REVIEW DATE: 22 Jan 2009
The sporty Tamura special edition model plays on the Mazda2's strengths. Steve Walker reports.
It's said that tomorrow never comes but thanks to Mazda, Tamura does and it's here right now. The Mazda2 Tamura is a sporty special edition version of Mazda's nimble supermini and in the best special edition tradition, it's got lots of equipment for not a lot more money.
The Mazda2 has proved to be a hit with UK supermini buyers who seem to like its racy styling and sprightly road manners. The car goes up against some household name rivals in this competitive sector of the market but it's up to the challenge and the clever use of value-added versions like the Tamura can give it an edge.
Featuring the more powerful of the Mazda2's 1.3-litre petrol engines, the Tamura promises reasonably brisk performance to match its dynamic styling. The 85bhp unit can get the car to 60mph from a standing start in under 13s before eventually running out of puff at 112mph. It's nothing too searing but it's a good engine that responds well to being revved, with its peak power not arriving until 6,000rpm.
As some of you may well have guessed, Mazda hasn't gone it totally alone with the latest Mazda2 range. The car shares its underpinnings with the latest Fiesta, so in that respect little has changed. The chassis itself is simple but very rigid, Mazda using MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam at the back to keep costs down. The Mazda2 corners well, resisting body roll to a high degree and responding swiftly to steering inputs. Ride and refinement are pretty good too with the Mazda2 coping well with longer journeys.
".get the purposeful looks of the Mazda2 Sport model for less"
The car that Mazda whipped the dust sheets off at the Geneva Motor Show in 2007 was undoubtedly a very tidy piece of styling. With a sharply rising waistline that suggested a three-door bodyshell, it was clear that the company had managed to give the car a lithe profile while keeping the practicality of five doors. Top marks on that score, although the three-door model looks even better. In Tamura guise, the Mazda2's looks are accentuated by a Sport Styling Pack which includes deeper bumpers, a special two-bar grille, side skirts and a rear spoiler.
The interior features a number of welcome design touches such as a glove box with integrated magazine rack. There's also a floor console between the front seats with a large rear tray affixed. In total there's 250 litres of storage space which isn't half bad for a supermini. Silver on black detailing on the fascia gives a rather more grown up look and feel than many key rivals. Many of the design themes of the Mazda2 follow on from the SASSOU concept car that was first seen at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Special editions are all about price and specification, so does the Mazda2 Tamura deliver the goods? It's based on the TS2 model from the conventional range which means it has a good basic specification including ABS with Brake Assist and EBD, driver and front passenger airbags, remote central locking with deadlocks, electric front windows, driver seat height adjust, CD radio with AUX jack and two speakers, multi-function glovebox with magazine rack, 60:40 split rear seats and a leather steering wheel with audio controls built in. Add in the sporty body styling accessories, a set of 16" dark grey alloy wheels and free metallic/mica or pearlescent paint and you have a tempting package - particularly at just £397 more than the TS2.
The Mazda2's lightweight design gives it a head start on its supermini rivals in terms of fuel economy. The 1.3-litre petrol engine fitted to the Tamura returns an excellent 54.3mpg with 125g/km CO2 emissions. That's good going for a 1.3-litre supermini and with low insurance costs and Mazda's range of special finance offers, the Tamura should be pleasantly affordable.
The Mazda2 Tamura special edition presents buyers with the opportunity to get the purposeful looks of the Mazda2 Sport model for less. The 1.3-litre engine will make sense for those concerned about running costs and insurance premiums while the generous specification ensures that all the key features are present and correct.
The signs look very good for the Mazda2. The styling is neat, the cabin well finished and the Mazda brand is now in ruder health than it has done for a long time. The Tamura model is a simple proposition but one that makes sense on a straightforward value for money level.
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