Mazda adds kerb

appeal at attractive

price

Mazda2 Black Edition+, front action
Mazda2 Black Edition+, front action 2
Mazda2 Black Edition+, front static
Mazda2 Black Edition+, rear action
Mazda2 Black Edition+, rear static
Mazda2 Black Edition+, dashboard

MAZDA has slimmed down the range of its smallest hatchback but added a special edition with extra eye appeal and an attractive price.

The Mazda2 diet meant saying farewell to the diesel powered version - capable of spectacular economy but dearer than taking the petrol route and bought by a miniscule number of motorists.

But the current petrol-only choices are boosted by the arrival of the £15,795 Mazda2 Black+ Edition, limited to 500 cars and given stand out looks with chunky 16-inch black alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, roof mounted shark fin antenna and a brilliant black roof spoiler.

One other feature - you can't have your Black edition in black. Instead, choose one of three metallic finishes at no extra cost; machine grey metallic, dynamic blue mica or deep crimson mica.

The latter has become something of a company signature colour in recent years, adding instant kerb appeal to Mazda models large and small and usually an expensive addition to the bottom line.

The Mazda2 has always been one of the better lookers in the compact hatchback market and the latest spec adds a extra sense of style, while leaving the mechanical bits untouched.

So you'll find a larger than expected 1.5-litre petrol engine under the bonnet, its 90 horsepower output extracted from a power unit deliberately made bigger than rivals with the intention of letting it work less hard, to the dual benefit of economy and emissions.

The result is a car rated at 57.7mpg in the official test, with 111g/km of tailpipe CO2; both figures that promise an economical life with an owner who may be surprised at how lively the car feels when poked with a sharp stick.

Using a five-speed gearbox that might have been lifted from the sporty MX-5 two-seater, such is its snick-snick precision, the lightweight Mazda2 will hit 62mph in 9.7 seconds and go on to a top speed of 117mph (where permitted, as they say).

It feels sporty on corners too, with suspension that turns a bit firm on bad roads but gives the car a nicely poised feel on anything else. Steering and brakes pass without comment, which means they're both fine.

There is plenty of room up front, where driver and front seat passenger face a dash that looks restrained and stylish and is equipped with dials instead of the increasingly popular touch screen for heating and radio controls. They are so much simpler to use, so thank you Mazda for bucking a trend.

Not much room in the rear, though, for a couple of strapping adults, although their luggage will fit in a boot that's moderately sized but regularly shaped.

Standard kit extends from climate control and satellite navigation to heated and electrically folding door mirrors and rear parking sensors.

You'll either find the black-on-black feel to the interior either a bit gloomy or nicely restrained. It's a feature of many Mazdas that indicates a company that puts sensible utility above mere style. Good for them, says this driver.

And with this latest special edition Mazda has at least added a bit of glam to the outside - and without charging the earth for it.

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