Around town is where the Mazda2 Maxx shines, with the electrically-assisted steering getting extra bonus points when trying to jam the little car into tight parking spots. Photo Gallery
Compact, competent and very, very cute. That essentially sums up the Mazda2 Maxx - the 2008 World Car of the Year.
There’s no doubt the little city package has loads of street presence with style to burn. But with the growing competition for buyer attention in this segment, it needs to be a bit more than just a head-turner.
The Mazda2 Maxx is powered by a 1.5 litre, four cylinder in-line 16V DOHC engine, with sequential valve timing. It puts out 82kW at 6000rpm and 141Nm at 4000rpm. Fuel economy numbers for the five-speed manual sit around the 6.6l/100km and 7.0l/100km for the four-speed automatic.
The Maxx is compact at just under 3.0 metres long and 1.68 metres wide, and with a strong crease line swooping from top of the front wheel arch to high in the rear, it sits with a sense of purpose and agility. Body-coloured power mirrors and door handles, a rear roof spoiler and alloy wheels are standard features that dress up the Maxx.
Inside, the Mazda2 Maxx is comfortable and airy. The seats are basic but offer some support. Head and leg room is adequate and the rear seats are 50/50 split fold.
Mazda’s whole 2 range shares the full complement of interior features but for a six stacker CD player, a multi function steering and a slightly higher grade cloth trim that appear only in the Maxx and Genki models.
Safety and security
On top of the basic airbag package, safety features in the Mazda2 Maxx include anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, central locking and an engine immobiliser.
The Mazda2 Maxx starts at $18,650 for the three-door manual and tops out at $21,300 for the five-door automatic. The optional safety pack that includes side and curtain airbags will set you back another $1,100.
On the road, the ride comfort is above average and handling is surprisingly tight. The Maxx also stays quite flat going hard into corners.
Acceleration is far from mind-blowing - as you’d expect from the modest outputs - but it’s decent for such a small car. It doesn’t make too much of a fuss around the 110km/h mark on the freeway and holds its line well on the bitumen. At that speed you do get a little tyre rumble and side-mirror woosh but generally the cabin is quiet enough to hold a conversation without having to shout.
Around town is where the Mazda2 Maxx shines, with the electrically-assisted steering getting extra bonus points when trying to jam the little car into tight parking spots. The multi-function steering wheel is a nice touch - both from creature comfort and safety points of view -and the gear-stick placement takes a bit of getting used to. But at this modest level of performance, the quirkier the car, the better it will possibly endear itself to potential buyers.