The Road Ahead : February March 2015
61 FEB/MAR 2015 THE ROAD AHEAD CAR COMPARISON | MOTORING QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB OUR MULTI-VEHICLE COMPARISON immediately following the annual Australia's Best Cars awards is always a challenge. With the awards covering 220 volume-selling models across 15 categories, haven't we covered them all? Well, yes -- and no. Such is the Australian new car market's constant state of flux that there are always new models arriving, many with the potential to rearrange the pecking order. An example is the light car segment, where the latest generation of the perennially-popular Mazda2 arrived too late to be considered in the 2014 awards judging. So, here is the Mazda2 Genki, pitched against other recent new model arrivals in the Honda Jazz VTi-L and Volkswagen Polo 81TSI Comfortline. All are five-door hatches and the range toppers of their respective model line-ups. DESIGN AND FUNCTION With 81kW of power and 141Nm of torque, the Genki is more powerful than any of its predecessors. Its high- spec SKYACTIV-G 1.5-litre petrol engine, with optional SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission, shows an improvement of 28 percent in fuel efficiency over the old model. In a first for the segment, Mazda has introduced a Heads-Up Active Driving Display on the Genki. Tick the box also for Mazda's next-generation HMI with Commander control, which accesses navigation, communications and infotainment, including social media via MZD Connect. Of our test trio, it's alone in boasting satellite navigation. Like the Mazda2, the third generation of Honda's Jazz has also been born again, with new styling, new chassis and a new, paddle-equipped seven-speed CVT replacing the old automatic transmission. While the car's 1.5-litre petrol engine retains its single-over-head-cam configuration, this 88kW, 145Nm 1.5-litre unit is lighter and 12 percent more fuel efficient. An extensive list of standard features includes a three- mode rear view camera, colour touch-screen display audio system, plenty of storage capacity and a host of safety features. Honda claims class-leading interior space and practicality courtesy of the Jazz's centre-mounted fuel tank and ingenious Magic Seats that flip and fold in 18 different ways. Such versatility enables longer and taller items to be carried. The Polo has had a major, though in many ways not particularly obvious, facelift and picks up a range of styling cues from the revised Golf range. The two new models have turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engines that are essentially identical, but the Trendline is rated at 66kW of power while the more upmarket Comfortline (as tested with optional 7-speed DSG) has 81kW and 175Nm of torque. Multi-Collision Braking System, which automatically initiates braking after a crash to prevent a subsequent collision, is standard. Ditto VW's Bluemotion fuel consumption and emission-reducing technology, which includes start/stop function, brake energy recuperation and gearshift recommendation indicator. ABBREVIATIONS: ABS (anti-lock brakes), AC (airconditioning), ACC (climate-control airconditioning), ACCD (dual-zone climate- control), AL (anti-theft alarm), ASS (auto stop-start), AW (alloy wheel and size in inches), BA (brake assist), CC (cruise control), CCI (intelligent/active cruise control), CT (cloth trim), DFSCA (dual front/front side/curtain airbags), DKA (driver's knee airbag), DRL (daytime running lights), EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution), EPB (electric park brake), ESC (electronic stability control), HDC (hill descent control), HFS (heated front seats), HSA (hill start assist), KE (keyless entry), LSD (limited slip differential), LSW (leather steering wheel), LT (leather trim), MLP (Manufacturer's List Price), NAV (satellite navigation), PBS (push-button start), PDS (power driver's seat), PFS (power front seats), PS (parking sensors), PSR (power sunroof), RC (reversing camera), RSW (rain-sensing wipers), SBPT (seat belt pre-tensioner), TC (traction control), TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring), XH (xenon headlights).
April 1st 2015