s light-car segment.

The 2011 sales growth of the Mazda2, which proved more popular than the evergreen Yaris in April and lies within 26 sales of it year-to-date, is outstripped only by VW’s new Polo in the sub-$25,000 light-car class.

However, both Japanese models continue to be outsold by Hyundai’s Korean-made Getz this year.

Mazda Australia national marketing manager Alastair Doak said the sales success of the Mazda2 so far this year spokes volumes for the quality of the car.

“We had the benefit of upgrades to the Neo and Maxx models earlier this year and now we’re delighted to see the whole Mazda2 range updated,” he said.

“There’s been a significant amount of equipment added to the Genki and we’re sure that this will strike the right note with buyers.”

Mazda last month revealed an all-new direct-injection 1.3-litre ‘SkyActiv-G’ petrol engine that will soon become available in Japan’s Mazda2/Demio model, in which it will return as little as 3.3L/100km on Japan’s 10-15 fuel consumption cycle.

For now, however, all Australian versions of the current Mazda2 – the facelifted, Thai-sourced iteration of which was released here last May – continue to be powered by a 76kW 1.5-litre petrol four.

That matches the displacement of most Yaris and (Thai-made) Jazz models, base versions of which come with a 1.4-litre engine, while the Euro-built Fiesta offers both larger 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines.

Like the Indian-built i20, which will become Hyundai’s only light-car contender when the Getz is discontinued later this year, the Getz can be had in both 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines.

However, while Suzuki is considering a diesel version of its new Swift, Hyundai could also match oil-burning light-cars like the Fiesta, Polo, Citroen’s C3 and Peugeot’s 207 by adding a diesel version of its i20.

As we’ve reported, Australia’s booming light-car category will receive a significant boost via the addition of all-new Holden Barina and Kia Rio models within the next few months.

Mitsubishi’s redesigned Colt and a sedan version of Nissan’s new Micra will further bolster showrooms in 2012, by which time a host on new pint-sized Chinese models should also have been launched in Australia.

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