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Car of the week: This Mazda 2 will be right up your street

Car of the Week: Mazda2 5dr 1.5 90ps Sport Nav+ Price range: £12,495 - £17,395

IN A segment as competitive as the small car class, manufacturers are under huge pressure to offer buyers value for money. Mazda have responded to that pressure and produced the tidy Mazda 2.

Buyers can choose from either petrol or diesel versions of the Skyactiv 1.5-litre fourcylinder engine and, in the UK, from a trim line-up that starts at £12,495 for an SE and ends at £17,395 for a diesel Sport Nav.

The 2’s steering is accurate enough and consistent, and the body stays largely stable around corners, but you wouldn’t describe the 2 as being fun to drive.

Ultimately, it just doesn’t feel particularly engaging, a feeling exacerbated by steering that never offers much communication.

One of the 2’s best features is its fantastic infotainment system, available on SE-L versions and above. It consists of a rotary dial between the front seats and a 7.0-inch touchscreen.

You can control the system either via the touchscreen, in which case scrolling around the various menus is extremely easy, or the rotary controller. Entry-level cars get a simple monochrome display controlled via rotary dials and buttons instead.

INFOTAINMENT: One of the Mazda 2's best features is found in the interior

If you want something different from your supermini, then the Mazda 2 could be right up your street. The current car is the Mk4, which was introduced in 2014. And while it’s gunning for sales in the hard-fought supermini class, it has plenty of appeal for buyers looking for a sporty small car with decent economy.

The sharp shape is compact and appealing, while the large grille, distinctive eagle-eye headlights and LED running lights on higher spec cars add to its looks.

The Mazda 2 only comes as a five-door supermini these days - if you want a small Mazda in another body style, your other options are the Mazda CX-3 small crossover or the sporty two-seat MX-5 roadster.

In common with many recently launched small cars, the Mazda 2 was awarded four out of a possible five stars for safety by crash-testing body Euro NCAP.

Its adult occupant protection was rated at 86 per cent, child protection at 78 per cent, pedestrian protection at 84 per cent and safety assistance at 64 per cent.

Standard equipment on all models includes mandatory items like anti-lock brakes with stability and braking assistance (which can increase the force of the brakes in emergencies), electronic stability control (which helps prevent spins) and traction control (which prevents the front wheels spinning when accelerating on slippery roads).

Good looks, practicality and engaging driving characteristics mean the latest Mazda 2 is a serious contender in the supermini class.

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