I'VE always found the taxing trip to a family get together in Norfolk to be a stern test of any motor.
The ability to cruise comfortably on motorways and dual carriageways must be allied with a talent for taking on tight and twisty country lanes and beach roads.
Punchy acceleration to get around the many tractors littering the county's highways is essential as is the ability to swallow a family of four and their luggage for a weekend's festivities.
The performance needs to be combined with decent fuel economy figures and stylish looks are also needed to impress on arrival.
The fourth generation of the Mazda2 supermini took to the task like a duck to The Broads.
The sharp exterior lines immediately catch the eye with the SE-L Nav model boasting natty 15-inch alloy wheels, funky front fog lights plus powered and heated body-coloured door mirrors sporting integrated indicators.
The supermini's appealing face also features Mazda's chrome-finished wing design insert on the grille while the sides benefit from in-your-face creases and swooping curves giving oodles of kerb appeal.
The rear features a subtle tailgate spoiler and nifty rear lights that complete a presentable package.
Step into the Mazda2 and a leather-covered steering wheel festooned with controls grabs your attention - as does the big speedo flanked by a digital rev counter and trip computer plus stylish eyeball air vents.
There's plenty of room - thanks to the latest Mazda2 offering a longer wheelbase - so long journeys can be comfortably accomplished with four adults on board. Five can be catered for but it is obviously a bit more of a squeeze.
The deep boot is accessed via a wide tailgate offering easy access to a surprising amount of space with 280-litres available expanding to 950-litres when the rear seats are folded.
I even managed to fit two fruit trees in the back proving awkward loads can also be accommodated.
An engaging drive is assured thanks to a super lightweight chassis and the pleasing 90ps 1.5-litre petrol engine - linked to a slick short-throw five-speed gearbox - which benefits from Mazda's SKYACTIV-G technology.
There's enough power to make dealing with slow-moving farm vehicles a cinch - but this isn't at the expense of fuel economy as the supermini sips petrol frugally with the help of a start-stop function while low carbon dioxide emissions also contribute to running costs that won't strain the purse strings.
The steering is neat and accurate giving a good feel for what is happening on the road while the ride is composed despite being on the firm side.
I found the car to be refined on the motorway, yet lots of fun on the winding tracks that seem to make up most of road network on the East Anglian coast.
The £14,395 SE-L Nav model gets plenty of toys including a seven-inch colour touch-screen display and Multimedia Commander accessing tasty treats such as the integrated sat nav system and digital radio.
Smartphone compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, electric windows, cruise control and an adjustable speed limiter are also on the menu.