Toyota Yaris ZR 2017 review: snapshot
The $22,470 Toyota Yaris ZR five-door, five-seat light hatchback was updated in March 2017 with exterior and interior changes, as well as a safety equipment upgrade.
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It's an unhappy coincidence of the city car world that, while our smallest vehicles have never been better, fewer people are buying them than ever before.
Back when they felt like they were built using the aluminium that seals Milo tins and were as safe to handle as a ninja throwing star we were snapping them up in huge numbers. But for whatever reason (most experts just mumble the term 'SUV' a lot), the better they've gotten, and the less we've wanted them.
|Mazda 2 2017: Genki|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
While taste is hugely subjective, for mine the Mazda2 hatch is the only car in the Japanese brand's model line-up that doesn't make complete sense, design-wise.
Yes, it shares the familiar grille and basic styling of the Mazda family, but with less surface area to play with, the 2 ends up looking a little too busy and a touch out of proportion, especially at the rear.
Inside, it does a commendable job of not feeling like a cheap(ish) city car, with the rock-hard door plastics interspersed with padded strips of stitched fabric, and a genuinely lovely soft-touch panel that runs from the steering wheel all the way to the passenger door.
The same cushioning lines the edge of the centre console that your knee touches when driving, which is a thoughtful and effective nod to your comfort.
Small cars are about a trade-off, and so while parking is easy, cabin space is not great. As a result, it feels a little cramped up front, while putting three adults in the back will likely encourage intervention from the United Nations.
But while there's no escaping it's a small car, it has been cleverly packaged - and like a bigger Mazda's been shrunk in the wash. The new steering wheel is smaller, and so are the air-con dials in the centre of the cabin, both of which help give a sense of space for front seat riders.
Up front, you'll find push-button start, twin USB points, along with an SD card reader and a 12 volt power outlet. Elsewhere, expect two cupholders up front, and big door pockets that will swallow wine-sized bottles. Storage options are a little limited elsewhere, though, with a small glove box and a tiny little bin in the centre console that doesn't hold much.
The rear seat offers enough room for two adults, provided those in front are under six-foot. But there's no rear vents, power sources or USB inputs, and no pockets in the rear doors, let alone room in them for bottles. Your storage options are essentially limited to a tiny sleeve fitted to the passenger seat, and whatever you can carry in your pockets.
The boot opens to reveal a useable little space that will swallow 250 litres of stuff - growing to 852 litres with the 60/40 rear seat folded flat - with a space-saver spare hidden under a hard cover.
The entire 2 range was updated in April, with Mazda tweaking its city car's on-road manners and refinement, and adding some clever safety kit to the more expensive models, including the Genki we've tested here.
The Genki hovers near the top of the Mazda2 family tree, below the newly introduced top-spec GT and above the L- and P-plate adorned, entry-level Neo and mid-spec Maxx. It's also the only model in the Mazda2 line-up that is hatch-only, with the (weirder-looking) sedan offered in Neo, Maxx and GT trim levels only.
It's also not particularly cheap, requiring a $22,690 investment to secure the automatic version we're driving here ($2k less if you go for the manual gearbox), sitting it light years above the $14,990 (manual) Neo, and pushing it firmly into the price range of cars at least one size bigger.
Springing for the GT will really only nab you a more premium-feeling interior and a better class of alloy.
But you get plenty of bang for those bucks, at least. The greatest hits on the Genki's exterior features list include 16-inch alloy wheels, LED DRLs and LED front fog lights and headlights.
Inside, expect a nav-equipped 7.0-inch touchscreen that gets DAB and will work with your phone's music apps like Pandora (but there's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto). It's paired with a six-speaker stereo, while a leather-wrapped wheel, gear shift and handbrake help lift the cabin ambience.
What do you miss out on? Not much. In fact, springing for the GT will really only nab you a more premium-feeling interior and a better class of alloy. That is provided you're comparing hatch to hatch, of course, as jumping from the Maxx to the GT in the sedan range nets a far bigger range of goodies.
That means your accelerator will unlock 81kW at 6000rpm and 141Nm at 4000rpm, and while that doesn't sound like a Nurburgring-crushing set of numbers, it's more than enough to get the 1053kg Genki up and moving in the city.
It was the kind of weather that would have had biblical types building an ark and gathering animals when we set off on our test of the Mazda2 Genki.
Traditionally, torrential downpours are the sworn enemy of light city cars that can feel like they'll be swept away in the torrents. But the Mazda2 didn't. In fact, it was stoic in the face of all a Sydney storm could throw at it, powering through standing water and feeling easy to control throughout.
An eventual break in the weather allowed us to put the little Mazda through its paces, and it's surprisingly dynamic. Sure, the engine won't offer enough power to set your pulse racing, but the combination of direct steering and engaged suspension inspire enough confidence to carry almost enough speed through bends to compensate for the lack of out-and-out pace.
In the city, acceleration is near-enough perfect, with an instant flow of torque from a standstill that makes it plenty perky in the CBD.
Freeway driving presents something of a challenge, with the Mazda2 hovering at 3000rpm at 110km/h, with the six-speed gearbox unsure of what ratio it should be in, swapping between fifth and sixth at will. But then this isn't its natural environment, and it can knock off the occasional freeway cruise without argument.
3 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
Standard safety is a Mazda strong suit, and the Mazda2 punches above its (feather) weight right across the board. The Genki, then, gets front, side and curtain airbags, along with a reversing camera and parking sensors at the rear. There are also two ISOFIX child restraint anchor locations in the rear.
Mazda's three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty is looking a little underdone in the city-car segment (even Skoda is offering a five-year plan now), but the capped-price servicing plan does help take the guess work out of future servicing costs.
In fact, over the first five years scheduled maintenance prices are $286, $314, $286, $314, and $286 for a total of $1486. You'll also need to factor in a cabin air filter every 40k ($80), and brake fluid every 40k/two years ($64).
Plus, Mazda lists everything that's inspected, serviced or changed at each interval on its website.
If you're considering an entry-level vehicle that's one size bigger, and practicality isn't a deal-breaker, then the Mazda2 Genki is well worth a look.
|Genki||1.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$14,995 – 20,990||2017 MAZDA 2 2017 Genki Pricing and Specs|
|GT||1.5L, ULP, 6 SP MAN||$17,490 – 20,990||2017 MAZDA 2 2017 GT Pricing and Specs|
|Maxx||1.5L, ULP, 6 SP MAN||$13,950 – 16,990||2017 MAZDA 2 2017 Maxx Pricing and Specs|
|Neo||1.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$12,500 – 16,000||2017 MAZDA 2 2017 Neo Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||8|