Mazda2 1.5 90ps SE-L

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POCKET premium motoring has become big business and there are some very tasty options to be had.

At one time medium hatchbacks and superminis were somewhat standard in terms of fitments and specification but the trend in downsizing has fuelled a tremendous drive to make family cars much more luxurious and desirable.

A case in point is the Mazda2 1.5 90ps SE-L Nav model I drove recently.

With a 1.5-litre 90ps petrol engine this cleverly designed five-door offers the 114mph punch and 0-62mph sprint factor of 9.4 seconds that you would normally associate with a car costing much more than this model's £14,395 pricetag.

Inside, this is a supremely comfortable hatchback with such features as Sat Nav, leather bound steering wheel and gear knob and black cloth upholstery with navy inserts.

This is one of those cars in which everything happens smoothly, due in great part to the engine which offers Mazda SKYACTIV-G technology linked to a five-speed manual transmission.

In the Mazda2 range, this engine comes in three degrees of power output and the 90ps version is just about the most popular.

There is cruise control and an adjustable speed limiter and a mass of other features that make life more enjoyable on the road.

Of particular note is the seven-inch colour touch-screen, multimedia command system and crystal clear DAB radio.

Mazda has always been different and might be asked why it has stuck to a 1.5-litre petrol, while other manufacturers have opted for smaller, charged units.

The reason is that the latest Mazda technology has turned what might be thought of as a conventional engine into one that offers a combined fuel economy of 62.8mpg. Some years ago, the thought of a 1.5 petrol returning such a figure would have been received with hoots of derision.

And the carbon emissions figure is impressive too at a mere 105g/km. Again, impressive for a petrol 1.5 car.

I covered many miles over varied roads and conditions and even when pushing the car hard I was still getting in the mid-50s in terms of mpg.

FAST FACTS

Mazda2 1.5 90ps SE-L Nav

Price: £14,395

Mechanical: 90ps, 1,496cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 114mph

0-62mph: 9.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 62.8

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 105g/km

Bik rating: 16%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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