Just the 2 of us: Mazda’s Supermini
After months of searching, comparing and haggling to see where the best deal could be found – my surname is Naidu, after all – the Mazda 2 won the empty spot in the family garage, thwarting competition from the likes of the Volkswagen Polo Vivo, Toyota Yaris, several used BMWs and even a Saab 9-3 Convertible. The latter, more premium choices fell in the same price range and seemed appealing at the time, but the many horror stories heard about buying second-hand was a strong deterrent.
Naming a car is something I’ve never done before, but for some reason I felt impelled to bestow the cute Mazda with something a bit more endearing, rather than referring to it as the “2” – which could be terribly misconstrued by my friends and their toilet humour.
Angie came to me. The Rolling Stones’ song I mean, which began playing as soon as I plugged my iPod with a shuffled playlist into the auxiliary port. Perhaps serendipity played some part here. My younger brother suggested we name it Christine, after the demonic car in the Stephen King novel. But I’m superstitious – I don’t want any lucky girls accompanying me on the passenger seat to mysteriously asphyxiate, nor do I want the radio to randomly churn out 50s rock ‘n roll tunes every time someone walks by.
She arrived with a mere 47 kilometres on the odometer two weeks ago. Still virginal and always eager to hit the road, her alluring new car scent is fresh and prominent, albeit unmatched by her exterior: a metallic white coat doesn’t stay clean for long, as I quickly learned in the wake of the November rain that recently struck.
Although the Mazda 2 was launched in October 2007 – three years ago, it still manages to look fresher than something like a Yaris, for example. A sedan variant of the Mazda was released recently, but other than that, hardly any changes were made to the range – no garish Feng shui body art or anything of the sort was needed to spruce things up. It almost has a puppy-like demeanour, with a compact, stocky profile and a short nose. The front fenders resemble wings, as seen on other Mazda models like the RX-8, MX-5 and the latest Mazda 6 saloon. This is a nice touch, giving the car a really sporty persona despite its diminutive size.
Does Angie move? Actually, she’s pretty effusive performer. And that’s no euphemism for “slow but willing”. I’m told, though, that one can only expect full performance after 1000-kilometres or so. The 1 349cc 16-valve engine sounded underpowered at first, but in this application, where it propels something as dainty as Angie, it works well. This powerplant produces 62kW and 121 Newton metres of torque. There is a 1 498cc derivative that churns out a bit more power, achieving figures of 76 for kilowatt output and 136 Newton metres of torque.
Japanese cars have established a reputation for unrivalled reliability. I’m convinced that Angie will run for many decades to come. Especially since her engine is partly constructed with super strong, super light aluminium. A nimble, fun-to-drive handling character is ensured thanks to the small body dimensions and an electric power steering system, which is direct but doesn’t feel too light. Unlike many of the females I know, she gives the just the right amount of feedback, without being too loquacious.
The interior, however, could be a little more fun. Angie must be a member of that “emo” subculture, as she dons plenty of black, from her cloth upholstery to the plastics employed on her doors and dashboard. There are large circular air vents, similar to the ones you would find on a Mini and a cubbyhole with a rectangular slot at the top in which to store reading material.
Being a 1.3 Active model, Angie does without steering controls, rear electric windows and alloy wheels – these are only available on the Dynamic and Individual models.
But “Angie don’t you weep, all your kisses still taste sweet” – I think she’s great even without these niceties.
Photo Credit: Quickpic