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Montreal 2015: The all-new 2016 Mazda2

An attractive design will go a long way, but it’s not always the be-all and end-all where car sales are concerned. 

The 1st generation (3rd in other world markets) Mazda2 was a cute little bugger, but that helped little when the time came to signing on the dotted line. With average-at-best performance and higher-than-average fuel consumption ratings, the Mazda2 wasn’t much of a contender. 

Now, things have changed, and for the better. 

The 2016 Mazda2 has grown and evolved into a fully SKYACTIV member of the Mazda family. 

The use of Mazda’s KODO design has added attitude to the previous car’s cuteness. The new body has also expanded, size-wise. The new car is now 110mm longer, 25mm taller and sports an 80mm longer wheelbase. Front and rear overhangs have increased slightly but they are barely noticeable thanks to the car’s overall dimensions and available new larger wheels. 

Inside, the 2 carries on with design elements and ergonomics found in the current Mazda3. The popped-up, zit-like screen may be the only source for negative comments, but it’s all been covered already in reviews on the 3. 

The Mazda2 looks far more contemporary, but what really matters and what especially hurt the old 2 was the powertrain department. I’m happy to report that the 2016 Mazda2 has arrived in the 21st century. 

For the 2016 model year, a SKYACTIV 1.5L 4-cylinder engine will power the 2. The 2014 2 made do with 100 horsepower while the new car should manage quite well with 115. 

The best news is that, like the much-loved Mazda3, the 2 receives both 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The powertrains are compact and lightweight à la SKYACTIV. 

Speaking of the “S” word, the 2016 Mazda2 features an entire body and chassis conceived from this philosophy. The new car is 22% stiffer thanks to high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile steels. This has helped NVH, making the new 2 far more refined. 

Also part of the driving experience are the car’s suspension, steering and brakes. All have been improved for a better ride and handling. I, for one, am very much looking forward to taking the car for a spin. 

What you all need to take away from the arrival of the new 2016 Mazda2 is that there are no longer any sacrifices to be made when it comes to purchasing a small car.