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by Tim Beissmann

A key player in the development of the all-new Mazda 2 admits the car’s styling is partly to blame for its interior being smaller than that of the old model.

Despite being 160mm longer from nose to tail (4060mm), 20mm taller (1495mm) and riding on an 80mm-longer wheelbase (2570mm), the third-generation city car is actually smaller than its predecessor in a number of key interior dimensions.

Compared with the old model the new Mazda 2 has 20mm less front headroom (984mm), 5mm less front legroom (1063mm), 15mm less rear headroom (944mm), 30mm less rear shoulder room (1270mm), and 4mm less rear legroom (874mm).

Its boot is also 30 litres smaller, now measuring just 220L, leaving it a long way short of the segment-leading Honda Jazz (350L), as well as a number of key city car rivals such as the Renault Clio (300L), Kia Rio (288L), Ford Fiesta (281L) and Volkswagen Polo (280L).

The only interior dimension the Mazda 2 claims to have grown in is front shoulder room, which is up 11mm to 1351mm.

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Mazda 2 deputy program manager vehicle development Kengo Fukushima conceded incorporating the tighter, sportier lines of the company’s Kodo design language forced some compromises inside the cabin.

“The styling, maybe, would explain some [of the reduction in size],” Fukushima-san told a group of Australian journalists including CarAdvice at the international launch of the new Mazda 2 in Japan.

He added that Mazda had also prioritised the driver over the rear passengers when creating the new 2, insisting that it was “not really” a family car.

“We made it a priority to achieve the best driving position. The driver’s space is much improved. That’s why you feel the rear cabin space a little bit the same or smaller.”

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Mazda Australia public relations specialist Tony Mee reiterated that the car’s design was one of the factors that had negatively impacted cabin space.

“The interior of the car is slightly smaller than the outgoing model for a few reasons: to accommodate the Kodo styling of the car, also better protection of the driver in a collision, and also engine space,” Mee said.

He offered no comment when asked whether the drop in the car’s cabin size was disappointing for an all-new model that was larger on the outside.

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Fukushima-san also confirmed money was a key factor in the decision to retain older-style rear drum brakes in the new Mazda 2 rather than update to more modern discs.

“[Drums are] cheap, and efficient. If inertia increases we need discs, but for such a small vehicle it is more efficient, cost versus performance.

“I personally prefer the disc brake, it works good, is efficient and more robust, but we can reserve the cost for other areas,” he said.

CarAdvice is currently in Japan for the international launch of the all-new Mazda 2, which goes on sale locally on November 1. Stay tuned for our review, coming soon. Read more about the new model here.




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