The Mazda 2 may seem an utterly conventional city hatchback. But it’s an astonishingly complete execution of convention. It proves you don’t need a big price tag or a premium badge to expect advanced engineering and dynamic excellence.
There are no turbos in its small-capacity four-cylinder engine line-up, yet the SkyActiv Four pulls willingly, wonderfully from revs that would have other aspirated fours coughing and spluttering.
The cabin is a class above its current rivals – mature, yet characterful, and possessed of a premium aura well beyond its pay grade.
It’s clear Mazda invested considerable time and money in making the cabin a desirable and rewarding place to be.
Dynamics continue to be a Mazda strength. The Mazda2’s agility and zest delighted the judges - and tantalises us with its potential for a sportier MPS version.
Against COTY’s Value criterion, the cheapest of the COTY finalists did very well. Not because it is the cheapest, but because of how much useful, practical tech Mazda packs in for the price.
If the Mazda2 wins, it will be the Hiroshima brand’s seventh COTY victory.