Mazda2: Cool runnings

  • Mazda's climate control system proves excellent
  • Easy-to-use, intuitive layout and minimal clutter
  • Air-con helps keep windows clear and mist-free

When you're using a car regularly, the smallest issues can quickly become major annoyances.

One thing that can prove difficult to get right, and can frequently be a royal pain, is a car's climate control system.

We've all been there. You've got in your car, and the cabin's slowly warming up as desired. Suddenly, the climate control decides to dump cold air in your face.

You react quickly, shutting air vents, stabbing buttons and cranking up the temperature to counter the sudden blast of cold air. Ten minutes later you're getting restless and uncomfortable due to the unbearable warmth now crawling out of the footwells.

Now, admittedly, sometimes this is the fault of the user. A climate control system functions just as its title implies. You simply set the desired temperature, and it will try and get the interior of the car to that temperature as quickly as possible and hold it there. It can automatically control the fan speeds and air vent selections as well, to help get you comfortable as quickly as possible.

This is how climate control differs from a plain air-con system. Both use air-conditioning, but with standard air-con you directly control the temperature of the air exiting the vents and typically have to adjust everything else manually.  

In many respects, climate control functions much like a thermostat and simply winding the temperature up or down won't necessarily have the desired effect. It's best that you pick a temperature you're happy with, and just leave it to its own devices.

Some climate control systems, however, can be a little counter-intuitive and fiddly. They can have cluttered displays, vast arrays of options and a multitude of modes which can be cycled through. Others can seemingly have trouble maintaining the correct temperature or air flow, leaving you uncomfortable and forcing you to continually adjust the settings.

So, it's with some relief that I can report that the Mazda2's climate control system is excellent. It has a simple three-dial layout, with chunky rotary knobs, and easy-to-understand settings.

I've found that, barring setting it to full demist from time to time, I rarely have to adjust it. I simply dial in a temperature of about 19 degrees, leave the fan and vent settings in 'auto', and it does the rest. It operates without intrusion and works well.

Besides helping me feel relaxed and cool, the climate control aids in keeping the Mazda's cockpit at the right temperature even if it's blazingly hot or freezing cold outside. Because I don't have to constantly fiddle with it, and feel comfortable, I also don't get irritated and can also concentrate more easily on driving.

The fact that the Mazda2 has air-conditioning brings about another benefit. Because the system removes moisture from the air, all the windows clear of condensation quickly and remain clear for the duration of the journey.

That means you don't end up sat in a traffic jam with the windows slowly fogging up around you, causing you to scramble for the nearest bit of rag you can wipe them with.

This removes yet another potential source of annoyance, helping make the little Mazda2 a less stressful car to commute in.

Current mileage: 4,250 miles

Average mpg: 44.99mpg