The new 2 brings with it the brand's distinctive 'Kodo' design language, with a snout-forward grille, set-back headlights, swooping style-lines across the body and a rounded rear-end. As CarAdvice reported earlier this year, the new model appears to resemble a miniaturised version of the Mazda 3 hatch. Mazda says the styling gives "the car the look of a living creature and imparting a presence unrivalled in the class".
The third-generation Mazda 2 will be separated from its predecessors and do away from its Ford Fiesta origins, as the Japanese company has engineered the model on its own lightweight Skyactiv architecture. Mazda claims the car will "provide both outstanding safety and fuel efficiency whilst enhancing the all-important fun-to-drive factor".
It may not look too much bigger than the car it replaces, but the new Mazda 2 rides on a 2570mm wheelbase - an 80mm increase on the current model - while it has been lengthened by 160mm (to measure 4060mm long) and now sits 25mm higher than before (at 1500mm). The width remains unchanged at 1695mm, though its wide-set headlights give it more road presence.
The longer wheelbase is set to improve rear-seat legroom, while the interior itself has seen a thorough rethink. The images seen here are presumably of a top-spec variant, but the cabin appears far more contemporary, with a sweeping section across the dash, small turbine-look air-vents, a new steering wheel (similar to that seen in the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6), and the eye-catching dash-top MZD Connect media screen, which is connected to a controller positioned between the front seats.
Unlike the previous model, which was sold in three- and five-door hatch style as well as a four-door sedan, the new Mazda2 will be available as a five-door hatch only.
As CarAdvice has previously reported, the new model will be sold with a choice of two 1.5-litre petrol four-cylinder engines in Australia. The base model will offer a reasonable 79kW of power (up 3kW) and 139Nm of torque (up 4Nm). No official figures exist for the top-spec, but it’s unlikely to be significantly higher than the base model – possibly 82kW and 144Nm, as is the case with the Japanese-market 1.5-litre Mazda 3. The engines will be teamed to six-speed manual and six-speed automatic gearboxes.
A 1.3-litre engine will be offered in some markets, as will a 1.5-litre turbo diesel. The latter is unlikely for Australia, but CarAdvice understands it could join the ranks at a later date if there is demand for such an engine.
No fuel use information is available for these models at this point in time - however, it is expected that the new model will use about 5.5 litres per 100 kilometres for the manual and likely stay below the 6.0L/100km mark for the automatic. This would represent a roughly 20 per cent fuel economy improvement over the current car (6.4L/100km manual; 6.8L/100km auto).
Mazda has confirmed the 2 will be available with the lastest safety technologies from its i-Activsense range, likely including active cruise control, forward collision prevention, blind-spot warning and lane departure warning systems. Auto high-beam and rear cross-traffic alert systems could also be offered, both of which would be firsts for the light car segment.
The new 2 will be produced at Mazda's Hofu plant in Yamaguchi, Japan.
While the current model has been a top seller in the segment in years past, it has started to fall behind the Hyundai i20 in the sales tally. To June 2014, the 2 has sold 6616 units - down 22.4 per cent YTD - while the i20 has racked up 7736 sales (up 23.1 per cent).
Mazda Australia is expected to launch the all-new Mazda2 in October this year. Stay tuned to CarAdvice for full pricing and specification details in the coming months.
Click the Photos tab above for more images of the new 2015 Mazda 2.