Mazda2: Long-distance testing

  • The Mazda2 gets its first thorough workout
  • 400 mile trip completed without major trouble
  • Radio reception disappoints, 60mpg impresses

Seizing the opportunity to catch up with an old friend, I pointed the Mazda2 north towards Manchester.

It was going to be the longest journey I’d undertaken in the Mazda, totalling 400 miles and around seven hours of driving.

Admittedly I was a little apprehensive about the trip. I wasn’t concerned about reliability or speed, but comfort. After all, the last thing you want to do is arrive at your destination weary and tired.

With the fuel tank brimmed, the sat-nav programmed and the car’s fluids and tyre pressures checked, the Mazda2 was ready to go.

As I had picked a quiet Sunday afternoon to travel on, traffic was virtually non-existent. The Mazda thrummed up the motorways quite happily, with the cruise control keeping it pegged at a constant speed.

The weather was abysmal, but the intermittent setting on the car's wipers meant they were never flailing around unnecessarily. The air-con also kept the windows clear, preventing that annoying fogging issue that can sometimes strike. 

One particular thing that did frustrate me was the Mazda's radio. It seems incapable of maintaining decent reception. Even popular stations like Radio One are difficult to find occasionally, and often a seemingly strong signal can randomly fade or break up.

This, after fiddling with the stereo for a while, became annoying. It wasn’t just the fault of the signal in that area either. Other cars that I’ve driven through the same spots as the Mazda have never had any issue retaining a clear signal.

My car doesn’t have the optional USB connection, so eventually I resorted to listening to a few CDs that I’d bought with me. Over and over again.

Taking into account a short rest stop, I made the journey up in about three and a half hours. Stepping out of the Mazda revealed that I hadn’t been crippled by its seats and ride quality, and that I could still hear.

While I proved that I could do a long journey in the Mazda2 without ruining myself, I won’t say that it was the most relaxing experience ever.

Because the Mazda’s a small hatchback, it’s inherently prone to being less comfortable than a larger car. There’s less sound deadening material so it’s noisier, there are more vibrations and it’s not as cossetting in terms of ride and interior comfort.

The fact that I could get out of the Mazda at the end of my journey and not feel overly adversely affected, however, is impressive. There were even a few instances where I stopped and got out momentarily to have a look at something, and not once did I hesitate to get back in.

Over the course of the journey the 1.6-litre diesel engine averaged an impressive calculated 60.04mpg, far better than I've seen previously. This is most likely down to vast tracts of my journey being completed at 60mph due to poor weather, traffic conditions and the roads I was travelling on.  

So, you can use the Mazda2 for longer trips without too much concern. If you're going to be doing substantial distances on a more regular basis I would recommend considering something a little bigger though, for your own sanity.

It was only on the return journey that I hit a real problem - traffic. I'd neglected to remember that I was travelling back on a bank holiday.

Six hours later, I finally reached home. I won’t lie. I was glad to get out of the Mazda2 that time, but not because of the car.

Current mileage: 7,261 miles

Average mpg: 60.04mpg