The 2008 Mazda2 is probably going to come to Thailand in 2009, and now there is also the prospect of this rather stylish sedan variant currently being marketed to the Chinese.
The five-door version we reported on earlier will provide a bit of competition in the small-car segment, currently the stomping ground for Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris. And by the looks of this four-door Mazda2, the City and Vios would be given a serious run for their money.
Of course the Mazda2 is still some time from entering Thailand, and there is also the new 2008/09 Jazz due next year from Honda which will eventually be joined by a sedan version to refresh the City line, so by the time it arrives the Mazda2 won't exactly have things all its own way.
Let's start with the main difference between sedan and the hatchback: the boot! The hatchback featured a steep angled line running front-to-back, and the sedan boot continues this line, resulting in a very high tail. This means heaps of load space, and gives the Mazda2 a familiar look, very similar to the Mazda3 sedan.
The boot lid utilises a similar internal-hinge system as the 3 also, which ads a touch of class, as this is a feature you'd usually expect to find on luxury brands.
Passenger space is about the same as the hatchback, and the same "Mickey Mouse" looking centre console is also used. I didn't really like this at first, but it looks much nicer now, when compared to the messy look of the 2008 Jazz.
In China there are two engines to choose from, but we will probably only get the 1.5 litre here in Thailand. This engine is a 100hp unit that promises 15km/l economy. If you believe Mazda it also offers lots of Zoom-Zoom! Sequential Valve Timing (S-VT) allows the intake valve timing to be matched to the engine speed, stretching the torque curve in the process. And the engine also has something called Tumble Swirl Control Valve (TSCV) which basically optimises the combustion of fuel, by maintaining "an ideal" mixture of fuel and air in the combustion chamber.
What will it cost?
The Mazda2 is a very interesting looking car, and the quality and specification will be impressive, but the price will probably reflect this even when built locally, and it will be built locally if it comes to Thailand at all. Mazda and Ford have invested heavily in a new plant and the Mazda2 is one of the vehicles to enter production once it enters operation in 2009.